Saturday, 28 February 2009

A varied week

This week has been somewhat varied in our activities.

The week began with a funeral and as always with home education, every experience is a learning experience. Not sure that the middle of the service is a good time to explain what the curtains around the coffin are for though. We also had a discussion as to what happened with the coffin, where it went, and how it got to the furnace. We even had to watch the smoke rising from the chimney. D as always thought of something that would never have occurred to me.

From bonfires in the garden, he knew that ashes blew in the wind, and the crematorium being at a top of the hill, is a very windy place. So the question was-"what stops the ashes from blowing away?" So we now know the difference between an open fire and one that is enclosed.

This week D has been busy with his pencils. The first masterpiece was a medieval knight

The next is a Xweetok from Neopets. We received more seeds in the post too. This time it is to participate in the "save our bees" campaign. We are going to start these sunflower seed in pots indoors and transfer them outside later in the year. We are also going to do this with the tomato seeds we bought. D has already picked out the beans he wants to grow.The weather seems to be taking a turn for the worse, but as soon as it brightens again, we need to get outside and tidy up the garden and sort out the pots ready for planting.

J had his survival swimming this week and he has decided he will do Level 2. He now has 3 weeks left on the course.

All the hard work he did Wednesday, didn't stop him swimming for 3 hours on Thursday with D and others from the local home ed group. There were a few extras there this week.

D had Spanish on Thursday morning which seems to be going well. He is using some of the things he is learning at home, which means he has to translate so I know what he is asking. J has also started learning Polish. Soon I will be completely lost.

Yesterday morning, there was a large crowd at ice skating which the boys enjoyed. This was followed by a very interesting tour around Cineworld.

The boys came back with the film times that the staff use to make sure the cinema runs smoothly and a piece of film each. Each 35mm film runs at 24 frames per second. We found out that films are delivered in 20 minute segments which they then have to splice together. This is a very technical operation, the pieces of film are stuck together with sticky tape! We also saw the digital projectors. One of them was showing a 3D film. Sitting at the cinema will never be the same again.

Coming home Thursday, I wasn't feeling well, so D offered to make dinner. He even had a go at making crisps. These weren't bad for a first attempt, but he wants to try them again.

Saturday, 21 February 2009


We had an exciting package arrive in the post yesterday. We received all these goodies from the Potato Council. They have arranged some grow your own activities with primary schools this year and home educators have been able to take advantage too.
We received 2 Rocket seed potatoes, 2 Vales Emerald seed potatoes and bags to grow them in. There was also a water spout to attach to a lemonade bottle to use for watering. As you can see, D has lost no time in making his.

There are instructions for making a rain catcher out of a drinks bottle and a ruler has been supplied to stick to the bottle to measure the amount of rainfall caught.

Planting takes place next month with the harvest in June. D can't wait to see how much in weight these will yield.

All we have to do now is see how to get some compost here. There are some disadvantages to not having your own transport, and the transporting of heavy and bulky goods is one of them!

If anyone wants details the information can be found at

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Better late than never

Generally, during school holidays, D doesn't usually have his Spanish lesson. However, as they have missed so many since Christmas due to the weather and holidays, he had his lesson this week. Before he went he had a revision sheet to do. It is surprising how much he has picked up in a short period of time. They are doing food at the moment, and the combination of items that he is asking if I want, needs a good imagination to want to say yes. Coffee and snails isn't my idea of a treat.

I have made sure he has learned the most important question, "do you want tea?" and I know the answer. Just waiting for him to ask me at home so I can send him into the kitchen to make me a cup.

After months of freezing in the park, I finally found a cafe in the village. It was a great pleasure to be sat inside in the warm , enjoying a mug of tea waiting for the lesson to end. Now J and I will be happy whatever the weather is on a Wednesday morning.

J has spent a couple of days on the sofa not feeling well. He's been able to enjoy it in peace as D has been out.

This morning I took him to an event organised at Sheffield Galleries. It was called Trendy Tudors. The children looked at photos of clothes worn by the Tudors and then went to have a look at the Treasures exhibition at some work done by local children. This was looking at jewelry that they had made. Then it was back into the learning room to make their own. This is the little haul that D came home with. We are going to get some "jewels" for him to finish decorating the hat.

While they were in the exhibition, they also had the opportunity to try on some clothes. D managed to get a complete suit on with matching hat. The battery had died in my camera this morning, so I didn't get any photos.

As we were coming to the end of the session, D asked me how much I had had to pay. When I told him, he said it wasn't bad, in fact he thought it was very good value. He thoroughly enjoyed the session, so I was happy. The staff were also happy, they said it was always nice to have boys come and take part and that he was quite the gentleman.

When we got home, D very generously gave J a necklace and ring as his souvenir!

Friday, 13 February 2009

Activity filled week

This week just seems to have passed by so quickly. Seems only five minutes since it was last Friday.

D fancied doing some drawing Monday and he came up with this "cave" painting. He used pencil for the drawing and pastels for the colouring. He then fixed it with hair spray so it wouldn't smudge. I have now got to sort out his art gallery (door to the cupboard under the stairs). It is full, so I will have to take something down and store away safely.
Wednesday was a lovely day for me and J, we had sleet and snow whilst we were waiting in the park for D to have his Spanish lesson. We were rather damp and chilled to the bone by the time we got home.

D is now doing food in his Spanish lessons. He walks around coming out with Spanish phrases. Some other friends of his are now learning Spanish, so he now has other opportunities to practise what he is learning.

We had hardly time to grab lunch and warm up before we had to leave for J to have his survival swimming lesson.

This week they were concentrating on their back strokes and spent 20 minutes swimming with clothes on. They have now done the stamina building lessons, the next four are now for the certificate.

Thursday was the local home education group swimming session, so Thursday afternoon, the boys spent 3 hours in the pool. Where J found the energy from I have no idea.

J doesn't usually like doing anything crafty, but he has given himelf a new project to do. He is building a model from cardboard of his dream house. As it comes along I will post pictures.

Someone mentioned on our local home ed group about an online voucher to print off for bowling at £1 per person. The boys love bowling and it has been some time since we last went. We went for a game this morning. I had a miserable game, couldn't get one strike. J was ahead from the beginning, but with two goes left, D snuck into the lead. As you can imagine, I had one very happy boy, and one very disappointed one. His only consolation was that he had beaten me!

I have been card making and D has been trying to take the kit away from me all week. In the end I let him make one himself and this is what he has produced. Just need the occasion now for him to be able to send it. J and I have been discussing this week what studies he wants to do. He is interested in doing some IGCSE's. I think we have settled on Maths, English Language and Literature and History. D wants to do Biology, I'm not sure if J will do a science.

We are also looking at some Do it For Real summer camps too. Need to save some pennies and see if the camps they want to attend are available. It will be the first time they have done anything like this.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Stamina Building

Wednesday morning we went to the library as D's Spanish had been cancelled. J's books by Bear Grylls had arrived and we needed to pick them up.

In the afternoon, J had the first of his personal survival swimming lessons. This is to be a four week course for the certificate, but they are having two weeks to build up stamina and improve on their technique. There are sixteen children from the home ed group doing this course, in two groups of eight. They are using the pool at Ponds Forge, Sheffield which has an Olympic sized pool. J has never been in a pool that size before.

Before they even started, they had to swim 4 widths which was followed by an hour of swimming using floats to build strength in their legs and to help improve the strokes. Just before the end, they had a chance to swim in shorts and t-shirts to practice swimming in trousers and tops next week. They also practised the help position, which helped them see how that changes the body temperature.

Needless to say, J didn't go sledging when he came home, his legs were aching and he was exhausted. I now have the perfect solution to wearing them out!

Thursday, the boys went sledging again and disappeared for three hours. We may get more tonight, so I might lose them again tomorrow.

Friday was ice skating. With the cold temperatures, you could have ice skated on some of the paths outside. One of the parents was giving tips to D on how to improve his technique so he can skate faster. When we went to Magna, J bought a metal model kit. The other morning, this little man appeared. I think D screwed him together as J was having problems getting his fingers in the right places. He looks as if he is going skiing here. There should be a car to make too, that's if Tugger hasn't lost the bits. He has the knack of getting in where he isn't wanted.

The boys were out yesterday, and some of their friends have already received their copies of Your Sheffield. This is the issue with J's interview, so he brought a copy home last night. It seems really strange to open a magazine and see yourself looking out of it. When we go swimming on Thursday, we will take it so his MEND instructor can see it.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009


This was the view outside in our back garden this morning. Doesn't everything look beautiful. This morning the sun was shining and the sky was blue, perfect for all the kids to escape to the park and play.
I was so pleased they were able to go out and enjoy it today as yesterday we spent the day travelling to pick up D. It was with great relief that we got home last night. Even having to walk up through the park was fun.
Tomorrow D's Spanish lesson has been cancelled. Buses aren't running through our village and it is going to be difficult to get into the village where his teacher lives.
We are hoping that J's swimming lesson is still on in the afternoon. It is the first of six personal survival swimming lessons. He is looking forward to it and nervous at the same time. Let's hope the roads clear a bit by the afternoon.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Film Fest

It has just been me and J since Thursday, and it has been fairly quiet, It has been great to spend time alone with him.

Friday, the home ed group had a visit to a indoor play area that has just opened. J was delighted that Monkey Bizness allows children up to 12 into play. Everyone had a great time and the older ones are really looking forward to next time when the high wire will be open. They were awaiting delivery of the safety harnesses this week. I am sure D will love it when he goes.

On the way home, we went into some charity shops and J came home with 10 videos and a book. When he got home, the DVD he bought from eBay had arrived, so his day was made.

Since then, we have been trying to get through all the videos before D comes home. I don't think we will make it. It has been like one huge cinema visit.

Snow has started falling today, and it's supposed to get worse tomorrow. I hope that it will hold off until we get D home tomorrow.