Friday, 21 November 2014

You can have it all...

You just can't have it all in the same week, that's what I've discovered this month.

I've found I can do more than one thing, I can do two things in fact - but not more than that.

So I can high tide Home Ed like mad, AND write or edit a book.

OR

I can high tide Home Ed AND have a really clean and tidy house.

OR

I can have a really clean and tidy house AND write or edit a book.

OR (as I discovered this week)

I can have a really clean and tidy house AND a poorly Hoofie.

Both Papacrow and I have a had a great writing year, both of us madly writing lots of books - and boy could you see that in the house!

Vaccing, mopping, washing up and laundry has all gone on as normal of course, as has bed changing and a bit a of tidying here and there. But any further niceties like window cleaning, wood work and dusting - not so much.

So I've been grateful for an impending flat inspection (tomorrow! Think of us please!) because it's pushed me to do things that have been waiting for months - putting all the CDs away for example, and dusting and tidying my bookcase (that's blocked by our sidecar cot and was THICK with dust! Eeek!).

The house is also ready for xmas more or less now, and the rest of birthday season, so that's good. I'm looking forward to jumping back into more table time, crafts, art and such like next week as they've been a little neglected this week.

One thing that is obliging about housework is how it waits for you while you have better things to do like babies to rock and books to write - and it's had to be patient this time, let me tell you!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Last week, finally!

Monday - Lots of tablet time in the morning - Roo & Wig did their basics and got stuck into new essays, I did lots of written work with Fluff and Petal including lots of work book stuff. Dot had some new activity books that I helped her with and we did some crafting. We rushed out to the allotment before lunch once it had stopped raining and checked it hadn't all been washed away! We experimentally pulled up a parsnip and a sweede but they're still a bit small. Back for lunch and we did the sorting and folding and watched Jungle Book. I then got some editing done while Papacrow did lots of flash carding, reading, and any basics that were left over from the morning. There was tv and computer games and I took Fluff to his football. In the evening I watched Only Connect. Papacrow, Saurus and Roo watched Gotham. Fluff and Wig had a bit of Diablo together.

Tuesday - We had our little nieces. We did a little light table time in the morning after breakfast - jigsaws and fuzzy felts, crafts and various manipuables mostly, plus a little drawing. Roo and Wig took care of their basics, and as it was sunny we packed up in a hurry and headed out to the park for a good long play. Then we were off to the library for a good haul, back for lunch and a tidy and a read and Frozen, phew! Then Papacrow took the nieces back. The boys finished off maths and essays and had some playstation while he took the girls and Hoofie into town for a few bits for dinner and I did some editing.

Wednesday - I was working in the morning so Papacrow did lots of table time, work books and flash cards with them all. In the afternoon we went to the park and there were lots of card games, stories and some crafting.

Thursday - a little table time and we went to the park to meet up with some home ed friends. The rain held off for over an hour, although it was grey and chilly we still had a great time! Roo got all his stuff done including finishing his essay and went off to a friend's house for a sleepover. In the afternoon the others went to their grandparents to play with cousins and have dinner, Papacrow, Hoofie and I went shopping.

Friday - A leisurely breakfast, plenty of reading and free play and we went off to meet up with some home ed friends. Back for lunch and I went to ballet, after that we did lots of house work, Wig did his basics and finished off his essay, and Papacrow did lots of flash cards with the younger ones. Then Wig went off to youth group and I took the girls to ballet, bringing Dot home after her class well Petal danced, and picking Wig and Roo up from youth group on the way back from Petal's class. We enjoyed Agents of Shield in the evening.

Saturday was taken up with karate in the morning and a visit to my Mum's house in the afternoon where we met up with my sister A and cousins P and J.

Sunday we visited friends a few towns over - got very wet in their local park which was fun!


Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Now Dot is Five

Five. Well I'll be. Goodness me. Five?! Gosh.


It seems monumentus somehow, it's always a big marker in my mind...I remember reading in a probably fairly out dated child care book once that if you kept them alive until they reached five then you were doing well!

Of course in my head it's also the school going age although these days it seems to have crept back to four.

In reality, nothing is really changing - certainly she's not going to school. On the other hand - everything is changing, like it does all the time except I generally don't register the shifting sands of time in front of my very eyes, not until milestone events like this when I stop and look around and take stock.

She has grown up so much in the last year. She's still very much herself, still Whirlwind Dot, but... There is a growing maturity for sure. Certainly she articulate and self motivated and creative to the point where you can forget she's really still rather little and you're surprised by a melt down!

She is blossoming, all the time, in all directions. She loves her dancing, loves her reading, loves playing, loves her siblings, loves her friends. Except of course, on those days when she doesn't.

If ever there was a girl with a little curl... You get the idea!

And of course she is a blessing and a joy and we couldn't do without her.

Happy Birthday Dot.



Engineering





Fluff has very much enjoyed the brick building set recently. This was dug out of some cupboard by a friendly Aunty a few years ago, it's an old fashioned game and we love it - the bricks come in groups of different shapes and you have to put them together in different ways to get different patterned walls. You can make up your own design or follow a picture on one of many cards.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Water Resistance and other such things


Great table time session this morning.
 Water resistance experiments,
 Everyone enjoyed joining in...
 Hoofie loves these numbers flash cards, they have their own little tin...

 Fluff worked very diligently on his handwriting practice, diary and review book.
 Petal enjoyed some word searches, she also caught up with her diary and did some maths problems (early algebra).
Dot read about how to make paper lanterns in one of her new activity books that she got for her birthday yesterday, and she and Petal followed the instructions beautifully and with just a little help here and there!


Fluff really did do lots of writing. His handwriting is really improving in legibility.




We also went to the allotment before lunch. Petal collected some earth to use in her soil separation experiments. After lunch I read about the history of musical theatre to them all, especially Wig and we sorted and folded the backlog of washing while we watched the Jungle book. Roo and Wig did their basics in the morning - Wig is doing especially well with his english language exercises at the moment - and in the afternoon they both did maths and started their essays. Fluff had his football (soccer) training class and there was various tv watching and computer game playing.

Last Week Round Up

Monday we tied up last month's project and sorted out this month's one. There was lots of table time, discussion and card games and we watched Enchanted after lunch.

Tuesday we had our two little nieces. It was damp but sunny so after some free play and stories we went out to the park and then to the library. After lunch we watched Puss in Boots, Papacrow did some more flashcarding and other stuff in the afternoon.

Wednesday - lots of table time in the morning and I went off to work at mid day leaving Papacrow doing lots of flash cards.

Thursday - sunny day and after some table time of mostly basics (diaries and workbooks) but also some stories and a lot of talk and discussions about 1, 2 and 3 dimensions, we went off to meet some home ed friends in the park for a good long run around. Home for lunch and the Muppets afterwards - we're really enjoying all these musicals! In the afternoon Papacrow did some more bits and pieces with them and took them to their grandparent's house to play with cousins and have dinner.

Friday I didn't feel well at all. We got through table time and then when Papacrow came down I went up to nap. I took various children to various ballet classes and youth group in the afternoon, and we enjoyed Agents of sheild in the evening.

Saturday I felt a bit better thankfully. Papacrow took everyone except Petal to karate and I stayed home with her and Hoofie and we did loads of chores and preparation for Dot's birthday and party before getting all ready and going to her grade one ballet exam - mass excitment! We enjoyed Strictly in the evening but had mixed feelings about the Doctor Who Finale.

Sunday - Dot was 5!!!! She loved all her presents and got everything out so did lots of playing and crafting. In the afternoon we had her party with lots of her little friends and relations so that was fun. We all slumped in a heap in the evening and watched the Strictly results - we were sorry to see Alison and Alijaz go, we'd rather have got rid of Judy to be honest!

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Anger

I've been editing lately, and grappling with speech tags and line breaks and that kind of thing. So I came up with the bright idea of looking at a few books to answer some of my questions on just how to do it.

The first book I picked up off the book case was a A Wind in the Door by Madeline L'Engle. I remember it being a wonderful book, although I haven't read it for years, so I started reading it a little bit more than was maybe strictly necessary, you know, like you do!

Then I came to a screeching halt on rediscovering Charles Wallace being badly bullied and beaten up at school for being different and markedly more intelligent than everyone around him. I just couldn't get my head round the fact that his parents didn't just take him out of school. When Meg, his older sister, goes to see his useless and unpleasant headmaster, she stresses how intelligent Charles Wallace is (he's basically a child genius) and tries to get some better provision for him. The headmaster merely counters by sarcastically wondering why their parents send him to school at all if he's so clever, and Meg retorts that they probably wouldn't if there wasn't a law about it.

The book came out in 1975 and I'm not sure what state it's set in - I want to say Indiana but I'm not sure it's ever stated. So maybe there were laws against home ed in that state and time? Or maybe L'Engle just didn't know about home educating?

But in the Arm of the Starfish, aren't a grown up Meg and Calvin home educating their children?

Of course what it comes back to is an old anger, mostly buried and only occasionally felt, that I was never taken out of school, which I hated and where I was bullied, and home educated, which I would have loved.

My mother and I did have a very in brief and in passing conversation about it once, probably a year or two ago now, where I guess we carefully didn't take it any further, but she basically said that she didn't know, back then - in the eighties, it would have been - that it was even an option.

Now, sometime later, I want to shout and rage - but why didn't you find out?! Why didn't you search for an answer, like I did when I was the parent and it was my child that was being bullied, that hated school?!

And do you know what, I spent six months at least just thinking about it and making sure I wanted to home educate my children because it was the best thing for THEM and not because I was trying to right the wrongs that happened to me, before I even brought it up to Papacrow as serious option. Then we spent another six months thinking about it, and even when we had decided, we had them (the two eldest) finish out the next year in school, seeing as how it was the last year of infants for Roo and the last year of Juniors for Saurus. We constantly rethink and review our decision, and indeed, Saurus is now back in mainstream education and Roo is heading that way, so I am satisfied we are doing it for the right reasons, reasons that exist in the present, not the past.

Even so, I am still angry about the past. Yes, I survived, yes I learnt lots, yes I even got some ok qualifications out of it - but oh that time could have been so much more. What I got out of it could have been so much more, my whole life could have been dominated with real learning, real education, I could have learnt about how to work at something I didn't find easy instead of not learning how to do that until my mid twenties. My life could not have been dominated by dreaded school every day, hating the uniform, hating the schedule, hating most of the people there, hating most of the subjects taught and hating how they were taught. Hating the stupid rules and the petty factions and groups and politics. It was my whole bloody life, it reached wall to wall and I couldn't get away from it!

It's not all doom and gloom, I escaped to the library which was run by a very understanding english teacher who let me read whatever I wanted whenever I wanted whether it was the scheduled time or tagged at my age level or not, and when I was 14 I moved schools at long last and although there was still much to hate in the similar rules, schedules, uniforms etc there was a bit more to like - no one knew me, no one had labelled me, I suddenly excelled in subjects with better teachers that I got on with. Not as good a library though, but hey, you can't have everything, right?!

But still, sometimes, I feel angry, I feel angry on behalf of the child I was, and the powerlessness I felt in having to live my life in a way that I hate. Do I blame my parents? No, not really, they did what they thought was right and did the best they could. I can't hate them for not being different, can I?! And they were marvellously supportive when I wanted to leave school at sixteen.

In a really weird kind of way, all this has made me feel better about Roo's choice to go back to school... Maybe it isn't my choice for him, and I am worried about it, but I won't have him living with that sense of powerlessness if I can help it.

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