Category Archives: January

Bushy Park and a Car Breakdown

Ok, so we didn’t make it to Lumiere London – we were far too cosy and warm to face going out.  As it turns out it sounded too busy for us and was even turned off outside Kings Cross at one point to disperse the crowds.  I don’t do crowds, particularly with small children!

On Friday, we braved the freezing cold to meet D’s best friend at Bushy Park.  I’ve only been there once and that was years ago (for M’s back to school picnic!) and I had completely forgotten how near to us it actually is.  It’s only 20 minutes away, or at least it would be if it was easier to find.  No road signs and my sat nav didn’t know where it was either which meant we were late, and our friends were REALLY late for the same reason!  M was so cold by the time they arrived that we only stayed for a few minutes before heading home again.  Ah well, we will probably try again another time, especially now we know where it is!

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We’ve been revisiting a lot of old favourite films recently – Disney’s Robin Hood; Johnny English; 101 Dalmatians; and Jake & the Neverland Pirates.  We also watched Jurassic Park for the first time (didn’t go down well) and Hugo (me and M loved it!). We watched Castles: Britain’s Fortified History too, or at least I watched it: the girls weren’t really that interested until someone dropped their trousers and farted at the Normans during the Siege of Exeter – their ears pricked up at that point.

We’ve also spent a fair amount of time clearing out old toys to go to charity or in the bin; playing a few apps (Plants vs Zombies is a current favourite of M’s, and D has almost finished her One Billion maths app); playing Junior Scrabble; poker; learning card tricks; going to ‘D land’ (imaginary play is like medicine for D); playing the piano; and french knitting.

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J took the girls swimming at Guildford Spectrum yesterday but unfortunately he punctured a tyre on the way home and they had to wait hours to be rescued by the AA.  All three of them were absolutely exhausted by the time they got home and the girls have been quite out of sorts today too.  I can’t work out if it’s linked or if something else is going on.  We managed art class this morning but both sausages have been on edge all day – swinging between tiredness, boredom and tears. 😦

I definitely have a case of the January blues which I think is rubbing off on the girls – I’m certainly through the lurgy we had last week so I’m not as exhausted as I was but I’m feeling rather flat and lethargic.  I can’t wait for my old buzz to come back!

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Play Dates and Pootling

Since I last wrote, we’ve continued along on our pootling-wintery-slow phase – we’re still fairly busy but we’re all asleep by 9.30 every night, even night-owl M.

Last weekend, Aunty Sh took the girls to Wimbledon Theatre to see Peter Pan for their birthday presents.  It’s a little early for D but it was nice that they got to see something together.  They didn’t make Judo because J had too much work to do (the downside of being self employed!).

D has been spending a fair amount of time on Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4 on the iPad.  It isn’t a major thing in itself but for D it’s brave of her to try a new game on her own, especially a game with baddies in it!

On Sunday, J took the girls to the park to play football – amazingly he’s never just taken them out for a kick-about before as trips out tend to be to playgrounds or swimming pools.  The girls were really excited and loved it!  Last week he arrived home late and announced he was taking the girls to the park in the dark, which was quite an adventure too.  J can always be relied upon to be spontaneous. 😀

On Monday we had a play date at our house with our first unschooling friends  – the kids played Minecraft together then moved onto other games like Connect 4 and Snap Circuits before ending with an almighty long (and hilarious) tour of D’s imaginary land.  The rest of the day we spent pootling around the house.

On Tuesday we were back to our usual routine of art class in the morning and Brownies in the evening.  I had a lovely bit of quality time with D as she doesn’t want to go to art anymore.  M came out of Brownies, full of the joys – she absolutely loves that group!  She wants to do an optional Saturday class to get her Science badge and has decided that she’d like to work towards another Brownie badge in her own time too.

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On Wednesday we had more friends over to play – they played out in the freezing cold for ages on the trampoline and there was a lot of giggling and thumping about upstairs too.  It was so successful we have arranged to meet again in a few days and this time we’ll be having some Minecraft fun, while I try to encourage my friend to accept screens as an acceptable form of entertainment on a playdate. 😉

Tonight we’re supposed to be going to see Lumiere London at Kings Cross but we’ll have to see if we can overcome the freezing cold and winter lethargy first…

 

M is SO Lucky

I can’t believe how lucky she is – truly.

Games that require no skill: she is likely to win.

Games that require luck and skill: she is even more likely to win.

She’s been asking to learn poker with me for the past few days but we haven’t got around to it until tonight.  So we got out our little Pocket Poker tin (found in the ‘Presents for Men’ section in WHSmith last Xmas: grr) and attempted to learn the game together using M’s ‘Card Games to Play’ book she got in her stocking this year.

We were three games in when she got a flippin’ ROYAL FLUSH!!!!  I think this may be a new interest for her. 🙂

Other than poker it’s been a fairly quiet week: we’ve all had some kind off low lying bug which hasn’t made us very ill but just quite tired.  We managed to squeeze a play date in with D’s best friend (D) and a trip into Wimbledon so that M could gather ideas for her birthday list.  M downloaded a sample Pokemon puzzle game onto her Nintendo 2DS that is so hard it makes my brain hurt – God she’s clever.  We’ve also been baking and cleaning – D is leaping at the chance to join in with either; learning new card games; continuing to build a cardboard boat and add accessories (like the treasure chest decorated by M below: the flower insignia is being drawn onto everything to do with the boat); thinking about and manipulating numbers (D is really into mental maths right now: the way she is beginning to work with numbers in her head is really astounding); and watching films.

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Next week our term-time classes begin so it will be back into our usual rhythm. 🙂

New Year

This is my 3rd New Year whilst home educating, and it’s the first one that I haven’t felt really fired up by HE.  However, this is no bad thing!  I feel relaxed, brave and sure enough to let things go at the pace they are without any feverish planning and strewing.

I’m determined to spend more time doing things that I want to do: so rather than spend my evenings reading HE blogs/on HE Facebook groups or scouring for HE resources, I’ll be picking up my sewing/watching TV or reading a book!

I’ve already started a Future Learn course – this one’s all about the constellation of Orion.  I completed the first week yesterday, with D enjoying it next to me.  There was nothing there that we didn’t know but we enjoyed going over it again and watching the videos.

We’ve had a lovely few weeks at my parents’ house over xmas and then a further 5 days spent with them over New Year at our house.  We had a great time, as ever!

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Yesterday was our first pyjama day of the new ‘term’.  Always a requirement of a successful HE lifestyle :D.  I had to take Morris to the vets for a general anaesthetic to have his teeth burred but the rest of the day was spent on Minecraft, interspersed with:

  • experimenting with an enormous marshmallow in the microwave!  We were given 2 bags of marshmallows by M’s friend B to try it out.  Even D was intrigued and dared to eat it for the first time!  We then continued with marshmallow fun by setting them alight over a candle.
  • learning a new card game.  M got this book in her stocking.  We had to play with just the two of us as D doesn’t like competitive games at the moment.
  • We googled where rubber comes from and then how erasers are made.
  • We watched a mesmerising animation on a triangle and the Sugar Plum Fairy being played on glasses.
  • The girls cleaned and cooked alongside me – they swept and mopped the kitchen floor, wiped and shined cupboards and handles and then made J’s dinner.
  • We watched Snow Chick – A Penguin’s Tale, Kung Fu Panda 2 and Liar Liar.
  • Sooo many questions about word means, social meanings, road safety, nature and instinct, sums, hemispheres and the zodiac to name but a few.

We went to a friend’s party on Sunday and I was so surprised that every guest there had a positive response to HE and there wasn’t one word on socialisation!  I felt very confident and proud of our decision to HE and today backed up that feeling.  From the outside it appeared like a slouchy pyjama day, but under the surface our brains were buzzing with questions and new connections.