Tuesday, 24 September 2013

A Week In Pictures......

Apologies, I have been frantically busy this last week, and when I haven't been busy I've been, frankly, too shattered to blog, so here is the last week in pictures....

Building the Succah

Autumn leaves


Victorian Exhibition at the
Red House Museum

Kiddush in the Succah

Bournemouth Arts By The Sea Festival

Car washing

 In the last week, we have also (mercifully) finished "The Crazy World of Ms Wiz" and have started reading "Heidi". We bought a new Maths workbook, which seems to be working better for Grace than the Mega Maths and we are playing lots of word games in the car.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Rain and Rainbows

Today we went to my dad's for lunch, and sorted out some of my stuff from his attic! As a result, there wasn't much time for other activities, but we did manage to get the sticks for our Succah wind chimes/mobile painted (along with pretty much everything else - in acrylic paint!).

We did also manage our evening walk, during a break in the persistent rain. The children are always very keen to use their new walking sticks!

Grace and I have finished reading "The House at Pooh Corner" in the evenings, and have started on "The Crazy World of Ms Wiz". I'm not sure that either of us are enjoying it - we will give it a few more nights, but may switch to something different.

Cockroaches and climbing

Yesterday, after Grace's drama class we went to the Bournemouth Natural Sciences Society open day. They always put on a great day, and this one was no exception. We learnt about Britain's big cats (apparently there really are lynxes and leopards in this country!) and Grace got to hold a cockroach. 

We also "met" Tahemaa, the 2600 year old Egyptian mummy, but Jude was far more interested in the taxidermied fox!

It is a fabulous little museum; lots of little rooms, and doors marked "curiosity  cupboard - open me". It does tend to be quite busy on the Open Days, but apparently is sometimes open mid-week too, so we may try going back then.

The "curiosity cupboard". Luke is
keen to own a pickled toad
like the one here....
We met up with several families from some Home Ed groups we are involved in, and the kids ran around and chased each other in the lovely gardens. They also found a rather fabulous climbing tree.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Planning for Sukkot

Next week it is the Festival of Sukkot (we are in the period known as the High Holy Days, so there are a lot of festivals right now!), and we will be building our Succah in the garden soon. We are busy thinking of autumnal, harvesty crafts we can do to decorate this succah, as if the weather is good, we will be eating all our meals in it! I am creating a leaf garland like this and today we went out collecting sticks for making some rainbow wind chimes. Of course, no walk right now is complete without foraging for a few berries!

Whilst Jude was sleeping, we played a little "Think Links", which is probably our best charity shop find to date. It comprises of some picture cards and some word cards, and an instruction booklet with around 100 different ways of playing with the cards, all designed to prompt the imagination. Today we each received 4 picture cards, and had to make up a story featuring each of the items shown on the cards. Grace continued to play her own version of it long after Jude had woken up and needed attention, and was storytelling most of the afternoon.

When we take our evening stroll, both children are fascinated by Luke's walking cane, and have been desperate to have their own. We have been looking out for some, but finding them in small enough sizes hasn't been easy, and yesterday Luke came home with two moderately sized fallen tree branches, with a view to making our own. Grace helped him to measure them and saw them to the right size, and today both children "helped" with the sanding. They are looking forward to taking them out tomorrow - Jude, in particular, has spent much of the day wandering around the house with it saying "Stick! Stick!".

Half a week.....

This week has flown by, and for most of it, I haven't been able to find my phone, so there are few pictures!

On Monday, Grace spent the whole day with Nannie, while Luke was working, so Jude and I pottered around Wareham. It was lovely to be able to slow right down to her pace, and allow her to spend ten minutes with her face pressed against garden railings, looking at apple trees, or to explore the different textures of the walls. We will have to make sure that when Grace is out, we take Jude to some new places too - she is such a homebody that it's easy to forget that she doesn't get as much time as Grace did to really explore things at her pace.

We spent most of Tuesday attending a monthly parenting group that I facilitate, and both children enjoyed some time socialising with the other children there. In the evening we all headed over to Hengistbury Head  for their "Moon Watch" session, which Grace and Salma enjoyed, although it was really aimed at adults/amateur astronomers, rather than children and complete novices! We were lucky enough to be able to peer at the moon through some breaks in the cloud, and Grace was able to find out that while there were no actual spaceships orbiting the moon right then, there was a Japanese satellite. It has inspired us to have a proper look at the NASA website, as Grace is quite interested in the moon at the moment.

I got badly bitten by an insect under my eye at the Moon Watch, and on Wednesday my eye was pretty much swollen shut. I wasn't confident driving and felt very unwell, so we actually did very little. Grace has been playing a game on the iPad, looking at lines of symmetry, so we had a go at making some symmetry pictures, and she got to grips with a couple of pages of a maths workbook, but other than that, a quiet and pretty grumpy (on my part, anyway!) day.

Back to (stage) school

Last year, Luke won a year's free tuition for Grace at Stagecoach in an online raffle. We really debated whether or not to send her (and even deferred for a term), as it is very structured and seemed very high pressured, but in the end we decided to give it a try, and she has really enjoyed it. It is very praise-based, which is something we don't really subscribe to (the children are praised for coming through the door!), but Grace seems to accept it with a roll of the eyes, and has loved taking part. It's not something we will continue with after her free year finished in December (apart from anything else, the prices are seriously prohibitive!), but it has encouraged me to work with Forest Forge, our local Theatre Company to try to set up a "Theatre Studies" class for home-educated 3-6 year olds in January. It will be a bit less "Jazz Hands" than Grace is now used to, but I'm hoping it will fill the gap! 

After Grace's class on Saturday, we headed over to Poole for the annual Thai Festival, which was enjoyable, but much more commercial than in previous years, and the monks from the Buddhist Temple weren't there, which was disappointing. Luke is planning to arrange a trip for he and Grace to see them soon, and perhaps even try some Buddhist meditation.

"Mystery meat" skewers
and sticky rice


Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The Gas Man Cometh

Life has overtaken us a bit, so I'm going to do a couple of "catch-up" type posts!

We try to keep Fridays quite low-key, as we prepare for Shabbat, and last Friday was particularly chilled, after the feast we had for Rosh Hashanah on Thursday!

We made the rookie error of getting the instrument box out before getting dressed for the day (well, I got dressed, but the kids didn't) and forgetting that the gas man was due to service the boiler!

To give him credit, Josh the gas man did take two nearly naked children scrutinising his every move in his stride, and we learnt a lot about how the boiler works, although there was a slight misunderstanding about blue gases and flue gases. Grace was particularly taken with his magnetic measuring device.

Nicki popped over with a box full of apples and pears from her trees, so we made some stewed fruit, and some sugar-free muffins with them and the blackberries from Wednesday.

Whilst Jude was napping, Grace and I played sound and word lotto.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Rosh Hashanah

A busy day here; we all went to the Children's Service at Synagogue, which, at over an hour, was, in my opinion, still too long for small children, but which this year, was amazingly relaxed and laid back, with interjections from the congregation, laughing, smiling and lots of "help" from the children - so different to last year, where the congregation seemed very ill-at-ease with the leader's attempts to engage with the children. This year, everyone just seemed...happy.

Afterwards we went to Avon Heath Country Park for the Not Back To School Picnic. I didn't get many pictures of Grace, as she was mostly a streak running around, but got a few of Jude, and it was lovely for us all to spend time with other Home Edding families.

Making friends

Den building

New clothes for Rosh Hashanah

Gorgeous Jude in a rare smiley moment today!


We had our Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) feast tonight, as Grace was out last night - Pomegranate Chicken with jewelled rice and Apple Crostata with a cheese crust, accompanied, of course with Rosh Hashanah round spiced raisin Challah. Round foods are traditional at Rosh Hashanah, to symbolise the cycle of the year (hence the ubiquitous apples), as are sweet foods like honey and pomegranates. The cheese based dessert may have been a little out of the ordinary for Rosh Hashanah, but it was sugar-free, so we were all able to eat it - and it was a circle! We are looking forward to having the Challah toasted tomorrow; my Rosh Hashanah Challah often ends up a little under baked, but today it was just right!

The Festival Candles

Round, sweet Challah

What's left of our unorthodox
(but still round!) dessert

L'Shana Tova everyone!