Thursday, 26 March 2009

An Award

This is what we came home with yesterday. J was so pleased, that he wouldn't let me put it in my bag, so now there is a permanent thumb crease!

All the hard work these past few weeks paid off. All the children came out saying the assessment was easy. The teacher had made them work hard to build their stamina, that the actual assessment was so much easier.

J's first words to me when he came out of the pool were, "I told you I'd do it!"

As the assessment took less than half hour, they were all able to go into the leisure pool for the rest of the hour. As you can imagine, it was a wonderful release for them all.

The next challenge they are taking on is dancing. They are going to be doing ballroom, Latin and street dance for eight weeks starting after Easter. I think there will be lots of laughter in this class.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Woodland Session

After the last couple of weeks non-stop sunshine, it was a bit disappointing to wake up yesterday to grey skies and showers. In fact, some of the showers were very heavy with the rain almost horizontal with the wind.

The boys were going on a woodland session and it seemed they would have to do it in the rain. However, by the time we left, the grey skies were clearing and though chilly, they had a dry and bright afternoon.

The activities included bug collecting using a pooter, nature art, fire safety rules(needed for next week), finding leaves and cones which was a challenge as the older leaves were rotting away.

D used a tree stump for his piece of art. He used silver birch bark to decorate it using mud as an adhesive. J made a mud man. He used bark for the mouth and acorn tops for teeth. As I wasn't with them I have no photos to share, but they all seemed to have a wonderful time.

I know the boys are particularly looking forward to next week as they are building shelters and having a fire. J has also been told he can take his survival kit with him.

Not sure what we will do today. By the time we got home last night, J wasn't feeling well and unusually for this time of the morning he is still asleep.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Where does the time go?

I should have updated at the weekend, but I got engrossed in other things as the boys were away. The week before had also been a bit slow as we all had colds in varying degrees.
This meant that J didn't go to his swimming lesson but he went with his dad on Sunday and got some practice in. His final assessment is next week.
D went to Spanish and now is doing time, well, how to talk in Spanish about time. He came home with a certificate this week, so we are all very happy. Good to see his hard work being rewarded.

As you may remember, D had planted sunflowers and tomatoes. Here are the pictures he has taken of their progress.As you can see they are soon going to have to be planted out. We just need to get some more compost. The first potato was planted out today, using up the last we had. D is going to be very busy with this next week.

The highlight of last week was Thursday evening. We went to Sheffield University for a lecture hosted by BOC entitled "All about Air". It was a fantastic hour. The gases discussed were helium, nitrogen,oxygen, hydrogen and carbon dioxide in their liquid and gas state. As you can imagine the highlight was putting a candle to a balloon filled with hydrogen. It was also fascinating to see the fruit frozen with liquid nitrogen. They even answered D's unanswered question about trying to eat it. It was a fun way to learn some complicated facts and we would love to go again if the opportunity ever arose.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Is it the weekend yet?

There has been a change to D's Spanish lessons this week. There are now two of them in the class instead of three, and they are now progressing onto proper sentences. D came back really excited from this lesson which is good news.

To make things even easier for me, his teacher is now picking him up from home and bringing him back, and as the lesson is now first thing in the morning, it gives us much more time. This also means I have an hour with J to concentrate on things that interest him.

This week, J decided he wanted to do Vikings again. This will be the third time we have done them, but each time it has been in more depth. He will do some more on this next week and then we will be going to York to visit Yorvik and the Dig which will help to reinforce the things J has learned. Both the boys love doing anything like this, so it will be a good day out. I think this will be planned for the beginning of April.

J and I will then have another interesting project ahead. We will be studying Romeo and Juliet to GCSE level. I'm looking forward to this as it is the Shakespeare play I did for my O level. I have seen a couple of resource books that will help so we plan to start this when he comes back from visiting his dad. J wants to do the study and then go to the theatre to see a production.

After lunch Wednesday, we had to go to town before J's survival swimming lesson. A book he has been waiting to be published has come out. Unfortunately, WH Smith didn't have it in stock, so we have had to order it. We will collect it this Wednesday before his swimming.

Thursday morning we went to a Film Education showing of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. This is the second time we have seen this film, and we still cried! This tied in very nicely with the work the boys have just done about The Holocaust.

By Thursday, J had the beginnings of a cold, so Thursday afternoon and evening, he was a bit quiet(nice for me) but he was well enough to go to Monkey Bizness Friday morning.

This was a home ed session-there were 82 children there, about 150 including adults. With this many children in the activity area, you can imagine the noise! Two hours is definitely enough, but it's great for getting rid of excess energy.

The boys have been doing a lot of research on their own about robots. From some of the things they have been looking at, I think they would like to build one of their own. I am sure I have seen kits for making basic robots, so I will keep an eye out and see if I can find one for them to have a go with.

My bathroom is now looking very much like a greenhouse. Added to all the pots with their seeds waiting to germinate, D has his potatoes chitting. These will need to be planted out in about a fortnight.

After watching "Grow your own drugs" on BBC2 the other night, D has given me a list of plants we need to grow. He has it all planned out as to which pots will be used for what. Don't worry, nothing more drastic than figs and kiwis and another plant I cannot remember. There is another programme this week, so I am sure there will be more things added to the list.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

What every garden needs

We were determined to make the most of the last sunny day we are forecast to have for a while and got out in the garden. The garage needed sorting and sweeping through, the back garden needed sweeping and shrubs cutting back.

D was brilliant at keeping the tea flowing and J was catching the bits I was cutting off so they didn't fall and sink in the pond. I managed to cut the shrubs along the back of the pond without falling in, quite an achievement when you can't see where the edge is.

We had a fantastic bonfire last night and managed to clear the rubbish we had.

The children are nothing, if not resourceful. Apparently the garden is not complete without a flag pole. They made their own using a bamboo stick and an old pair of boxers! I wonder what that says about our garden.
D's skateboard snapped yesterday, so now the boys are going around the garage and shed collecting tools and bits of wood and old wheels to make a go cart. It will be interesting to see how far this gets as there have been several aborted attempts in the past.

Once the garden was tidy, we turned our attention to planting some seeds.
D has planted some sunflowers and tomatoes and they are now on the bathroom windowsill waiting to germinate. A few weeks ago they had put some daffodil bulbs in the boiler cupboard and D was delighted to find they had sprouted. They have now been moved to the light.

D said yesterday it makes him happy to grow things. Just as well as he has to start chitting his potatoes today.