Tag Archives: Dancing

A Week in the Life of a Home Educating Family: Saturday 2015

Wow I can’t believe I made it to the end of the week.  And what an odd week it’s been with just about all our usual activities being cancelled for one reason or another.  We seem to have had quite an indoorsy and isolated week, which perhaps isn’t the best advert for home ed!  Most people outside the home ed community would assume that socialisation is a problem for home educated children, but that’s because they’re looking at us through schooly goggles.  I heard on a telly programme this week (was it My Little Pony?) that your family are your first friends: well, the fact that the sausages are still speaking to each other after the week we’ve had speaks volumes. 😀

Anyway, time for my final installment of A Week in the Life 2015.  If you missed the previous days’ posts, please click here:

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

7.45am

I have a lovely lie-in which was nice after yesterday’s early start.  The girls wake up too.  I go downstairs and feed the bunnies, leaving the girls snuggled in bed.  After I’ve made a cup of tea I go up again to see if they’re ready to get up but they’re not.

8am

J notices it’s snowing – we tell M as she appears downstairs and she runs off shrieking the news to D.  D comes down and I show them another Story Bots video I found last night.  While we’re on YouTube, D spots a My Little Pony video she hasn’t seen before and the girls get immersed in that.  The snow stops after a 5 minute flurry.

10am

J decides he has too much work to do so doesn’t want to take the girls to Judo this morning so he takes them out to see his parents and then onto the park.  I stay in and decide it’s high time I vacuumed the lounge: there is crunching underfoot and crumbs all over the sofas.  This is my ‘me-time’ – I used to begrudge the fact that I spent hours cleaning on ‘my time’, but these days I use it as a way of processing my thoughts, listening to my favourite radio programme and most of all, regain control of my environment.  I’m really not uber-clean but if I feel like the house is too dirty/messy then I get quite stressed about it which affects my time with the girls.

1pm

I have a coffee and apple crumble break.  I’m just starting to have a look through the YouTube for Kids app when there’s a knock at the door – it’s the sausages!  They’ve been at the park for over 3 hours and are in high spirits.  I get a little serenade before they come in, followed by J.  J really does love playing with them and gets easily distracted, hence skipping 45 minutes of Judo ‘because he’s got too much work to do’ to spending 3 hours at the park instead…

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1.30pm

J goes upstairs to nap work.  The sausages play My Little Pony on the iPad together and then I remember that Inside Out is released on DVD this weekend.  I look through Amazon Video and buy it so we can watch together.  It’s a really interesting film and such a great way of getting the concept of emotions, and the importance of each emotion, across to children.  I can’t say the girls understand the point of the film yet but it generally takes a few goes to cement films into the sausages’ minds.

4pm

J comes down again.  After running around the house trying to guess what emotion the other is feeling, the girls settle down to Minecraft.  I sit with them and sew on M’s new Brownie badge and put their new gloves onto elastic.

5.30pm

I make dinner for J and me and then we watch 2 episodes of Have I Got News For You.  I think it’s the first time we’ve both watched a grown up programme together in front of the girls!

7pm

The girls decided earlier that they wanted to watch Strictly Come Dancing live this time (usually we record it on TiVo and fast forward through the boring bits) so I put it on.  They were mega excited and spent the entire programme copying the dances and making up their own routines.  Strangely, I think this is the first day in a long long time where they haven’t fallen out once?!

8pm

It’s up to bed.  They are still really giggly (in a hilarious way – not a manic I’m-going-to-burst-into-tears-at-any-moment way, which is more common at bedtime) and they decide they’d rather jump about on the bed than have a story.  So I read Heidi for 5 minutes and then make a quick exit.  Now they’re making a den and I can hear a lot of shrieks and laughter.

What a lovely, joyful end to the week. 🙂

 

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What is a Bully?

This was the question D asked me recently.  How amazing and wonderful that a 6 year old doesn’t know what a bully is!  There have been dozens of questions from D as to why people bully, whether that boy” is a bully; what she would say to a bully etc etc.  This is all stemming from some bullies depicted in My Little Pony.  It has been explored further with the girls watching the bullying in ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks: the Squeakuel’.  Honestly, that movie would put anyone off the idea of going to school: the bullying was so horrendous but told in a ‘this is what a normal American high school is like’ kind of way.  Nice.  D got quite anxious about it and told me that that was why she didn’t want to go to school.

I really feel for those children who have to suffer being bullied daily and it has made me realise how much value I place on mental health.  I realise now that I have (unconsciously!) placed the sausages’ mental health over and above anything else that might be going on in our HE world.  I have also realised that it really is the foundation for everything in life: learning, fun, friendships, responsibilities, relationships, jobs and careers, finance, parenting… EVERYTHING!

I am sure the sausages will be bullied at some point in their lives but I hope that when it does happen they will have enough self-confidence, awareness and resilience to deal with it.

In other news, we’ve been dipping our toes into all sorts this week…

D has been playing on her maths app – at one point it took all three of us to figure out a number line question which resulted in much hilarity.  All  of us have also been teaming up to help and motivate M through the levels of Super Mario Bros: she’s been getting quite down-hearted because she’s been stuck on a particular level for days.  She’s the most skilled of all of us so unfortunately we’re not a lot of help but I think she appreciates the support.

We had a look through some hang-gliding videos after seeing it in action on ‘Alvin & the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked’.  (I never thought I would stomach watching chipmunk films, it’s amazing how low your tolerance goes as a parent).  We also watched this amazing sky diving video and a whole host of others – D is very keen to have a go!

There’s also been a lot of dancing and singing off the back of the Chipmunk films.  I introduced them to Strictly Come Dancing the other night and they were both intrigued by the different dances and the scoring system.  I’ve noticed both sausages incorporating a bit of Charleston into their dance routines since then. 🙂

M is still working on her wooden house in Minecraft.  It’s all the more impressive that she’s gathered so much wood and stone herself to make it.  She was also inspired to create a scaffolding after seeing one in use at a local building site.

We also chatted about how babies grow in the uterus after our free ‘Nine months that made you‘ poster arrived the other day.  The girls had totally forgotten that they are IVF babies so I reminded them about how they were made and how D was frozen (!) as a blastocyst.

We’ve also had a great afternoon out at the common with friends…

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It was not enjoyed so much by D as she managed to fall head first into the lake, but she coped admirably well!

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Later, she found a stick and pretended to be Taurus the bull…

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And M scampered up a tree like the monkey she is…

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The end of the week is always finished off by playing with friends at Curious Minds.  I love that they all make their own fun: sometimes playing in a crowd, sometimes playing with parents and sometimes on their own.  It’s a lovely, friendly, supportive atmosphere.

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Ballet and Bunnies

After writing last week’s blog post, M (after a few days of this awful bug that’s been going around) was thrown headlong into ballet rehearsals and then three performances over the weekend.  She did extremely well, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

This is a picture that I took of the flower dance rehearsal.  Spot the sausage!

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Then it was straight back to our week-day activities following a half-term break.  M brought home a beautiful bowl that she had made in pottery: they’re both still really enjoying the class.

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For those who don’t know, this is the Into Film Festival fortnight, where schools and home educators get to see films for free.  It’s an incredible resource, and I hope it continues – there are so many films to see!  We’re a bit limited by the girls’ ages, obviously, but also by the amount of fear D shows towards films: the cinema can be quite a frightening experience for her.  This year, I booked Mr Peabody and Sherman, and Turbo.  We saw Mr Peabody and Sherman on Tuesday and M really enjoyed it but D spent most of the film feeling terrified!

M really needed some downtime and D and I have been under the weather so we had a much needed pyjama day on Wednesday: we had a lovely peaceful day of activities.  The Lego has made a reappearance again, as has Minecraft, lots of drawing and letter writing to each other and Reading Eggs.  The girls are also entering a competition to decorate a face mask which is being run by our local art shop.

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D also asked to make a chocolate cake though it didn’t match up to expectations so I have been left to eat it all myself (shame).

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And so endeth another blog post, with just a little bit of exciting news to tell you about – our bunnies are almost old enough for collection: we’ve got 2 more weeks to wait and then we can bring them home!  We’re so excited… 😀

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Firefighters, Colourscape, Go Diego Go and Alchemy!

I’m confused, we’ve had Go Diego Go on so often this past week I feel like I could be a South American living in the rainforest too… D now knows ‘si, por favor’ and ‘ayuadame’ (help me) – small beginnings!

I must start blogging more often so I don’t end up writing these huge posts, so apologies for the huge post but here goes…

We finished the Pompeii plaques:

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We had a busy day last Friday – first to Epsom fire station for a tour with our local HE group.  The girls were reluctant to go but soon changed their minds.  The firefighters were really friendly and showed us their uniforms, the kit they use and the truck.  All the kids got a go with the hose too!

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From there it was a quick bite to eat in the car and straight onto Clapham Common where we met with another HE group to go to Colourscape.  It was an incredible experience, and quite indescribable!  We learnt lots about light, colour, heat and sound.  Unfortunately it’s finished now, but I would love to go back and cement what I’ve learnt.  I’m not sure how much the girls picked up but they certainly enjoyed it.

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On Saturday morning, J managed to convince the girls to go to their Judo class.  They weren’t too keen on going but came back full of excitement as the teacher seems to appreciate them being there and their obvious skills.  J told me the teacher frequently used M to demonstrate the moves to the rest of the class!

After Judo, M had her first rehearsal for the ballet production she’s taking part in.  She had rehearsals all day Sunday too and then afterwards her friend T came to play for a few hours.  Meanwhile, D was having fun at the South Bank with her cousin.

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We had a chilled morning on Monday and we spent it reading, watching Go Diego Go, The Powerpuff Girls and playing on the iPad.  In the afternoon it was back to Clapham again for the girls’ favourite class of all: pottery!  They were thrilled to be back and ran in happily, leaving me free to read in the church yard, which I love.  The girls also had a good run around in there churchyard beforehand too.

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Tuesday was spent playing M’s current favourite game on our tablet – Alchemy, while D continued to watch Go Diego Go.  The premise is that you begin with the four basic elements: earth, water, fire and air, which you then have to combine to make new elements.  There are 390 to make in total!  We quickly became unstuck and lost track of how we had made elements, which ones we had combined already and which ones we hadn’t.  So I decided to start writing what we’d done in a grid, which M adored!  I then realised there would be too much data to put on paper so I created a spreadsheet.  M has quickly grasped how it works and can be seen merrily beavering away at it from time to time.  I’m not sure which she likes more – the excitement of finding a new element or the data collection… she is so like me :).

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Finally, someone took notice of the British Legion WWI poster I stuck up in the kitchen a few months ago!  D asked very sweetly if I could tell her what it was about so I got out my Usborne book of The First World War that I bought for myself a few months ago.  I still need to read it through as my understanding of that war is so pitiful!  We began talking about Archduke Franz Ferdinand and who shot him which led onto questions of ‘why?’, whether the killer was a ‘goody’ or a ‘baddy’, and D poured over the pre-war maps of Europe and the British Empire.  It felt like a very successful and thoughtful bit of learning, and even M picked up a bit as we were still chatting about it in the car later on in the day.

The girls then watched The Chronicles of Narnia and before we knew it, it was time to go to M’s ballet class.  We raced out the door and didn’t have time to put on her leotard or tie her hair up, but the teacher didn’t seem to mind too much thankfully.  M’s friend wasn’t at the class that day but M still enjoyed it and came back home longing to practice in the lounge.

Wednesday morning was more of the same – Go Diego Go (what a surprise!) and Alchemy.  We had quite a few tears from M as she is struggling with her moods again: she gets into a huge black cloud if anything goes ‘wrong’ which then taints the rest of the day.  Rather than seeing it as a moment which didn’t go well, she seems to think that if ANYTHING goes wrong then the whole day is ruined.  I’ve tried so many approaches to try and help her but I’m fast running out of ideas and patience, argh!  Still, she is getting better and better at trying things again once the mood has passed.  One thing that helped today was doing a bit of baking: she cheered up enormously and I’m beginning to wonder if doing something sensory with her hands like gloop or baking helps her in some way?

She also cheered up at the thought of going to Morden Park again this afternoon.  We met up with our local HE group there and the girls ran around playing with the other kids and M got to do a bit of her favourite foraging!

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We’re off to visit my parents in Nottingham after our climbing class on Friday so the next post will be written from there!

Life Got In The Way

Sorry for the lack of posts recently but life got in the way!  We’ve only been doing the usual activities but my evenings have been spent doing other activities (reading Kids, Carrots and Candy, for one) and I have been decorating our hallway and landing every weekend for the past six or so weeks (nearly finished, but starting on kitchen next).

Our days have been spent in our usual routines.  I do wonder how I ever did semi-structured home-ed as again, life seems to get in the way!

Lots of cards to various friends and family members are frequently being written and drawn (as I write they are both beavering away preparing cards for our builder who is here today).

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The girls continue to enjoy their weekly pottery class in Clapham.  D brought home her first creations last week and here’s a photo of them.  The bottom piece is a comet!  The teacher was praising them both last week, particularly commenting that D is wonderful at story telling as she works.  I have a feeling that for D it is all about the process whereas for M it is all about the end result (chalk and cheese as usual :)).

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With our unschooling approach to the girls’ education, they are given a free reign to play as long as they like on computers and watch as much telly as they like too.  M’s particular favourite game at the moment is Minecraft which she is probably spending 1-2 hours a day on.  D is also quite interested in it and M is very generous with her time: advising her sister how best to build things and ideas on what to do next.  They both prefer the ‘creative’ rather than ‘survival’ game as it’s a bit less stressful!

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Our unschooling approach has already spilled over into food, which is why I’m reading ‘Kids, Carrots and Candy’.  I’m learning to ask if they are ‘hungry’ rather than ‘what would you like for dinner?’;  We don’t have meal times anymore – they eat only when they are hungry; and they can eat ANYTHING (within reason, I’m not going to start making Bolognese at 6am) at ANY time of day.  They are learning to recognise when they are hungry and what their body is asking for.  I am also learning to listen to my body too!  For the past two days my body has asked for a fresh fruit smoothie rather than dinner and it has been extremely satisfying to give it what it’s asking for!

So far I have resisted letting the unschooling approach spill over into bedtimes (i.e., letting them decide when to go to bed) because I value my alone time in the evening so much.  I only get half an hour to an hour in the evening anyway but it is very precious to me!  However, you’ll see in the previous picture that it is rather dark and the two sausages are refusing to go to bed because they are doing something ‘extremely important’.  When they are playing so nicely together it seems a shame to spoil their fun!

We went to Garson’s Farm a few days ago and met our friends there from  3 Kids and a Gluestick.  The girls especially loved picking raspberries and strawberries but the heat got too much for them eventually and we had to leave earlier than planned.

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M has decided to continue doing ballet classes with her school friend, T, and they’re currently rehearsing for a show in October of Alice in Wonderland. D decided she didn’t want to do ballet after all so she sits with me and does an activity book while the class is on.

We’ve been to D’s swimming class (M didn’t even want to get in the water this week so it was a short visit) and D swam her first length unaided!!  M and I were whooping and punching the air on the side :).

One of the many perks of HE is that you can get discounted entry rates to most attractions.  So yesterday, J took the day off work and we all went to Legoland!  We had such a lovely day and the weather was perfect.

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There have been lots going on inbetween all this of course, including chess; draughts; making a clock; drawing; learning about the world; learning about mucus in ‘The Sound of Mucus’; reading book 2 of ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’; listening to The Enormous Crocodile and Matilda audio books in the car; watching various films including The Artist, Tinkerbell & The Pirate Fairy, Peter Pan and Coraline; and playing outside in the garden!

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Story Books and Ice Cream

Today we got cracking with a couple of recipes from M’s cookery book she borrowed from the library last week.  She chose to make caramel ice cream and I made a toffee sauce to go with it.  Om nom nom.

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M is always convinced she hasn’t learnt anything so I tested her over lunch (much to her pleasure, she loves tests): she knows the difference between caster and granulated sugar and why we use caster in cooking; she knows the three components which went into making our ice-cream (custard, caramel and cream); how caramel is made and what ‘dissolve’ means!

After lunch, both the sausages wanted to make a story with photos.  M thought out each scene very thoroughly, while D’s was a bit more haphazard, as you might expect.  These are a couple of the photos from their stories.  Next, they’re going to write or type the narration to go with the photos.

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This activity really fired their imaginations and their stories went on and on.  I ended up taking control of the camera as there was so much going on.

Then, while I cooked dinner, M sat in the kitchen and typed the beginning of her story.  D spent ages playing with Lego: she can build whole sets and follow the instructions all by herself now.  She’s very proud of herself!

After dinner the girls played Disney’s ‘Where’s My Water’ app which I think is brilliant for logic, strategy and a bit of physics thrown in.  J has yet to be convinced.

The day ended with both girls doing a bit of cross stitch, followed by a disco on the bed.  A great day, just the right pace and everyone happy!

 

Our Weekend with Grandma & Granddad

Grandma and Granddad went back to Nottingham this morning and as such we’ve all been a bit mopey and listless so I let the girls do some Magic Maize just to keep their minds off their sorrows.  We really must get down to some proper activities this week though: I feel as if January has just passed us by!

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After Saturday’s birthday activities we had a very quiet day on Sunday – it was full of activities but at a nice peaceful pace: Grandma spent a long time helping M to make a felt coat and mask which was an activity from M’s Sylvanian Families Club magazine.

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She also strung our Chinese lanterns up in the window for me!

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AND she helped me organise our home school room to make space for an Ikea Billy bookcase that should be arriving this week.  Granddad helped me put up our new Wallbooks too:  they’re lovely to glance at to pick up bits of history and science that we didn’t know before.

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On Monday we were divided as to what to do with the day.  I was very tempted to go to Wisley but the weather looked a bit temperamental; then I saw the London Aquarium but was put off by the prices so we decided to take Grandma and Granddad to Cutty Sark as they haven’t been before and the girls so enjoyed our last visit.

D was sooo excited for the majority of the day and dragged Grandma around the ship at top speed.  M stayed with me and absorbed every exhibit on the tween deck – I was really surprised and pleased by her interest as absorbing facts so intently is more D’s forte.  We had a very lacklustre lunch in the café below the keel, a look around the shop and then headed back home.

So today has been a bit mopey but the girls did lots of painting and we had a disco on the bed to cheer ourselves up.  The day ended with me showing them how to make a colour wheel.  I’ve never made one before and we were quite impressed with the results!

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