Wednesday, 14 October 2009

A crafty week - 5th october

After last week's fun with Betsy, this week started rather wobbly too. My turn this time - I had a bit of a cold and was miserable with it. I cancelled my rearranged date with the home edder I should have met last Monday. Unsurprisingly she isn't returning my emails - I think I've been written off as unreliable. I will contact her again though, and see if I can persuade her to give me another go!

We went off to the library again - my knee jerk reaction when I have no plans and no energy to make one. It's a 10 minute walk and has got me out of a hole so many times.

The day improved. I printed off some mazes for Freddie to do, and made them more challenging this time as he really is good at them.
Inspired by Cbeebies, Freddie asked if he could make a raincatcher (in fact, he asked last week, and said that he wanted to do it after 4 sleeps. So that's what we did!). He put glitter glue on the bottle, and marked (sort-of) centimetres on the wooden spoon. He gave the spoon and lovely smiley face, and finished it off with googly eyes and feathers for hair.Once the glitter glue has dried we'll find a place for it in the garden.

He had so enjoyed sticking that we carried on, making Naughty Grandad (my dad) a birthday card.
Cue lots of glue and bobbles.

On Tuesday we went to the High Wycombe HE group for the first time. They meet in a hall in the best place for kids - next to a large playing field, a playground and some woods. I would have liked to have chatted more with some parents but as soon as the kids realised there was a playground that was it. We'll definately go again. We were the youngest by miles but I think we might get quite a lot from it.

Wednesday was a relief - Rob was off having worked the weekend before. We went to Waddesdon, a favourite Fielding family destination.

The kids found a big puddle to play in.

We saw some beautiful autumn colours. The last couple of years have been spectacular, and this year is pretty good too.

We walked through the 'jungle' - a short path planted up with lots of enormous tree ferns - and spotted snakes and a tiger hiding in the bushes.
The kids ran/cycled wildly down the hill, over and over again.

We stopped for a *delicious* piece of cake - chocolate and almond, it's so good - and a cuppa, before going to the woodland playground. We virtually had the place to ourselves, which is delightful after the last few visits over the summer.

Then we waited for the land train to take us back up the hill, to the car and home for lunch.

In the afternoon Freddie helped Rob to paint the bench in the front garden. It's something of a family heirloom, having belonged to Rob's mum's parents for a number of years.

Freddie had his swimming lesson later. Rob took him for the first time in a while and was impressed with how well he's doing.

On Friday we saw Sarah, Ben and Sam again. We had a very enjoyable afternoon at their house, and freddie had his first try on a Wii. He didn't seem that bothered luckily, so I don't think he'll be pestering us for one just yet...sighs of relief all round!

And hurrah - we are finally up to date :-)

Sunny days - week of 28th September

The week started quite badly. Betsy was in a *serious*grump. Very little would placate her. Mum and I took the kids to Wendover Woods on Sunday, thinking that getting her out might help her shake it off but she just screamed and screamed. She never did that even as a baby.

She didn't sleep well on Sunday night (and so neither did Rob and I). I cancelled a playdate with a home edder I hadn't met yet, and we just toodled up to the library and did some errands in town.


Betsy was still feeling very sorry for herself, but luckily her big brother was on hand with a hug.

Freddie got the short straw with Betsy demanding so much attention, but he did draw an excellent picture of an Allosaurus on the chalk board. And very pleased he was too!

On Tuesday and Wednesday Betsy was still very out of sorts. We risked another trip to the woods on Wednesday, as much for my sanity as for the kids. This time it was Ashridge, and we spent a truly wonderful hour climbing felled trees, kicking through leaves, sitting in houses made of sticks and enjoying the beautiful last-day-of-September sunshine.
One of Freddie's ex-preschool friends came round to play on Thursday afternoon. It was lovely to catch up with her mum, who I miss chatting to when waiting for the kids. On Friday we met another friend who is now in reception, at Ashridge (again!). Another romp through the woods in the sunshine, and chocolate amongst the trees....

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Catching up #2 - week of 21st September

Rob was off on Monday so I left him with the kids and went shopping in Hemel. Finally got a saute pan (20% voucher + 20% sale + gift card = £5 to pay. Woo hoo!).

Later Freddie and I went to town to pick a few bits up from the charity shop for the (newly organised) dressing up box. This was fab:
  • we went to the cafe
  • we got a straw hat
  • we got a chiffon scarf that doubles as a cape
  • it was just me and the boy
Freddie loved the chiffon scarf and it led to lots of dressing up fun..

We had an open house coffee morning the next day. Freddie and I had made some chocolate and banana muffins, which turned out really well. I helped him with the weighing, and he did the stirring. Two families came, Lucy and her 9 year old, and Claire with her daughters (4 and 2 ) and her nearly due bump. It was lovely to chat to some local(ish) people.

We pottered around at the garden centre the following day. I wanted to make Duncan a pot of bulbs for his birthday, and get some bulbs for forcing for Christmas. While we were there I saw a competition for children to grow some tulip bulbs - you get 3 free ones to plant and bring along next May. Freddie will be planting them in apot in the next couple of weeks. You have to keep a diary, sdo I'll see if he wants to take some photos of the planting, and then over the winter as he checks and waters the pot. What a cool idea! We'll have to keep a look out for other bits and bobs like that, as they seem to offer quite a few activities for kids.

We went to Joelle's for a science experiment day at the end of the week. She's so amazingly organised -she'd set up so many activities to try out. Freddie got involved in lots of them - Melody's Montessori sensory stuff, floating and sinking games, making shakers, paper areoplanes, torches and reflections, cornflour gloop (my favourite - I loved this!), and - Freddie's all time best thing ever - the baking soda volcano. Brilliant!

Whoops - some catching up - week of 14th September

I've let this slip a little, trying to do crafting in the evening for the craft fair on the 31st October. hopefully my diary will help me remember what we've been up to!

I've been taking a few photos to make this a more interesting read. With a bit of luck I'll be able to presuade Rob to show me how to upload them....

This week was our meeting new people week. It started well, making the aquaintance of Sarah and her two boys aged 4.5. We arranged to meet at Wendover Woods. The boys arrived with pirate telescopes, which impressed Freddie no end. Sarah and I chatted while the boys (and Betsy) got to know each other. Wonderful - Freddie clicked with them and we had a lovely time.

Later that week was the Chesham Not Back To School Picnic. Luckily it didn't rain and we met lots of new people - as well as seeing Sarah, Ben and Sam again (to Freddie's delight). Melody alos turned up with her boys, and we saw Surinder. I chatted with Claire, who'll be coming to my coffee/tea morning next week. We had a good time and blew some bubbles - we took along the bubble machine too for good measure.

Our other activities that week included the playground, playing board games, making pizzas (not eaten by Freddie of course, that would go against his cheese toastie diet), Joelle's for fun with Archie, Experience Education group and swimming.

We packed the kids off to mum's at the weekend so we could sort out the toy storage and the loft. Rock and roll.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Enjoying early Autumn days

We were busy bees last week, and covered lots of 'study areas'!

The 4 of us went to Ivinghoe Beacon, took biscuits and a flask, ran around a bit, rolled down the hill (well, I sat that out but Rob did his duty!) and enjoyed the air. Later we popped to the library and picked up loads of books on planes, dinosaurs and Meg and Mog. Freddie and I played a couple of games of dominos. A lovely relaxed day.

Carrie and Soli came over the next day so we took them to Wendover Woods for a play and picnic. It was a gorgeous September day, really warm and sunny.

Freddie and Rob spent a couple of hours at the allotment on Wednesday, digging up weeds and pruning raspberry canes. they also went scrumping for apples but had no luck! Freddie made up an odd-one-out game with his dinosaurs, and the kids played with playdoh for a while, making diono foot prints and dinner for everyone. Freddie and I did some baking and made trail mix bars. Really tasty.

As Granny's birthday was coming up we made her a card. Basically it was a glitter and glue fest, with a few stickers for good measure. Freddie also drew an allosaurus inside. He's not interested yet in signing his name, but the fact he's drawing in cards rather than doing random scribbles is a big change.

We met up with Rachel and Nicola at Ashridge. Freddie cycled and Betsy pushed her buggy, but predictibly I ended up carrying Betsy and her buggy, and trying to persuade Freddie to keep going on the bike! Thank goodness we had trail mix and other treats to help them along.

Friday was very busy. Rob and Betsy had a day together and Freddie and I went to the Natural History Museum. We met up with ourExperience Education friends to look at the mini beasts gallery and the butterfly exhibition. Fred was great on the train, even though it's a pretty long journey. After the exhibition he wanted to go to the Science Museum to the waterplay bit in the basement, then we got the train home. We were knackered, but after tea we all jumped in the car and drove to Rob's folks for the weekend. The kids had a good time as always.

This week is my meeting new home ed people week! Hope we enjoy it....

Friday, 4 September 2009

'Reception' year starts

The summer holidays are at an end, and Freddie would have started in reception yesterday or today. We have carried on as normal, and it feels a little odd but we're all very happy!

We had a lovely week camping in Dorset last week, on a farm with hay bales, camp fires and so much space for the kids to run. We walked along the south coast path into Weymouth, met up with Kate and Tom (and baby Mo) in Glastonbury, went on a trip to Brownsea Island, poodled around the Sea Life Centre avoiding the rain showers, and got stuck in awful traffic on the way to Charmouth beach (but was worth it).

I'm going to try and keep rough track of what we get up to (in 'term time' at any rate) as a weekly log. It won't make fascinating reading but hopefully will help if (when) I have to produce evidence of learning activities.

So this week's main fun has included:

- playgroup
- lots of dinosaurs
- playing with the teepee
- lots of reading (volcanoes, dinosaurs, farms)
- mazes on the wipeaway cards
- cars making traffic jams etc
- shopping for food and essentials
- the Experience Education meeting (socialising with other home ed kids)
- Play day at Emma's
- Playing school (Freddie as 'school man' and me as the children. I have to draw what he asks and he marks me. I find this game really interesting as it's totally led by him but he hasn't really seen anything like this in action, so I'm not sure where he's picked it up from).
- Peeling carrots for tea
- Afternoon with some similar aged home ed kids, playing in the garden and making up games about an alien monster (naturally)

Thursday, 16 July 2009

The week Grandad came to visit

I've finally written to our MP about the Badman review. I'll put it in another post, with a copy of the reply if I get one.

Freddie said the most amazing thing the other day. His water went down the wrong way. Once he'd got over it and had another sip, he said that his tiny points had changed. What an interesting (and pretty accurate) way to look at it.

We've had a great week so far. A few activities and themes have been recurrant:

- mazes. Goodness Freddie has got through dozens and dozens! A whole book, plus 20 or so I printed off from a 'maze maker' (found that gem in the muddlepuddle yahoo group).

- Imaginative play. The most frequent have been Robot and Roboty the dogs. They've come in the car with us, gone to bed with Freddie, need feeding, walking etc. Another favourite has been going on holiday or going to work, complete with Grandad's pull-along overnight bag. Lots of pirates - fighting, chasing other pirates, finding treasure.

- TV. *yawn* Tom and Jerry, Tom and Jerry, Tom and Jerry.

The highlight has been a visit from Grandad. We picked him up from Milton Keynes on Wednesday. Freddie and Betsy were so delighted, it was very sweet. Freddie insisted that Gerry sit next to him in the back of the car (thus making me taxi driver) and pointed out every car, van and truck on the road. He also pointed out that things far away were very very small. Hmm, the beginnings of a conversation about perspective!

We'll be taking Gerry back to MK train station tomorrow, the plan being to go into the station and wave him off, and have a look around at the trains.

We've had a few other bits and pieces to do. We went to Thame to the play centre there, and on the way home got stuck behind a huge combine harvester trundeling along the road. We noticed that the big bit normally at the front was being towed behind. We checked out youtube when we got back, looking at combines in action, then stumbled across footage of a combine and field on fire, with a fire engine coming along to put the fire out. Cool!

It was the last swimming lesson before the summer break. I saw that some HE families meet up at Chesham open air pool on Monday afternoons. What a lovely thing to do. I've emailed asking if my kids are a bit young, but I hope some others are there with little ones. I think we'd love to go.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Start of the summer holidays

Freddie had his leavers party last Friday. He didn't really get it - kept asking why nursery was ending. I think if he was going to school in September it would all make much more sense to him. He's not unduly concerned, it was just not terribly straight forward!

Last week we went to meet a long-standing home ed family a few miles from where we live. Freddie loved it, not least because they had a trapeze in the living room and chickens living under the trampoline in the garden. It was great to meet them and see what the future could hold, as I do feel like I'm teetering on the edge of something I don't quite understand (but rather like the look of).

Rob came back from work with news that redundancy is a possibility. This is not good news, for him, for us or for the home ed plan. I'm half thinking I may need to work weekends.

But for now here I am - here we are - at the beginning of the journey. When I asked the home edder I met last week what her advice might be to a newbie, she said don't panic (which I sort of am) and don't do much at all while the kids are young. That fits with how I am feeling, so for now I won't be getting the phonics out, or making lapbooks, or setting targets. I will be taking the kids to maize mazes, and NT gardens, and museums, and the allotment, and to see friends. And we'll see what we learn on the way.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Lots of paper!

Despite an early morning - Freddie getting me out of bed at 6.30am ( I do miss those mornings when he woke up at 8 or even later!) - we've had a pretty good day. A few meltdowm moments but I handled them a bit better than I have been of late.

He spent quite a long time drawing shapes and cutting them out. I drew a square and triangle for him but he did the others by himself. Betsy joined in and sat for 15 minutes looking at some shapes I did for her and 'naming' them, even when I went upstairs. Result!

They also made cakes with scrunched up paper, mixing bowls and spoons. Again they both got involved with minimal input from me.

Later in the afternoon Freddie spent another big chunk of time being a postman and posting some paper and old letters into the washing basket.

Another current theme is pretending to be a little dog. He spends ages on this - he is a dog looking after lots of little dogs, I am a vet or the dog's daddy, I am a farmer feeding the dogs etc etc. Today he was a dog when we were at the playground, pushing his little dogs on the swing and scampering around on hands and knees.

In between we've been to the shops (almost a daily event as I always seem to run out of something), he's had a swimming lesson, played a game of dominos and played the Billie Goats Gruff (complete with bridge and troll thanks to Rob!).

I even managed to clean the living room. Goodness!

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Last week of preschool...

Freddie has 3 more sessions before the summer break. I'm pleased it's finally come around so I can get into the swing of things and get on with it rather than thinking about what on earth I'm going to do.

I've started writing activity ideas in my diary each week for when I'm out of inspiration and need to come up with something - hopefully this will help me out of the holes I'll encounter!

Saturday, 7 March 2009


Today I took the admissions reply slip to County Hall, turning down the offer of the reception place. Where it asked what school Freddie will be attending I wrote 'is being home educated'.

I kind of feel like I've just stepped off the edge of a cliff. Rob on the other hand is carrying on like it's no big deal! Maybe it isn't, and I should take a leaf out of his book.

Friday, 6 March 2009

What Freddie did today

Only time for a quick list today...
  • Made a Duplo robot without any help (the first time he has done this).
  • Went to preschool.
  • Watched a bit of TV.
  • Did some 'maths' at lunchtime - how many sandwiches did you start with? How many have you eaten? How many are left?
  • Watched a squirrel with a nut out the window.
  • Did marble run.
  • Played with the Maisie Game - fine motor skills throwing dice and spinning spinner, taking turns, counting spaces, learning rules of the game.
  • Set up and played a dinosaur battle.
  • Playing Pingu games on the computer using the mouse and the arrow keys.
  • Experimented with what floats and sinks at bath time. Did this for quite a long time.
When I write it all out like this I can see how this might work.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Are we really going to do this?

Well, Rob is going to hate this. He says I spend to much time tapping away already but I think I'm going to need a way to record what I'm doing and how it's going.

We have 2 children - Freddie 4 in June and Betsy 17 months (nearly). We have been given a place for Fred at the local infant school but I have the heebiejeebies. The school looks great but we live in a grammar school county = stress stress stress. The 11+, private tutors, wholesale panic about the underperforming comprehensive. No thanks.

So I am about to return the school form turning down the offer. And am quite scared about what that means!