Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I never thought I'd manage to grow anything at all; all my pre-child attempts ended in brown, crispy failure with moldy compost at the base. But so far we're doing quite well:

These are the tomatoes we planted a while ago; they are growing all the time! We had a go at separating one pot into three little pots, which might have worked better without the children's help, but what's the point of that? You can also see the edge of the shop-bought chives and my basil, which seems to be growing from seed just like the seed-packet said it would.

This is the avocado we started from seed last year sometime. We thought it had died, over the winter, but moved it from the dark kitchen windowsill to the front room where everything else is, and it's putting forth new growth just as though it didn't intend to crumble. The hardest part is not overwatering it, now, I think.

And these are outside - they are probably the radishes Linnea planted, but I don't know for sure, because I've never grown radishes that I can remember.

I'm pretty sure these are hyacinths. We didn't plant them, but they have obligingly come up anyway, and make us believe it might be Spring. Maybe.

And I will never get the hang of Blogger's image stuff, but I will also never get the motivation to figure out a useful alternative. I kind of miss having our own server and writing my own blogging software. But we don't have that kind of free time any more...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

OK, I listened to the radio this morning, I couldn't help it.

Tip for Graham Badman: Basic sums:

Of the entire UK population, 0.2% of children are known to Social Services.

Within that entire UK population, there are all the Elective Home Educating families, of whom 50% are known to the authorities as Elective Home Educating Families and 50% are not known.

Of the 50% of EHE children who are known to the authorities, 0.4% are known to Social Services.

Of the 50% of EHE children who are NOT known to the authorities, none are known to Social Services (because any who ARE known to Social Services are automatically added to the list of children known to the authorities, ie the first group of 50%).

Therefore, of the entire population of EHE children, 0.2% are known to Social Services, just like everyone else.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Making Art

Linnea wanted a photo taken of this. It is apparently Jay from the Green Balloon Club, with spiky hair and glasses. I hope the poor lad never finds out.
This is Linnea's pre-dinner artwork; tortilla with cucumber rain, sweetcorn sunshine, ginormous butterfly and a sailing boat.
And this is a house with enclosed garden, made with the new Geomag stuff, including an aerial so that the house can connect to the wireless internet.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Today started with the usual post-weekend clearout. The housework took about three hours, all told. Then the children did some painting and I had some tea. And then we did some sums, and started listening to Peter and the Wolf until it got too scary, and now they're dancing to various classical CDs, apparently doing "ballet."

Oh, and they ate a lot of chives, because the pot is on the table they use for sums and things.

The trouble is, I've forgotten what else they've done. Some CBeebies website stuff. Some drawing and colouring. Paint-mixing. Tidying up and bedmaking. Making stuff from cardboard boxes.

Is there a way to remember everything they do in a day? Assuming I have a way of figuring out WHAT they are doing? Fairly often at least one of them is doing something I don't know about.

Though sometimes I find out later, I suppose. With squidge.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Reading progress

Linnea read something today she found so funny she couldn't stop laughing. Peter and Jane again; "Here you are, Jane. This is some water for you."

It really needs an illustration to give the full effect. For the first time, Peter and Jane show some normal human traits. Yay.

(Halfway through book 2a, which we have read one word at a time previously, but apparently not read for content).

Emer is starting to think about learning to read and write. She asks me to spell things and tries to write them down, but needs some reminders of some of the letters. I need to find the camera and its cable so I can photograph the post-it note on which she wrote my name today (so that I can have a tick-chart; unlike Linnea, Emer ADORES tick charts and wants one for every event in her life. This is going to make my life so much easier; hurrah for bribery and the reward system!).

They need to get over their love of anatomy, though, because they're frightening other children by forcibly showing them books with lots of diagrams of internal organs and skellingtons and the nervous system and so on. Uhoh.

And Emer is a little confused about the unborn baby's relationship with food. It prevents me from eating as much as I used to at a sitting, so perhaps the baby is feeding me through the special tube in its bellybutton? I assume she will eventually accept that this is not actually true, but I couldn't persuade her today.

Friday, March 05, 2010

But what about me?!

My children simply love being at home. They are often too busy to go out. In fact, their social lives are pretty lively - they seem to see different groups of children three or four times a week - so I can kind of see their point.

But actually, I'd rather go out a bit more than we do, for my own amusement. If only they enjoyed being DRESSED a bit more. At the moment they can stymie me by just stripping off and refusing to get dressed again; in summer I could walk out the front door anyway, but in this weather it's not really plausible!

Roll on Spring.

(The tomato sprouts are up to an INCH high now, I'm shocked. The children are kind of pleased their plants are higher than my plants. But they don't want to put shoes on and check outside to see how the radishes are doing).

And I'm also thrilled that Emer has decided she wants to learn to read. I have no idea whether she IS learning to read, or just to recite, but she's enjoying whatever it is she's doing, and I doubt it's harming her. It's very cute and a lot of fun.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Green fingers, black fingernails

My basil, growing from seed. I never had potplants growing up - we didn't live in that kind of household - and my record with them since has been fairly uniformly poor. I once got a spiderplant as a gift and forgot about it; weeks later I found it still sitting in its plastic carrier bag stuffed under a bookcase, making little spiderplant babies. I potted it up and it promptly keeled over and died. Then we moved to a house with a garden and I accidentally eradicated the mint. I kept the strawberries going a bit longer - I like strawberries - but they're pretty much gone now too.

So this year we bought some seeds at 3 packs for a £1. I got Basil, Emer got Tomato, and Linnea got Radish. The day I remembered where the plant pots and compost were, we had lost the pack of radish seeds, so they both planted tomatoes. The larger pot is Linnea's because Emer really liked the little pot. This is how sprouted they were nine days after planting, that is, yesterday.
And this is Emer's pot, which was somewhat stirred during the planting phase, which may or may not have an effect. Same day, though.
My basil ten whole days after planting. I'm pretty excited - it didn't die in the night!
Emer's tomato is about 3mm longer than it was yesterday but still very difficult to get a photo of. There might be another seed thinking about growing, too.
And Linnea's tomatoes are curling up in little sprouts very nicely! Emer was delighted by the little springs and wanted to touch them...
So I warned her to be gentle, and she touched one sprout in each pot very carefully. In this you can also see the pot of supermarket basil I have failed to kill over more than two months, and the little aloe vera we were given on Friday at ERAPA and have still not slaughtered. Part of this involves banning the children from watering anything unsupervised ever, but I can live with that.
I do really think that living with potplants and deliberately growing things hugely enriches people's lives, but I don't know how well I'm going to do at it. I don't enjoy the gardening parts at all, just the living with growing things parts - I'd be almost as happy (though less smug) if someone else had kept my basil alive all this time, for example.

We shall see. The children do seem to enjoy the dirt and sowing parts.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Clutter, chaos, binning and binding

We have been trying, for, um, easily eight years, to declutter our small, overcrowded house. We're having a measure of success, too. But I think I accidentally got rid of our ringbinder mountain and possibly also the plastic pockets lake, and now I want them so that I can file the kids' work away in case I'm ever called on to have some.

This is relevant today because they both drew lovely diagrams on a little human figure outline I got ages ago when one of them wanted to draw clothing. Emer did a mouth, a line to show where food goes, a tummy, and a HUGE STRIPE to indicate ENORMOUS RAPID GROWTH, which is what happens when you eat food, you see. Possibly this is only cute if you are her mother, I dunno. Linnea did nose, and lungs. Not sure why. Anyway, there's those, and the amazing map Linnea did a while ago as part of her passport, and also some completed maths worksheets (though Linnea has also recently taken to doing them in her exercise book (I always want to say copybook) and also she ticks the answers off herself, no longer needing me to do that bit). So there's a little stack of Demonstrable Learning Stuff type stuff and if I don't put it somewhere I'll lose it.

Perhaps I should go into the attic and dig around up there, see what I find.

Also, the crank-operated pencil sharpener works brilliantly as far as the children are concerned, and if we could only stop smashing the sellotape dispenser that would too. It's really, really heavy, but the axle is prone to breaking. Oh - and hole punches are addictive. I had forgotten that, but of course I remember now... Not as addictive as the feeling of cutting one's own hair with nailscissors, though, as far as I recall. The scissors are still mainly out of unsupervised reach.

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