Tag Archives: Pottery

Poetry, Pottery and Painting

I’m trying really hard to strew more to keep M (and maybe D?) more stimulated – M already has numerous activities on the go but she seems to want to be stretched and challenged more recently.

Way back in the early days of our HE journey, when I was devouring other blogs, I found a few references to Brave Writer’s Poetry Teatime.  I’m not a poetry lover as such (I love a good rhyme or a limerick but I can’t bear some of it – probably because I don’t understand it.  It brings up similar fears/anger/boredom issues to looking around the Tate Modern) but there’s something about getting lots of yummy things out on the table and sharing poetry together which appeals to me.

It’s only taken me 3 years to get around to trying it out…  I gathered a few poetry books we have (although annoyingly I couldn’t find our copy of Roald Dahl’s ‘Revolting Rhymes’) and invited the girls to a poetry tea.  M was up for it, D was not but came to the table for a chocolate muffin that Grandad had bought for her.  They both wanted me to sing ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’ by Edward Lear to them, which I duly did.  D gobbled her cake and scarpered to bounce on the trampoline while M stayed for a few more poems.  I read ‘Bananas in my Ears’ by Michael Rosen, ‘Us Two’ by A. A. Milne, and M sang ‘The Owl and The Pussycat’ back to me. 🙂  All in all it was a success and I hope to do more of it in the future, which may make D less wary and suspicious of it all.

2016-10-11-13-24-45

M has been to pottery – she’s churning out pieces by the dozen and I’m not sure where I’m going to put it all!  Here is her latest piece, which I love.  This week the teacher was marveling at how much work she puts into each of her pieces. 🙂

2016-10-11-13-25-24

We’ve spent a fair amount of time playing Minecraft together – we defeated a witch (with a lot of terrified squeals, mainly from me) and built an enormous scaled up model of a Minecraft bunny in the sky.  It is supposed to be a mob-trap but no mobs are spawning in it unfortunately. :/

img_1450

J has taken the girls swimming and got them playing marbles, which they loved.

2016-10-12-09-54-27

This weekend I painted our bedroom, and the girls helped too.  Their brush strokes have really improved from the last time they helped and I didn’t need to correct or go over any of it.  It won’t be long before I can leave them to do an entire room. 😀

2016-10-15-15-45-05-1

We’ve already reached half term – it feels like M’s classes have only just begun…?  So now we’ve got two weeks without classes to mark the days.  We’ve got a few play dates and activities planned though so I’m looking forward to it. 🙂

Old and New

Busy busy busy.  Too busy to write a blog and too tired to squeeze it into the hour I have to myself before the girls get up in the morning.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me – I keep waking up at crazy o’clock: 4, 5 in the morning?!!  What is that about?

I keep swinging between giving up this blog but then I love looking back over old posts.  This week D said she wanted to grow her hair as long as M’s and I remembered that 2 years ago M’s hair was short as D’s so I showed them both September 2014‘s blog posts.  They really inspired M to go back to some old activities – she tried the Alchemy app again, made gloop and iced cakes.

So that was the old stuff.  The new stuff was flying a kite!  We went to Camber Sands for a day trip on Wednesday and it was glorious.

2016-09-14-11-42-59 2016-09-14-13-49-35 2016-09-14-15-12-41

We had a recovery day on Thursday and M and I played an ongoing game of Monopoly, and D got back to Stampy/Sqaishey/Amy Lee/DanTDM.  D also did a very cute ‘secret’ picture for M.  There was garden play and testing out our new ‘Mood Maker’ nail varnish, which changes colour according to temperature.

2016-09-12-17-41-44 2016-09-13-10-50-07 2016-09-13-18-38-41

On Friday, we had friends over to play – there was Minecraft, Terraria and chase games in the garden.

In Minecraft land, D’s creativity knows no bounds.  At the moment her skin is a colourful version of Sqaishey Quack’s, and as Sqaishey’s favourite food is pumpkin pie, she built an enormous one for her to live in, along with a large Sqaishey bending over to eat it. 😀

2016-09-16-08-22-29

M has been working through the Great Fire of London Minecraft map: she has quite enjoyed it but at the moment is preferring to  work on her own worlds.  There’s been lots more redstone work: D creating secret doors and M creating colour changing beacons.  It really is beyond me!  D asks me to play with her in Minecraft quite a lot (even J has had a go too – D was in hysterics because he was so bad at it): sometimes I have to do a parkour course she’s created for me and sometimes she wants me to help her build something and sometimes we play chase – we run round and round hitting each other and I always lose. 🙂

M has started a pottery class – the same one she went to two years ago.  She’s working on a little pot with really intricate details.  She is also back at Brownies – the leader has told her she can stay until Easter which is wonderful news as she really doesn’t want to leave when she’s 10 in January.

Lastly, I went to ‘A Day with Sandra Dodd’ on Sunday – the first unschooling conference I’ve ever been to, the first time I’ve been in contact with loads of unschoolers and the first time I’ve met Sandra Dodd in person!  She was really inspiring and really good speaker.  I was also lucky enough to meet a blogger friend in person and make other new friends too – I absolutely loved it and hope it’s repeated next year.

Parks, Cards and Half-Term

We made it to Morden Hall Park the day after writing my last post.  First of all we went to the garden centre so that M could choose some seeds to grow plants for her Brownie gardening badge – she’s decided to work towards a few badges in her own time!  In the shop, D was like a dog straining on a leash so we made some quick choices (mint and coriander) and headed for the park.  We ran around the playground, swung on the zipwire, played chase and cracked ice on the puddles.  M found a few daisies and made a chain and D showed me around her ‘house’ (a den in a bush).

2016-02-11 11.15.34 2016-02-11 11.26.21 2016-02-11 11.44.41

When we got back D put on a show for me with her toy bunnies.  At the moment, if she’s not doing maths, she’s watching films or playing with her bunnies.  The other night she was working out the 7 times table so she could figure out how many days were in 4 weeks. 🙂

2016-02-11 13.19.59

On Saturday, the girls were meant to have two play dates but one cancelled and only M went on the other one because D was in tears about her wobbly tooth.  So D stayed with me and worked on her favourite maths app.  M had a wonderful time with J and her friend B at Mercedes-Benz World.

20160213_123729

D’s tooth finally came out later that day – hurrah!! However, we’re not totally in the clear as her second front tooth is hanging by a thread and it’s still affecting her mood.

M has been busy on Minecraft – we both learnt how to build a minecart station using redstone this week – we haven’t really done a lot with redstone yet and it’s pretty amazing stuff!

M has also begun creating a few cards so that she has a ready made ‘stock’ for peoples’ birthdays:

2016-02-14 08.51.42

And she made this pot in clay:

2016-02-16 09.08.41

This week is half term so I planned a few other activities instead.  On Monday, I had hoped to head into London but neither of the girls were wowed by my chosen destination and as it was freezing and dreary we stayed in.

Today I had planned to go and see some snowdrops at Gatton Park but D had an accident in the lounge and has been hobbling around ever since so I cancelled that too.  What was supposed to be a busy week is turning out to be the opposite!

However it has meant that I’ve had time to follow a few of my own interests:  I watched another episode of Shipwrecks (and M watched with half an eye too), I’ve done quite a bit of baking, and I finally finished my cross-stitch design!  I’m determined to get it finished by the end of the year…

2016-02-15 15.43.09

Spanish and Hibernation

We’ve gone into hibernation this week, which suits D: she has rediscovered the joy of Go Diego Go and Dora the Explorer, so she’s back on the sofa soaking up Spanish words and animal facts.

All our classes finished last week so we had a full free week. We’ve had a few pyjama days, which always go down well but mostly I think the girls (M in particular) have enjoyed getting into activities without having to stop to get dressed and go out!

On Saturday, Jeff took the girls to Box Hill for a run-around.

20141206_133903

Meanwhile, I spent HOURS in Wimbledon, finishing off my Christmas shopping. I also couldn’t resist buying a gorgeous book on colour which I’ve wanted for ages (our art shop is a dangerous place to go), How the Grinch Stole Christmas and some new posters for our bedroom wall. It’s a good place to put them as the girls are more likely to be mooching around and gazing at them at bedtime (I’ve already spotted M muttering bone names while studying the skeleton poster). I also got one on telling the time – which (to be fair) M had actually asked me if she could learn, but then had a melt down because (to be fair) the poster is badly designed and she was blaming herself for not understanding it.

On Sunday, we had Jeff’s Mum over for lunch: she is teaching him how to cook curry so while they were busy in the kitchen, we began listening to an audio of A Christmas Carol (thank you, Pru, for the idea!) while doing activity books.

On Monday, D began teaching Spanish to M! She made up a game where they would run round and round the bed and then jump while saying the corresponding Spanish words! :D. This was the beginning for M getting hooked on learning Spanish too and during the week she has even been spotted watching Dora the Explorer (a once hated programme!). D has continued with her story telling and has also begun singing made-up songs while playing air guitar, which are unbearably cute. Yesterday she told me she wants to be a singer and a cleaner when she grows up. I asked her what happened to wanting to be a scientist, so then she added that to the list. And then I reminded her that she also wants to be a bee-keeper so that was added too!

M made up two new biscuit recipes – unfortunately she has lost the first one she made up (could that be, perhaps, because it was on a silly scrap of paper which she refused to write up into a book?!!) so she has baked twice this week – and written one of the recipes down in a book :).

D spent some time on Reading Eggs but I had a feeling that the interest in it is waning so I’m not sure we’ll renew the subscription in January. She had a go on Teach Your Monster To Read instead, which was way too easy for her but I felt she needed a bit of a confidence boost so it did her good to sound out the easy words and she loved playing it.

On Tuesday, I pushed M to finish one of her Christmas presents (she loves starting projects but not finishing them!) so that we could get it into the post along with D’s present for Aunty S. They’re both fantastically well made – D was shown how to construct this tree in pottery. M figured out how to make Santa ‘spring’ from the page by using a piece of concertinaed card behind him, all by herself (sorry, I forgot to take a picture!). So we had a short bike ride to the post office and back and afterwards they made up another Spanish game!

20141209_124933

On Wednesday, J was playing YouTube videos of Nat King Cole and explaining to the girls how badly he would have been treated because of his skin colour. It’s always odd talking about racism and sexism or any ‘ism’ with the girls because they are quite naturally puzzled by people’s behaviour when it is so nonsensical! M made the link back to Nelson Mandela who J had talked about when he died recently.

It was the dreaded bath day today. D loves her baths and will spend hours in it just making up stories and playing with the water (in fact, I have to schedule it in to the day so I’m not forced to get her out before she’s ready); M on the other had hates it. Not the actual bath/shower, but the getting in and out. It is always a miserable time for her. I’ve noticed a lot of extra sensitivities creeping in to her life lately, and the coldness she feels before and after the bath is one of them. I made a decision that day to let her control her bath-times from now on. She is a little unsure about this as she knows she doesn’t want to be smelly but she also hates baths and showers so we’ll see what happens.

The girls’ Aunt Sh picked them up later in the day to take them to a Santa show at Wimbledon theatre. She took them last year and they adored it so she decided to take them again this year (she always takes them to the theatre rather than buys presents). They still loved it and were very pleased to be given colouring books so sat and coloured when they got home.

20141210_180618

Thursday and Friday were both very similar (I had planned to meet an HE friend at Wimbledon Common on Friday but the early morning rain put me off and her car was in the garage so we cancelled) in that there was LOADS of Spanish going on and lots and lots of writing being done by M. She baked some lovely cakes and wrote the recipe down in a book and she also began a Spanish Dictionary!!! D has been helping her by telling her the words she doesn’t know and yelling from the sofa when a new word comes up in Dora.

The only other thing of note that has been happening this week is the girls learning all about mating and instinct from the bunnies… from Morris in particular…

20141210_110112

Storytelling & Lego

There’s been a whole lot of creativity going on this week and it feels like a few sparks have been ignited which is always lovely to see!

We had a fairly busy weekend, with a family lunch out for J’s parent’s 60th wedding anniversary on the Saturday, and then two play-dates on the Sunday.

As the week has continued, there has been noticeably less telly on D’s part and much more creativity going on.  On Monday there was a lot of Lego building, then some painting and then D made a ‘story chair’ and told us a story in it (and then I had to have a go too).

20141201_114424 20141203_134557 20141203_134920

Then we were off to pottery in the afternoon.  It was the last session of the term, and the last one for D entirely, unless she decides to return.  As usual, we had our interesting chats in the car: today I had the news on and I felt myself tensing up as there was an item about a man being imprisoned for child abuse – strangely though, neither of the girls commented on this!  M was more interested in the following item about hospital cancer wards, and we had a good conversation about cancer and what the different wards might be in hospitals and why they’re separated.

That evening, J was home and watching Wild Weather with Richard Hammond.  D was already asleep and M sidled in with nothing to do so we all ended up watching it together.  I was surprised to find that M was really interested by it and she asked some really intelligent questions which showed she understood what she was watching and had some knowledge of how vortexes work already.

A spark was lit again the following day when we went to the Art of the Brick exhibition in east London.  At the start, we watched a really inspirational interview with the artist and M was glued: we sat through it twice.  It was almost like he was speaking to M: all about how you can make your own art with anything and it all it takes is one small brick to start.  We were all fascinated by the sculptures and reproductions: M in particular was asking what each piece was called, what it was about, what it meant etc etc and even doing her own interpretations.  It was really heart warming to see.  I urge you to go if you have the chance!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It was a very long journey for the sausages to cope with and they did amazingly well with two train rides and a very cold walk.  They were understandably pooped on the train home so I read A Christmas Carol to them (an Usborne Young Readers edition).  Usually D would have been too scared to listen but they were both really interested by Scrooge and why he would love money so much, why nobody was sorry he was dead and D was trying to get her head around a future that may not happen.

Of course, the Lego came out when we got home!  The girls’ favourite sculpture was the ‘Yes Pencil’ so we set about making our own.  I made the pencil, while M did the ‘paper’ and letters. 🙂

20141203_134652

M has also been working on a the story of her Christmas play, and has finished one of her presents!  She copied a holly sprig we found on the street outside our house.  All I did was help with bending the leaves a little to shape them.  She also used the hot glue gun on her own for the first time!

20141204_151142

 

We also watched a very very VERY cute video about orphaned baby bats, and another on making honey.  D said she would like to be a bee-keeper AND a scientist AND a singer when she grows up. 🙂  She drew these pictures this week:

20141203_134814 20141203_134831

 

We also had a preview of D’s Christmas play.  This is one of her lost boys (they’re wearing animal onesies in the Return to Neverland film, hence the strange outfit on the puppet!)

20141204_110343

 

We also got our Christmas delivery of Aquila this week and funnily enough it was all about story telling!  And funnily enough, D wasn’t interested in listening!  But M listened to how story telling was important in ancient times (of course, she had to check whether this was before I was born…) and all about the life of Hans Christian Andersen. However, she did stomp off because she didn’t get 100% on the Christmas quiz.  At which point D came wandering in and was chuffed to find she could answer the crossword questions!

And finally, today we had to go to the vets to give the bunnies their first vaccinations. The girls were full of sympathy for what the bunnies had to go through and the process of just being at the vets was an education in itself: looking at the clock with Roman numerals to see how long til our appointment; asking about vaccinations; seeing a vaccination being injected; what the bunnies might be feeling etc etc.

And now I can still hear them playing upstairs and it’s 10.30!  So I’m off now to be a kill-joy…

 

 

A Week in the Life of a Home Educating Family: Monday

This blog is generally very ‘warts and all’ as I find it helps me to process the ups and downs if I write it down.  It’s also good for me to look back on old posts and see how far we’ve progressed in de-schooling.  But, lately I haven’t been posting very detailed posts because I just haven’t had the time and it can also start to feel quite repetitive.

Recently, I read  Navigating By Joy’s ‘Week in the Life of a British Homeschooling Family’ where Lucinda journalled her family’s day for 5 days.  I loved reading the details of their day to day lives, especially as it wasn’t glossed over!  So I thought I would have a go at doing the same myself…

I’ve held off doing this for a while because each week something non-typical has been going on (guests, illness, visits to my parents’, etc) but I’ve come to realise that there will never be a typical week. or a ‘perfect’ one.  So without further ado, here is Monday’s post…

7.30am

I wake up late with D and we come downstairs and chat to our new bunnies while I put the kettle on.  We got them a few days ago and while they’re still quite shy, their personalities are already shining through: Morris (a buck, the lighter one) is into everything, nibbling things and is very inquisitive – he hates being picked up and held on a lap; while Dusty (a doe) is much more reserved and cautious but is quite happy to be on M’s lap for a stroke.

20141124_093248

D then wants to do the World Map jigsaw but we get diverted when she asks what the seven seas are (turns out it’s just an ancient term that is no longer relevant) and then where poo is before it gets to your bowel.  She’s a big Googler is D, the other day she asked to Google what snot bubbles feel like…  D played on the Tiny Bop Human Body app for a while: giggling every time she made the body burp or trump.

8.30am

M comes downstairs and immediately wants to get the bunnies out, so we do.  I clean out the cage while they hop about on the kitchen floor.  Meanwhile, D watches Dora the Explorer on Netflix.  It’s a little more babyish (and perhaps even more irritating?!) than Go Diego Go but she’s still learning lots from it.

9.30am

M then begins setting out our new Monopoly board, but I need to get them out of their pyjamas early today (not early by most people’s standards!).  It takes a lot of encouragement to get them dressed but I have errands to run so they don’t have a lot of choice.  It takes so long to get dressed that we then need snacks (and a coffee) before setting off.

11.30am

We go out to post some parcels at the Post Office (cue M asking why coins don’t stay shiny), then onto Tesco’s (fun at the checkout beeping the the barcodes through) and then onto a pet shop to get some supplies for the bunnies.  They’ve both had enough of shops at this point so I quickly choose what we need and we head home.

1.30pm

We’re home but we only have half an hour to have some lunch and get out of the house again to drive to pottery.  It takes us half an hour to drive there and on the way we listen to an audio book (Holly the Christmas Fairy) and discuss whether the girls want to continue pottery after Christmas.  M decides that she would like to carry on, whereas D would like to just pop in occasionally (not really doable at £70 a term!) so I suggest she has a rest from it for a term and see if she wants to start again at Easter, which she is happy to do.  They both run in to pottery and I sit in the car for an hour and catch up with the HE groups on Facebook.

3.30pm

On the way home, M is a bit out of sorts (this is not unusual after social outings) and it turns out that she has a sore throat.  We’re all quite quiet in the car but we do discuss whether it would be a good idea to start a project together in the new year – I tell them that I miss learning something altogether around the table and M said that she does too so we may start a France lapbook soon.

4.30pm

When we get home, both girls sit under blankets on the sofa and watch new episodes of Peter Rabbit while munching on snacks.  I close the curtains and put the Christmas lights on and it feels very cosy and calm.  M is feeling too poorly to play with the bunnies so I let them hop around the kitchen while I clean and make dinner.  Morris is over the moon to be out and does little leaps of joy which are very cute!

7.30pm

M slopes into the kitchen looking poorly but wanting something to do (she is a definite night-owl and she pretty much ‘wakes up’ at 7pm every day) so we play Monopoly until bedtime.  I’m absolutely amazed that I manage to explain the rules to M without her getting angry. 🙂

8pm

We go upstairs, the girls get changed and I read a Rainbow Magic book to D then Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire to M.

9pm

I go downstairs leaving D watching Dora on the iPad and M snuggling down and looking quite poorly.

11pm

After doing a bit of emailing and online Christmas shopping, I’m exhausted (J has beaten me to it and is already asleep) and I’m going to bed.  I come up to find the bedroom light on and M is fast asleep looking very hot and flushed.  D has obviously fallen asleep while watching Dora as it’s still playing on the iPad.  I remove the iPad off the bed and crawl in between them both.

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!

20141101_125411

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.

20141104_123322

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.

20141104_130535

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).

20141104_142729

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… 😀

SONY DSC