Category Archives: April

Two Contrasting Days

Never were two days so different – both in activity levels and our mindset.

Yesterday was a very slow day where the girls appeared to be happy playing one minute then claiming they were bored the next.  They didn’t seem to be able to apply themselves to anything so in the end it turned into a movie day – I think 4 movies were watched in total – while I worked in the next room sorting out admin and stuff.

I did get them to try two balloon games that I had seen on this site.  They were popular but over so quickly I didn’t have time to get any photos – sorry!

The day ended in sobbing for M :(.  She got very upset after reading her bedtime story and didn’t want me to leave her alone.  Her comments about not learning anything in home school are continuing and I was teasing her about it (and admittedly being  a bit sarcastic, because to be honest it is starting to p me off).  I apologised and explained that I’m finding these comments very difficult to listen to!  I wondered aloud if she is actually enjoying home school because she didn’t seem to be open to learning as if she was blocked somehow.  This produced quite a lot of sobbing so I think I must have touched a nerve but she was unable to explain any further :(.  Then I read The Great Big Book of Feelings and it seemed to calm her down quite a lot.  I ended up going to bed with her it was so late by then!

Today was a totally different story – I don’t know if she absorbed some of what we talked about, if it was just a coincidence, or whether she just enjoyed the day but she was so ENGAGED and ENTHUSIASTIC it was brilliant!

I booked tickets for us to see the Matisse Cut Outs exhibition at Tate Modern months ago.  Unfortunately London Underground chose to strike today but J convinced me to go anyway – I was all for giving up!  As it happened, we had a lovely quiet journey there and back as some trains were still running and I guess a lot of Londoners had chosen to stay at home.

If you read my post when we last went to Tate Modern you might wonder why we would try there again after such a boring experience!  But I had booked the Matisse exhibition before going to the Klee one so we already had the tickets.  I’m so glad we tried again!  The feeling of the Matisse exhibition was so much more vibrant: there were a few children; people were actually TALKING (woah!); and the pictures were big enough, low enough and colourful enough for the girls to appreciate.  Hurrah!

Of the two sausages, M was the most interested but this may be because D was quite tired by then.  M was running through the rooms trying to find the largest exhibit (some were ENORMOUS) and trying to guess what the artwork was about; looking at the colours; exclaiming with excitement when she recognised a picture from her Matisse sticker book.  Matisse cut outs are my all time favourite works of art and I’m so pleased that the girls enjoyed it, and that they gave me time to enjoy it too.  I could go again though just to drink them all in!

We ended with a well deserved hot chocolate and cookie and the girls got down to some art of their own in the gallery’s café:

This afternoon the girls helped me to clean and tidy the lounge.  M wanted me to put my feet up on the sofa and tell her what to do; D wanted me to be the wicked stepmother and give her orders as if she was Cinderella.  What a great game!  What a great day 🙂

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Catching Up With What We’ve Been Doing

Well, after Spain, 3 lots of visitors, Easter, my birthday and D’s birthday, it’s now back to just us.  The girls have settled back into their old equilibrium of being best friends with the occasional fall-out and I’m back to my OU courses, planning activities and day to day stuff.

We’ve done a few activities in and around our visitors:

We started our food chain picture on the kitchen window, which nicely doubles up as a sun-blind…

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The girls did some gardening with their Grandma…

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And me & D did an enormous Jigsaw…

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We’re off to the Matisse Cut-Outs exhibition at the Tate next week so I gave the girls some shapes from Matisse’s Icarus picture to see what they made of them – they both came up with Rudolph!

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The Original…

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Yesterday the girls dressed up as Tinkerbell and a pirate and we went out and about on their scooter and rollerblades, much to the delight of an elderly neighbour of ours!  We had a little chat with her and she confided that she is struggling to look after herself, her house and her dying husband :(.  Of course we offered our help and she said she would let us know if she needed anything.  Of course, I fully expect that she won’t.  M is desperate to do something kind for her so I will have to get my thinking cap on.

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Today we had a trip to Wimbledon Common to go on a scavenger hunt.  We had to find something yellow; bendy; a leaf nibbled by a caterpillar; something lucky; delicate; and weightless.  D wasn’t too keen to go but as soon as we were out of the car she was like a dog let off a leash!

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This weekend they’ll be back to judo and I’m back to decorating!

Just a final picture of 5 year old D at her party 🙂

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Back from Spain and on With the Show!

Hi all!  We’re back from our wonderful holiday in Spain.  Lots of sun, relaxing, coffee and food!

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And now it’s on with the show…

While we were away we had our hallway and landing replastered and although it looks fantastic the mess from the plaster dust was on EVERYTHING in the house. So the last few days have been spent dusting, vacuuming and mopping.  The sausages were very sweetly chuffed at being able to help us clean.

This week has been about planning D’s birthday party on Thursday and preparing for my sister’s arrival with her 3 children.  So yesterday we went to Tesco’s for the obligatory piñata, balloons and party tableware.  I also picked up some great activity books for D:

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And we planted our vegetable and flower seeds.  Today however was a pyjama day (and my birthday!!) and the girls did a few activities but they mainly mooched.  They both played a little with puzzle cubes..

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D did some work on her never-ending space lapbook while M did some flower shadow-drawing…

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There was lots of playing in the garden and then they watched Peter Pan and Return to Never Land, followed by A Series of Unfortunate Events.

D continues to devour anything science related and usually asks for a science book rather than fiction at bedtime.  Tonight’s first book was all about digestion and the second was about wool making.  She is also very excited to be seeing Mars in the sky at night now rather than Jupiter (whom we were all getting a little bored of).

M is busy making lots of puppets for her Three Little Pigs show.  She’s going to write the script next!  As part of this project, at 7.30 this evening she asked me how to draw a cuboid so that she could draw bricks.  I gave her a quick lesson which she was thrilled about and she picked it up quite quickly.

Recently, we’ve been listening to the audio book of Roald Dahl’s Matilda in the car and M asked if she could read the book.  I did borrow it from the library but had to return it before we got a chance to read it so I thought I would buy her one instead.  Then I found this set – 15 books for £16!!

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So our Harry Potter re-read was quickly dumped for Matilda this evening.  I’m so pleased she’s asked to read it as Roald Dahl was my favourite when I was a girl so it is such a pleasure for me to share her enjoyment.

There was a dratted moth in our bedroom this evening but it led to an interesting discussion on the ‘point’ of animals and insects so we started talking about food chains and how we’re all reliant on each other.  Hurrah for moths!  And it reminded me that I had a great idea for a game about food chains which I never set up so I’ll aim to start it tomorrow before our guests arrive!

It was such a slow day today that I managed to fit in some of my own learning and got up to date with my moons course.  I was starting to feel a little panicky this morning: thinking about everything that had to be done as my kitchen science OU course starts this week too but having got last week’s learning done and also a bit of vacuuming, I’m feeling a bit more in control… ha!

Prisms and Maths

Since we’re off to Spain in a couple of days, I thought I would post a little of what’s been happening today as I won’t have time to post for a while.

The day started with me doing two hours of cleaning, tidying, sorting and admin.  I seem to have managed to leave just about everything to the last minute, which is unlike me: I just find my head is so full of HE (and moons!) there isn’t room for much else!

While I was busy the girls were absorbed in their own activities upstairs, although they appeared the minute I sat down with a cup of coffee to tell me they were bored.  I managed to persuade them to get dressed and then they both ran outside to play in the garden and do a bit of weeding.

A new toy arrived for them today – a glass prism!  They were fascinated by it as I thought they would be, knowing their love of rainbows.  After playing with it for a while they then adapted it to their own requirements by watching telly through it…

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After lunch it was time for David Lloyd.  As usual we did our workbooks in the café before going to the pool and the girls both reached new levels in their understanding of numbers today!  D has started learning about ‘difference’ and how it’s another way to think about subtraction.  I’m not sure she’s fully there but she certainly got stuck into the activity.  M continued with her MEP maths, which I LOVE!!!  She had a small strop over a few sums (because they were the wrong way around) and then quickly calmed down when I explained that they wanted her to play with the numbers.  After that she adapted a more than/less than sum and beamed when I complimented her on playing with it!  I really want to get her love of numbers back as it was before school and I hope that if she can play around with her maths exercises (scribble on them; colour them in; make patterns out of them etc.) then it might happen.  This is an example of what she’s been working on:

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I didn’t mention in my last post that I came across M working out sums with missing parts using an app on my tablet.  This is something she’s been struggling with recently and she was totally nonchalant about her new skill when I complimented her on it.  I feel like we’re finally getting somewhere!  Yay!

Little things: Me: “D, I learnt something new today: I learnt that an asteroid can have moons!!!” D: “I already knew that”.

Contrasting Days

The last two days couldn’t be more different: yesterday was decidedly lack-lustre and none of us could galvanise ourselves to do much.  Although saying that, we did have a trip to Tesco’s to get our holiday money, during which we managed to fit in a trip to the coffee shop…

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And then I discovered we had to return a load of books to the library so we had a trip to Wimbledon after lunch.  The devil had got inside D by this point and she was swinging/running/hiding all over the place and not really heeding my advice, resulting in the librarian telling her off (though in a kindly way), which she was quite miffed about.

Things picked up a little when we got back, we got the Spain lapbooks out with the intention of finishing them before our holiday, however D was really not in the mood and was squiggling rather than writing.  M spent about half an hour on hers and we watched bullfighting and running of the bulls videos on YouTube.

After a bit of telly, and while I was cooking dinner, they both decided to play with the craft sticks I bought recently:

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We tried to make a lolly stick chain reaction but this didn’t work so I Googled lolly stick crafts and found a lovely house to build which M immediately wanted to make.  She’s stuck at it for hours over yesterday and today. We’ve got quite a bit more to do but here’s what we’ve done so far:

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Today has been much much busier! J was at home in the morning getting a last bit of wallpaper stripping done before the plasterers arrive next week.

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And the girls were insistent upon a pyjama day, although I really don’t know why this holds the allure it still does now we’re home educating – it in no way means they are sitting around doing nothing!

M continued with her lolly stick house and also spent hours making an igloo out of sugar cubes and a cement mixture (made with egg whites and icing sugar):

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D also had a go with the sugar cubes but wasn’t all that interested.  However she loved continuing her writing on planets for her space lapbook.  Her space knowledge has gone up a notch: she is now making comments about ‘grabbity’ that show her level of understanding has increased (i.e. that Jupiter has higher gravity because it is larger) and was asking me intelligent questions about tides today (thank goodness for my moons course otherwise I wouldn’t have known how to answer!).

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They both had a play outside in the sunshine and ate their dinner under the climbing frame:

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They were still outside at 5.30pm, weeding their plots in their pyjamas and slippers!