A childhood of ballet

SB was really keen to do ballet when she was little, so enrolled into the ballet school in the village approximately 10 years ago. She took her grade 6 last week. Due to time pressures, not least exams and air cadets, she is now thinking of finishing ballet. The teacher is having a year sabbatical, and the class will clash with air cadets for the new teacher. Another end of an era! She has taken lots of joy from ballet, and I am glad for the poise, posture and skills she has developed as well.




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temporary accommodation for 3 hens – a lilac rock that might or might not have lilac eggs, a mottled leghorn with white eggs with perhaps blue speckles, and a typical farmhouse with brown eggs :)

my baby’s gone!

well, my spanish daughter! we had a fab time, and hope you come back to visitIMG_20151107_104407267

Spanish exchange – week 15

you may have spotted that SpD hasnt gone home after 3 months! when she arrived her mum asked whether it would be a problem if she had nearer 4 months, and clearly it isnt. so we said fine :) and what a happy choice that is as we are loving having her live with us as she is a really lovely person with a great laugh. This, though, is her penultimate week with us. Time seems to have gone so quickly!
So this week SB was at cadets camp until Saturday, and didn’t want SpD to get all lonely, so invited her friend E to come and stay on Monday and Tuesday and to visit a Halloween themed eveing thing on the Monday evening with deependers H and TB older kids – so quite a group. Apparently it was initially v scarey, but the ideas started repeating, so got less so. it is the first year they have run it, so it might get scarier in the future!
it was good to chat with NE when she came to pick E up as well :) the 2 girls had lots of giggling and watching real rubbish on the tv!
weds my mum and dad brought up my niece and nephew to stay for the rest of their half term :) I love having a houseful! as M is in his gcse year, we devoted mornings to homework and afternoons to craft, baking and just messing about :) . we had a lot of fun!
we also played board games, particularly with Mum and Dad
on the saturday, dad had a real desire for a steam train ride, so i looked around, found one that was only about an hour a way, and loaded everyone into the car – thank goodness for the galaxy as we all fitted! obvs dad worried about my driving, what was my speed blah blah, and telling me which lanes i would need to be in – do love him, i have lived here for 10 years! [we are v alike] and we got there way early! I was a little disheartened when i got there to see that things seem to have got grubby and unloved looking, and mum and i were worried that dad was disappointed. we were even more worried when they said that the steam train was limping in, and we might need to have a diesel! luckilly they were wrong. and once we got onto the train, the day got brighter, and all was well :) the kids loved being in a ‘harry potter carriage’ i had sweets and bought drinks :) lovely. lunch at the cafe also lovely with the sun shining. phew!
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this is a really long blog post. i am tempted to divide it up. unfortunately OCD dictates that since I have done all the previous weeks ‘as one’ I need to do this one like that as well. we are nearly there! just halloween to go :)
So when we got back from the train trip, SB was there back from cadet camp and utterly exhausted! we got ready to go out trick or treating in the village [well, treating!] and so the girls all got costumed. M has decided he is too old really, and I think if SpD hadnt been here, SB wouldnt have gone either. However, we went round, and were really impressed with some of the village displays. the kids got buckets of sweets and the weather was good :) . on our return, DH had dinner ready and made a spooky dining room :)
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the big 3 then stayed up and watched scary films in the playroom [we could hear constant shreiking!] whilst we watched something less scary with the younger 2!
i did an all american diner brekkie the following morning – help yourself to pancakes with various toppings, sauted potatoes [from the leftover jackets] baked beans, veggie sausage and a spinach fritata. very yummy indeed! a bit of games playing, and then mum and dad took the kids home. A lovely half term :)

Spanish exchange – week 14

a more book focussed week, as we needed it TBH! so lots of focus on learning in a more traditional style. SB also went to arts award for her silver. I am a bit concerned at how overextended she is! She has planned as her challenge to pass her grade 1 oboe this term, and it is a challenge! however, I am definitely proud of her for getting it going.
I think this monday was the one that SpD snuck into a houses of parliament trip with the deependers because J had been unwell. She really enjoyed it, and said that she had learnt a lot, and came back with some information. I am hoping that the deependers might have a picture too, if I am lucky!
Weds was a weds4ed day, with our usual group and the addition of TB schooled kids again as their half term, plus their previous en famille daughters, so very international flavour! I love a good crowd :) . so for science we were moving on with our acid base stuff. this time we were identifiying which transitional metal was in a salt by adding sodium hydroxide to a solution of it. v cool [I love science experiments] as we had iron 2+, iron 3+, copper, magnesium and calcium so we got some colourful preciptates :)
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this time SB’s silver arts award lesson was watercolours of turtles, getting the turtliness of them :) some very different interpretations of the brief in the group, and lots of really lovely pices of art at the end.
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SO, we then did some crazy pass the parcel game, which made people laugh lots. unfortunately it had been hanging around a bit, so they couldnt eat the sweeties in the layers. however, good laugh :) . as well as the shakespeare lapbooks, which are coming along really well, and got my girls watching shaekspear dvd – midsummer nights dream BB’s fav, mine still much ado about nothing, did like the tempest with helen mirren, but it is a more difficult play to grasp, particularly if english is not your first language. hmm, i digressed, well, aws well as the lapbooks and the maths, this time they did some bells as well, which sounded beautiful. bb was persuaded to learn the rocking hymn on glock, which she did really quickly, so was v proud :)
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at the weekend SB went off to cadets camp, and although she took a few selfies, i need to ask her what I can put on here! The rest of went to visit friends and had a fab time. SpD went shopping with all the big girls, BB swam and played with her friend R, and DH and I played lots of board games. perfick :)
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whiskey cat

we have loved you for a crazy 18 years from kitten to cat. you have given us lots of verbs and nouns – whiskling about, whiskey hole etc. now i hope your passing tonight will be gentle. we will miss you x x x

Spanish Exchange – an update on the education

finally a week were some education definitely went on of a book nature! As a home education journal, there are some real gaps in home ed details! It is mostly a catalog of exchange. SO a quick sum up of the main work items for each child. It goes without saying that there is crafting, painting, sewing, baking, sports, games etc!


SHe is working towards 4 definite gcse: maths; chemistry; english; spanish, and one possible – physics. We are hoping that by the time she goes to Spain she will have finished at least 3/4 of the course, as will only have a month after her return before the exams start [I will not panic] the current sources she is using.

Collins Cambridge IGCSE – Cambridge IGCSE Chemistry Student Book
Cambridge IGCSE® Physics Coursebook with CD-ROM (Cambridge International Examinations)
Collins IGCSE Maths – Cambridge IGCSE Maths Revision Guide
Edexcel International GCSE and Certificate Spanish Grammar Workbook
Cambridge IGCSE First Language Coursebook (Cambridge International Examinations)

SpD is mostly working on English, both directly with a coursebook, with EFL worksheets from the internet and through a history project. We are clearly doing much less bookwork than normal, as actually it is conversation that is the most important, so we are also playing games, going to places and talking about it, encouraging reading of good books and watching good programmes [she rather likes Jane Austen, but Shakespeare is a bit dense]. When kids come out of school in England, it is common to find they need a period of deschooling – ie doing relatively nothing – to find their flow and self direction, and this was clearly something noticeable for SpD, though she didnt have the luxury of all the time she might have had in a 6 month exchange.

Cambridge IGCSE English as a Second Language Coursebook with Audio CD (Cambridge International Examinations)
Cambridge IGCSE English as a Second Language Workbook (Cambridge International Examinations)
Tudors & Stuarts (Usborne History of Britain)
The Victorians (Usborne History of Britain)

BB has decided to really work on her home ed this month. It is paying off :) she has decided that English really isnt so hard – though she doesnt like writing much, and is starting to push through her books. she likes the wizardy letts books too [now discontinued] though isnt so keen on any of the more wordy books – so those we need to move on with! she is doing regular piano practice and reading fact books. she seems happier with this activity. she is also doing conquer maths, though still with a bit of a block on times tables.

Collins Primary Focus – Grammar and Punctuation: Pupil Book 2
Collins Primary Focus – Comprehension: Pupil Book 2
Collins Primary Focus – Spelling: Pupil Book 2
Magical Science Ages 8-9 (Letts Magical Topics)
Understanding Science: Light, Sound and Space (Series of 6): KS2, Years 3 – 6

Spanish exchange – week 13

so after a busy week, we should have had a quiet one! somehow our homeed doesnt seem to look like that any more! just busy busy busy. Monday was a pretty normal worky day, with the older girls having ballet and judo in the evening. Tuesday BB had a bronze arts award meeting. the other girls did some more work. She has got her folder all lined up and organised. just needs to decide what to do with the first section to write up, on an artist.

Weds we went into London as SpD wanted to visit the London Globe Theatre. she was a bit reluctant to wake up tho, so by the time we had made it in, all the tours had finished :( so we looked at the outside and went into the museum. we saw a demonstration on tudor clothes, so my tudor pedant children ran a sotto voce critique. :D :D

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afterwards we walked across the millenium bridge and topped up our food from the m and s by st pauls [it is excellent for topping up food, plenty of choices] and had lunch there.

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when it started to rain we scooted to the museum of london, where the older 2 were being silly for a bit, so i went round with BB, for whom it is now an ideal museum. she read and thought about pretty much all the exhibits on the upper floor. she was getting tired, so we whipped through the lower floor more quickly to have a drink at the cafe and wait for the others to catch up :)

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afterwards we went to covent garden, where bb was devastated to find her favouriyecap shop shut. she perked up with a rugby bobble hat and we ate out at pizza express

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the week’sd excitement wasnt over though! thursday was homeed sports and cadets, friday tidying and ballet, mum and dad arrived thurs to help with preparing for a family gathering on saturday :)

we were a few down from the expected number, but had a great time. lots of happy people that are family together, playing games, swapping anecdotes and eating a lot!havent had aunty margaret or mark at ours for quite a long while.

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spanish exchange – week 12

time flies in an exchange! SPD has improved greatly in English, and is definitely a part of our family!

Monday was monthly rollerskating homeed meet and all 3 girls really enjoy this. fair bit of gossip with other homeeducating families and a chance to whizz around on roller skates. I have borrowed a blurry photo from a friend as DH never took any! All 3 girls really enjoy rollerskating and meeting up with a wider dispersed home ed group.


tues was a do some work day! SpD is working mostly on English and her history journal, and SB on her gcse subjects. BB is trying to achieve 5 home ed things a day as her challenge this month. so far so good! just at the beginning :)

weds was a weds4ed day :) we were especially lucky to have 2 ex HE friends join us as their school was closed for the day :) BB was particularly happy about R being there as she has missed her since she started secondary school this year. Chemistry is moving on apace, and this was pretty fun as we were doing acids and metal order of reactivity. We had magnesium, tin, zinc, copper, iron and lead. we did a fair bit of talking about the properties of acids and how they reacted with different things. tested the gas and proved it was hydrogen [phew]


SB did aboriginal animal art as the clas she is doing for her silver arts award with the group. she     has a theme of animals. They are supposed to do some writing between sessions and havent, so will need to encourage that. lovely day for art in the conservatory, and some great art pieces for the folders.


There was also some gcse maths and some shakespeare lapbook work. we had a great day altogether :) finished with some games playing


It was definitely an out week as all 3 went to sizewell B to learn more about nuclear reactors and nuclear power. No photos within the building [clearly] but all came back to tell me different things that they had learnt. clearly sb and one of her friends had been in a silly mood, as they had also been working out how to attack the base in mission impossible mode. sigh! BB, however, could tell me lots of sensible things!

on the saturday we divided! SB and I went to a reenactors market to choose wool for SpD. she enjoyed Kentwell so much that she wants to come back next year but was really worried about how she was going to get the right wool etc. So, we agreed that she would get the wool from us as birthday/xmas present and made her v happy :) . thanks to some kentwellies advising, we have some nice blue wool. Also enjoyed mooching around the stalls and bought something with a steampunk flavour for bb. If I was younger I would def do the steampunk thing :)

Meanwhile SpD was on a shopping expedition with friends, well one in the end, as the other couldnt make it. they had a fab time with lots of giggling, and i downloaded one of the many selfie shots they took ;)


The final out thing was that SB auditioned for the county windband on the sunday. she really enjoyed it :) and she got in! woot woot.

Spanish Exchange – week 11

SPD and SB went off to Yorkshire to join our friends SOTP monday – weds. By Train! SB has already done this journey once before, so we were reasonably certain that they would make it up there! they had a lovely time by all accounts, did some horse riding, went girl shopping and came home safely as well :) If SB took any photos I might nab them to put on the blog!

SO The big 2 missed our extra weds4ed at TB’s. we went there for a change. they have an added attraction of a swimming pool for all the kids to pile into :) I think Hfish had a bit of a surprise at how strong BB’s swimming is, as he needed to put in a bit of effort to stay ahead.


We did science as rates of reactions and also what happens when add an acid to a carbonate. did it outside though, so a not to turn TB house unto a fish and chip shop! I also played a new board game with TB and NE :)


At the weekend we had a fantastic time! we went to a family wedding and then danced the night away :) SB was v happy with the superdry dress nanna had bought her, and BB was v sharp in a suite. SPD had a tartan jacket that clearly suited her. It has been a while since we went to a wedding, and it was fun.

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