Saturday, September 18, 2010

Mustn't overdo it

I am so so tired.

Good news though - we have exchanged our table like this (which we bought off Ebay ages ago) for a table like this, which has drawers and is a better shape for our purposes. I'm very pleased.

This week has been hectic. Monday was, um, something, and then swimming. Tuesday was vaccinations and shoe-shopping. Wednesday we stayed at home. Thursday was ice-skating and the library. And on Friday we had visitors in the morning and ERAPA in the afternoon and Girls' Brigade in the evening.

So today I was too tired to go to my meeting for the True Food Co-Op. Instead, they are going to do a supermarket-style delivery for me, but without the charge. I love them.

But that all meant I was here at home when our friend who didn't want drawers but did want chairs arrived to swap his butterfly table for ours. Now we can put stuff in the drawers, like the mini globe and the huge sellotape dispenser and a cup of pens and stuff. I'm sure which stuff should go there will gradually become clear.

And next week we're a bit busy again. Oh well. Perhaps busy is the way I secretly like it.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Busy again

We spent yesterday at home doing nothing, so of course we did square numbers (Linnea made a book called SQUARE with square numbers on every page, because I found some graph paper) and were highly amused by the notion of square roots. Also, Linnea got up first and did some worksheets I'd left out for her, and she proved and demonstrated that she could read a fair chunk of the instructions. And while I was in bed feeding the baby, she brought the middle girl breakfast in bed - toast and a drink - because it was vaccination day on Tuesday and the victim was still somewhat sorry for herself (justifiably, I feel).

Today I saw Linnea doing some more multiplication and division and she wrote all the numbers I saw backwards, just as she has been doing with letters. I have no idea why. Apparently it's a fairly common phase, and I was still able to read them, so it shouldn't be a real problem. I've shown her how to draw a bed to sort b from d.

We have hardly been doing the curriculum stuff from Five in a Row at all, but we are reading the book. We're a bit nonlinear about the whole thing.

Today we also went ice-skating, and Linnea had a 15-minute lesson. There isn't really a substitute for time on the ice, so we'll be going again, and I expect they'll both get their balance relatively soon. I must be careful not to overdo it with my hips, though since skating requires at least reasonable posture if I don't want to fall over completely it should be relatively ok, I think. Emer wore teeny weeny skates and did very little even standing on the ice, let alone skating, but she had a good time. Next time, I hope to bring a better picnic, as this sort of thing is much better if one isn't hungry or thirsty.

On the trains out and home she started making a book about a UfO, with illustrations.

And in the end we went to the library, where I learned that my baby is growing 75g/day on average and Linnea has to have her book physically removed from her grasp while walking home because she tries to read and walk at the same time. She can read the basics in a QPootle5 book, it seems.

Words like QPootle5, and bladder-monster.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pictures - or possibly evidence

This is a shopping list. It represents Linnea's transition from not reading or writing in public at all to just doing it. I was too busy to write the things I was remembering and I asked her to do it and she did. I can't remember exactly when it was but I think it was August.

Mainly in mirror-writing of a sort, but there you go. Rob was able to read it and buy things and cross them off. (There's a bit I wrote too, when I had a hand free, but I'm sure you can tell which bit that is).

These two are the Storm in the Night oil paintings. We did the exercise pretty much as the curriculum book said to, which we tend not to do. Linnea enjoyed making little rain comets and in particular found it interesting that to make the rain go down she had to make the brushstrokes go up.

I'm not really sure what Emer was doing but she enjoyed exploring the texture, and working with only two colours.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Did we manage it?

Well, no.

On Monday we went to town and got passport photos, a new library card, and the children's feet measured - we have to buy them new shoes but non-urgently, so it can wait until nearer the end of the month. We ate lunch out. In the afternoon I brought everyone to the swimming pool and there were swimming lessons; Emer refused to get in due to some objection to the teacher, but wasn't at all distressed, just cross. This week she has a new swimsuit (apparently 4-year-old girls have to wear swimsuits which cover their nipples; I might argue this another time, but since Emer finds the idea comical rather than annoying it's not a big deal right now on the very personal, apolitical level) and permission to use a swimming noodle, so you never know what might happen. Then we met our visitor and all went home and ate. The visitor read Lentil and we sang the song out of it, and talked about shortcuts a little.

On Tuesday we went to the park for a picnic with friends, recycled the glass, then on to a café, then to the library, where I had the baby weighed and we got a lot of books out. In the afternoon we had friends over to play, but they were so tired from the first day back at school that they watched Kiki's Delivery Service instead. Emer and Rob went to the True Food Co-op in the evening and everyone was somewhat cross that Rob was going away.

On Wednesday we had a visitor; we ate French toast with chocolate spread for lunch, and the visitor read Lentil and we made charcoal from matchsticks and drew with it, and also found a working electric keyboard and picked out the tune of Twinkle Twinkle and Linnea got the beginnings of a grasp of how written music works.

On Thursday we went to a new home ed meetup, using the postcode and Google maps. We walked twice as far as necessary on the way there, but did find a lot of acorns, one of which later transpired (after being given to friend Buttercup) to house a genuine tame maggot. Also, I proved that Emer can walk a mile and a half in the sun in an hour, but doesn't want to. She's four, just barely, so.

When we got home we had icecreams and baths and tidied the garden; it was a lovely lovely afternoon and I was glad to be alive in it, especially during and after my bath with the baby. It turns out I can even wash my hair while in the bath with the baby, so that's a skill I didn't know I had.

On Friday we went to ERAPA, with banana sandwiches and bara brith for our lunch. The children did some clay modelling; Linnea made a lovely thumbpot and Emer made a digging snail. They are drying out in the kitchen now until I can make time to contact and ask for use of a kiln.

Also, Rob came home and we all ate together, and then Linnea and Emer went to Girls' Brigade. I'm kind of surprised Emer is old enough for GB but apparently if one is old enough for school - which she allegedly is - one is old enough for GB. And she did enjoy it. We have to try to get uniforms though, and second-hand uniforms seem tricky to come by; there isn't a system for the organisation to arrange the sale as there was in my secondary school. I shall have to use Ebay and get to know people. Or lobby to have ethically sourced uniforms, of course. They purport to be a Christian organisation, after all...

We didn't do much with Saturday and Sunday because Rob brought a sore throat home from Portugal with him and shared it with me. I have stayed in bed and fed the baby a monstrous amount and he has been cooking meals for the freezer.

So we were busy, this week. Educationally, the most exciting things for me are that Emer started Girls' Brigade and Linnea has been both writing and asking me for spellings of things. She is fairly keen on the idea of illustrating stories and dictating the text to me when she gets tired of writing it herself. I think she's about to crack reading and writing; she has much more confidence now and will admit to having gained information by reading it rather than "I just KNEW."

Monday, September 06, 2010

The first full week in September

We're hoping to do something like this (Lentil is the book for the week, and I never thought I'd be glad to have a harmonica but I see it being used a lot, as the thunder-maker was for Storm in the Night):

Monday: Read Lentil. Go to town, get Astrid's passport photo, renew Linnea's library card, have lunch, take children to swimming lessons, come home, eat, collapse.
Tuesday: Read Lentil. Go to park, recycle glass, have picnic, play. Go to library, take out books. Come home, have friends over to play. My children then have Final Evening with Daddy including trip to the True Food Market.
Wednesday: Wave tearful goodbyes etc. Read Lentil. No other plans, phew.
Thursday: Go to breastfeeding drop-in at library, return books.
Friday: Welcome home and possibly also grandparent visit. First ERAPA of the season, I think. Also R's birthday. First Girls' Brigade of the season too.
Saturday: Community Garden working party in the morning. TFC meeting in the afternoon? Might be next week, must check.
Sunday: Meeting. Nothing else planned.

I hope I have enough coffee.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Not Back To School

This coming week is when most of the children we know are going back to school. We're not, obviously. We are going to a Not Back To School Picnic, on Tuesday morning, in the playground and recreation ground opposite one of the local schools -- not because it's opposite the school, mind you, just because it's local and has parking and is easy to get to on public transport and isn't too far for me to walk (I'm still not very good at walking).

We've been using the Five in a Row curriculum (in our own pick'n'mix way) for two or three weeks now - we interrupted to go to the Discworld Convention, so one book was split over two weeks. Today I mentioned to Linnea that I needed to see what the next book was and what we might do with it, and she was ecstatic. We fished the book out of the pack and she started looking at it, picking out words and examining the pictures. It so happens that it's Lentil, and we have a harmonica, so we shall see what happens there. We might use the electric keyboard to have a look at reading music. And I foresee a lot of making charcoal going on.

Or we might not bother and spend the time riding bikes back and forth outside the house instead. Or make pizza.

The curriculum was bought for Emer, who is a naturally adult-pleasing child, and (as predicted) Linnea is interested because it's optional. If I'd bought it for Linnea she'd have resisted it strenuously, because being required to perform gives her the highest possible grade of heebies and also jeebies, and she is inclined to destroy things rather than admit that she tried to do them well, just in case they're not perfect.

It's one of the reasons I think school might not be the most nurturing or educational environment for her.

Then there's the ravenous appetite for social interaction and the deep deep need for absolute solitude. 6 hours a day in a large group situation would leave her very little energy for her friends, let alone her family.

Emer is school age now - she's four years and two weeks, so if we wanted her to have her year of Reception, the more casual play-based year of school, this is it. But she's not into spending huge amounts of time away from her family, especially her new baby sister, so we're not. ("Not into" in this context means "gets seriously upset by, and takes weeks to recover, and absolutely does not gradually get used to it.") Linnea has been fine with sleepovers with friends and so on since she was 3 years old; Emer is not the same in the slightest.

So we're going to a picnic, with the birthday-present bubble wands and the glass recycling because the bottle bank is in the same park, and then we'll probably go to the library.

"The best thing about home school is you can do it whenever you like and you don't have to have holidays," says Linnea. "And the teacher is your parents so you can tell them what you want to learn."

Friday, September 03, 2010


What Emer drew while I talked about rivers:

What Linnea drew (Linnea is 6, p. 1):

The yellow is the mud which makes the Yangtze River yellow. Apparently the spring is underneath a swamp of it. (And can you guess what the triangles on the left are? they're beaks, because it's a bird's-eye view, and the bird can see its own beak).

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Donwanna, so let's not

They don't want to do The Story About Ping for Homeschool, apparently. They don't mind doing the exercises but don't want to read it again; they've read it a lot because we've had it since before they were born.

So today we talked about how rivers are made, and Linnea drew three birds'-eye views of the process. If I can find the camera I'll post the pictures up. She took great pleasure in writing her name and the page number on each sheet.

Emer drew something too, but she wasn't clear on what it was; they were both drawing while I talked, but that doesn't mean the two were related in any way.

Today we also collaboratively read All in one piece, a Large Family book we've had from the library often and bought from the charity shop recently.

We didn't visit anyone or have visitors; when we went to the library there were several children and adults my children know there, but that was it for social contact. They seemed almost grateful for the quiet day.

And Astrid is learning to suck her hands with ever-increasing effectiveness.

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