Sunday, 30 January 2011

A trip to the Art Gallery

It seems sad, but I have really gotten out of the habit of going to art galleries and museums. We used to go constantly, so maybe I just had seen them enough. But since we have made the Babe's first visit to Manchester City Art Gallery, I think we will have to keep it up.

We went mainly to see the Rafael Lozano-Hemmer exhibit Recorders, which was brill! Thanks to Martine for telling me about it, since I wouldn't even have known about it, in spite of the fact that the Meister had already been to see it with friends! Which was a good thing, because she couldn't come with us.

We had lots of fun even though I was rather freaked out by the fact that it was based on our surveillance society. I didn't want to have my photo taken, or my fingerprint, but I wanted to take part.

Here are lots of photos of us enjoying ourselves, taken on my little mobile phone camera, so sorry for the not too great quality.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

What I have learned this week.

I have learned that we are all very happy when we have ice cream for pudding, that the Babe does get food into her as well as everywhere else when she feeds herself, and that when Emma says, "It's a lovely day, let's go for a walk," I should be slightly wary. :-)

It has been a productive week, with reading, knitting, cooking, baking, drama groups, music groups, Scouts, Guides, shopping, entertaining, all getting done. But the most amazing thing is that I have started blogging again. :-)

I have been meaning to start having games nights, or family nights for quite some time. And it seems that the New Year is the impetus I need to actually do some things. So we invited a few people around last Saturday, ate curry, played games, drank wine, and planned to do it again sometime. There were a few boys who stayed at the kitchen table playing Munchkin, cards and whatever, while the teens mostly hung out in the study, but they did eventually come in to the living room to play word games and things with the adults.

My new favourite game is Telegrams, which came from the Parlour Games book that S got me for Christmas. There is a word chosen for the group, and everbody in the group has too write a telegram  whose words begin with the lettrs of that word. Some rather amusing telegrams are written. It must have been a good night, because at least one child said, "Can we do this every week?" I was thinking once a month.

We also have done the opticians this week, which was an educational visit. We learned that we could put the baby in the umbrella stand, and she would enjoy it.

Yesterday at drama Emma convinced me that we should go for a walk. Which was a good idea, because I have been to Pilates three times this week, and need to keep my joints working, in order that they keep working. :-) So off we went, with three kids, one dog, and a babe in a backpack. You will see neither the Meister, nor the dog in any photo, as we didn't see much of them on this walk.

It started off nice. Although I didn't read the map properly, and was not quite prepared for the 412 steps we would need to climb up and down on the way there and back again. That's 824 steps. Emma's knee and my hip only just survived, but at a rather slower pace than the kids, which necessitated some panic on behalf of the other walkers, when the sun had set, and most of us were back at the car, and we still could not find the Meister or the dog. All was well in the end, as Emma found them at the same time I went off to get the wardens. There was a beautiful sunset, and the late return meant Coop pizzas and chocolate cake for tea, so quite a few people were happy. And we were back in time for Guides, so no need for worry really. :-) 

Here are some photos of the baby feeding herself, since she won't let anybody else feed her anymore. Which means I spend a lot of time cleaning the table, the floor, the high chair, and the Babe herself. :-) But I have also been changing some interesting nappies, so I know there must be quite a bit of food getting into her.

I have also learned this week, that I need to start packing food for the Babe to munch while the Meister and the Boy are at home ed drama. She spent 2 hours on Friday morning scrounging food from everybody. Fig rolls, crisps, Hula Hoops, cucumber, and whatever else she could lay her hands on got eaten. I shall endeavour to be better prepared. Again.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Time with the Meister

So being the youngest of 4 for ten years meant the Meister had to be lugged around to a lot of older kids activities. This suited her as long as she could be a part of the goings on, but being ignored is not something that she can cope with. This is the 7,8,9 year old, who used to follow me around the house with a diary or a notebook, asking when we could schedule some quality time. She wanted me all to herself, which hardly ever happened, but when it did, she vocalised her approval.

So with the older two daughters doing their own thing, and the Boy increasingly wanting to just have the house to himself once in a while, without it being full of women, I had this idea that the Meister and me would get lots of time to do all the things she wants to do. She is a doer. And that is sort of happening, but it is happening with a new baby sister. It looks like the Babe is going to get to be our only child, rather than the Meister.

After the Babe was born, the Meister did go through a bit of a transition phase. She wanted lots of attention, and we tried to give it to her, and then she suddenly turned 11 and it was like she matured about 3 years worth in a two week period. These days she is tidying her room, getting up every morning to have a shower, and a healthy breakfast, and to make herself look gorgeous, which she does quite well. She has bery definite ideas about music, and what she wants to do, and just gets on with it. It's funny, because she was my wild child, and now she is a nice young woman, who is doing her own washing and helping me cook the tea, and look after the Babe.

She gets to do a lot of things these days. The lovely home ed mum S has started a Book group at Stockport library. I didn't mention it to the Meister for a while, thinking she was the type of person who would not let ANYBODY tell her what to do. But when I finally did mention it, she was really excited at the prospect of going.  She always reads the book, I rarely have to remind her, and she usually talks to me about them. This month we are reading a really good one called Finding Violet Park . We are finally reading it together, before we have read them independently, or I haven't gotten around to it at all. But this book is really good, and talks about a lot of issues. It is written from the perspective of Lucas, a troubled teen, but somebody who really thinks about things. And I think that suits us very well. We have lots to talk about thanks to Lucas. And hopefully we shall finish the book today.

We nearly finished it yesterday. We spent an hour or two reading to each other. I wasnt' really paying attention to the clock as it was one of those wonderful together days, that used to happen a lot more when they were younger. The kids looked after the Babe while I went to Pilates, and did some shopping on the way back. (They were very happy with me buying Nutella. :-) Funny how I am more likely to do things like that when I get to go to Pilates!) We pottered around, read some books, watched a film, had fish and chips from the chippy for lunch, and just relaxed. It was a really lovely day.

The whole week has been pretty good, actually.We had History Club as well. The lovely home ed mum E, who recently returned to the North of England from the French countryside, is another doer. She has started this once a month History club, and the kids are put into groups and given periods or topics to research. This academic year is being used to make a timeline. So we started with prehistory,  the Stone Age, bronze age, Romans, Celts, Viking, etc, we are up to the Tudors now.

The Meister was doing Henry Tudor this week. She has done something different every month. And once a month is about all we can handle! She did a poster presentation for the Romans, and a play of a Slave Market for the Vikings and Saxons, and made a little round house and warp weighted loom and a Beaker for the Bronze age Beaker people. And this time we didn't do that much with it being Christmas and New Year, and me being lazy and fed up. :-o But she managed to find out a lot of info that she didn't know before, like Henry Tudor's mum was 13 when she had Henry! And we wrote a poem. We managed to talk about metre and feet as we were doing it, so we can call it a literature lesson as well, in spite of how bad it is. ;-)

Henry Tudor

The War of the Roses had raged for years,
thousands of people were dead.

At last a Lancastrian put an end
to the battles, the fear and the dread.

Henry the seventh at Market Bosworth
ended Richard of York,

Now England needed a good strong king,
someone who wasn't a dork.

Henry Tudor claimed the crown,
by descent as well as conquest,

Then he married Elizabeth of York,
bringing the houses together was best.

Who was this man who claimed to be king,
when others wanted the throne?

To answer this, we look to his mum,
and here a link will be shown.

Lady Margaret Beaufort was she,
who had Henry at age thirteen.

Though she was a royal Lancastrian
never had she been queen.

Three times great grand-daughter was she
to Lancaster's Edward the third,

But some messing about by John O'Gaunt
meant the family from kingship were barred.

Yet Henry the seventh had lots of support
and king he did become -

His followers forgetting about the clause
stating 'Never shall Beauforts wear crown.'

Once he was crowned he proved to be
the best man for the job.

He made the monarch hold more of the power-
the nobles – he made them sob.

Private armies had to go,
taxes had to be paid.

The nobles were made advisers only,
decisions by the king were made.

Henry Tudor built up the treasury,
which was empty because of the war.

The white rose and the red
had left England rather poor.

But Henry Tudor collected the gold
and tried, it seems, to be fair,

He kept in check pretenders and rebels,
who to overthrow him would dare.

By the time he died, the country was rich,
on its way to its finest hour -

Though his son would start a whole new problem
by challenging papal power.

In a nutshell, that's Henry Tudor,
the seventh Henry was he,

The son of a Welshman and Lady Margaret,
descended from Edward three.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Typing one-handed while breast-feeding.

So A is now 15 months old, S is in the 2nd year of her degree, and R seems settled at college.  It is 2011, and I feel like it is a bit of a new beginning. This has been a private blog until today as I don't really think it is fair to write about my kids all the time, but since home ed is what we do, and how we live, I will carry on - trying not to embarrass them. But really by making it private, I have just ensured that nobody will read it, and I will rarely write anything. So from today, it is no longer private, and I will hopefully, be able to think about things, and why we do them, and write about our journey.

There are many things I wonder about as we go along on our home ed journey. Like why M came home the other day saying that she wanted to 'do' English and Maths. I am pretty sure somebody at one of her many groups said something about home education and now she thinks we have to. But I am going along with it, as she seems keen. The problem, of course, is that she is already way beyond knowing what she should according to the National Curriculum. I am trying to do workbooks with her, as we carry on doing things for Book Group and reading together and talking about stories and drama anyway. She doesn't see that as 'doing' English. So we are doing punctuation and grammar and spelling and penmanship, which will bore her soon. She already understands things, which she has picked up from reading a lot.

Another thing I wonder about is why people in my house do things like this.

The toilet roll fit perfectly snugly in the coke glass. But it was not easy to get out, which is a problem unless you want to drip dry. And  I found myself trying very hard to think positively...It must mean that somebody is developing their spatial awareness, testing their ability to visualize geometric shapes, etc.

Or, it just means that somebody was spending rather longer on the loo than they anticipated, and had already read the National Geographic.