This was a good booky week from both girls as next week we are off to centerparcs. SB is certainly being determined about doing her work. We chatted about grade 4 piano this time or not, and she is going for it. fingers crossed!

Wednesday we went into London for a design session at the design museum. It was organised by a local home educator, and we were looking forwards to it. Well, BB wasn’t sure about going in to London again, as so soon from the opera trip! Beautiful day and we walked from tower hill past the tower of london and across tower bridge to get to the museum, picking up friends along the way :)

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In the museum we looked around the displays – currently mostly fashion, which SB was happy with, but not quite so BB friendly! She and L wandered off together, and SB paired with lfish to look around more carefully. She particularly liked clothes for skin from skunk anansie, whereas I liked the beach pyjamas idea!

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the upper level held some design arcehtypes and discussed process, materials etc. It also had an area on designers in residence, and they all liked making a cardboard den. jfish would like some for his next birthday! I liked the area on making rookeries in modern housing.

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finally we all went into the design room where they were given a surprise design item to work through what it was, waht about its design worked well, and what could be improved upon. BB and L were paired, and i was pretty impressed with BB for working through it *and* being the person that then talked about it! She is definitely growing in confidence. SB and jfish were paired too, and clearly enjoyed working through theirs, tho they had no idea at the start.

A lovely outing with the girls :)

thursday was a normal day with bookishness and maybe french lesson. friday was conservation.

saturday DH and SB trekked to the classical civ tutor to have a session with C and 3 other girls, SB really enjoyed the opportunity to have a bigger session for a change, but does prefer skype being just her and C :) apparently they now need to read the aeniad and start working towards the controlled assessment – scary! especially since i have no idea how SB is doing!! She is definitely enjoying it tho :)

SUnday BB and i de-christmassed the playroom [yes, slightly late!] whilst SB was on the air cadets netball team. They got a silver medal :) woot woot! when she returned she did some baking – choc brownies – to take with us to centerparcs.

 

Good weeks from both girls.

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an old crock for the last few years, but got to 17 and died peacefully last night. good mousing x

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generally this week has been a very good working week for SB. Have been proud of her getting her head down and working. I am hoping that this equates to something going in the brain! certainly the piano practice has made a difference between the last weeks lesson and this one. BB has also gradually been getting going as well. proud that she has powered through the english without much kerfuffle. TBH, I think she now gets it, and it is much easier, but still baby steps as she doesnt enjoy it. going to try and push more maths also – a bit most days would be lovely!

This week we have had a weds4ed – which i have totally failed to take any photos at! there were some snowmen haiku. science was evolution survival of the fitttest, and thinking about how selection etc might work. the kids, as always, were quite inventive and looked to change the parameters of the experiments quite interestingly. lovely that ems girls could come this time :) . SB did a prac gcse paper for barbara, and got a comfortable c. suggested things to work on for the future [she isnt taking till next year, but nice to know already on course for a pass] SB likes maths :) . the late stayers played our current fav game of alchemists

thursday was a sports day, so the girls went off to that with DH and met up with the local home ed group for the regular sports session. indoors due to the rubbish weather recently and the muddiness of outside.

friday they all went to the royal opera house to see un ballo in maschera. SB was v much excited, and BB more on the not too bothered front. They joined the deependers there, and also met up with m and c from the manor born. SB loved it. she really enjoyed the whole thing, spectacle, music the lot :) . BB was a bit more take or leave it, but she did sit happily without moaning, so we were pleased with that too! After the opera they all went to covent garden, and BB was v happy to go to the cap store again, and buy a cap with christmas money. they all went to the transport museum afterwards and were happy and crazy with friends :)

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this weekend we had a relaxed saturday – doing some bookwork, a piano lesson for both girls. we took down the decs in the playroom and hallway :( I have one xmas tree left to go! more board game playing – we are getting a bit of a thing again for regular board gaming [we always like it]

today we had a lazy start and then sb and i went geocaching, meeting up with nattyem and the deependers. we have had 2 travelbugs for far too long, and needed to move them along! duly done. it was a lovely circular trail, well thought out and well signposted. it ended with a fab hint as well. it said it took an hour in dayligt, but i think we took 3!! it was pretty chilly towatds the end, so the flask of tea back att the car was quite welcome!

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BB stayed at home with DH and they built a big bonfire and burnt lots of branches trimmed off a tree. both smell v smoky now! BB has also been playing sims 4 nearly ceaselessly having got this with most of her xmas moeny. she loves it. i think sb may end up buying it too.

So, new year and new home ed push.

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ok, so we are back to nomal, or normalising, or whatever normal is! as you can see, the ticksheets in december peter out. life becomes more christmassy and relaxed and gaming/arts related rather than actual work. I am sure I remember this happening in schools too!

BB pretty much stops anything formal, tho still reads a lot including fact stuff and soaks up interesting things. it is a bit of a push to get her back into the swing of things, but hre we go. her ticksheet is essentially unchanged.

SB mostly did clarinet until after her exam [woot again for a merit for grade 4] and her french and classical civ stuff, with a bit of bio and geog thrown in. She has now pretty much finished the geog coursebook, so we are planning on using the revision book and doing practice papers and getting the style right now in that before the exams in may. Geog and classical civ i think are both exams, certainly for the gcse, that have a functional english component to them of grammar and spelling – not her strongest point! with biol, we have done weds4ed experiments that complement the syllabus, but have pretty much got to the end with some genetics stuff. the last section of her biol to do isnt really experimenty. she is a bit behind on where we haad hoped she would be]Will have to ask the kids if they want to redo some more practical biol stuff or start working towards chemistry. Having chatted about going for grade 4 piano this term, or abandoing and grad working on grade 5, SB has decided to go ahead with it. SO she has been duly entered, and we are hopefully going to put in the work for a pass/merit. Anyway, so far this week has been a pretty good SB educational week. we have looked at and honed her starchart [she prefers stars to ticks currently :) ] and tried to make it as reasonable as possible – showing what is ideally done, but like all our ticksheet/starchart iterations, we all know it isnt compulsary to follw and do everything! The gaps are for her to add things to. the activities top layer aren’t weekly, and are either fortnightly or monthly. It does look a bit intimidating… Am hoping that we will have some very good weeks as well as more slack weeks! certainly this exam home ed is quite different kettle of fish to the primary school – years up to 8!

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so that funny week between xmas and new year, when you are only off work if at school or retired, but somehow work seems odd! SB had holiday orchestra, which she enjoys. she was in the choir, jazz session and intermediate band. she really enjoyed herself, and i went along to the concert. unfortunately/fortunately we had tickets to the russian ballet, so she didnt sng in the final presenttion as we were there. the jaz and intermed band were v good. was impressed by the extemporising in the jazz and also her being the first clarinet in the band. next time she plans to go up a band so practicing hard for upper band! I loved listening to all the groups and clapping for all the children – many of whom i recognise! it was also meeting up with the parents i dont see very often and having a good chat at lunch between 2 of the concerts.

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after this, SB and I walked into the city centre and went and watched the ballet. having been very rainy earlier in the day, we were happy for a crisp tho cold evening and night. Our seats were excellent and we had a really good view. SB and I both really enjoyed the ballet. it was a slightly different take on the nutcracker with a somewhat creepy prof/magician! the dancing was excellent, not all the ballet dancers were scarily thin, the orchestra was good and the spectacle fantastic. we were both trhilled and loved the whole thing.

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we said goodbye to our xmas guests on the tuesday, and then opened our doors to friends on the wednesday for games to celebrate the new year. quite a few board games were played. Merry and girls came over for the afternoon, which was lovely as do not see anything like enough of them any more. we had a good chat, the girls all played together and bene adored our set of duplo bob the builder things :) She stayed longer than planned and managed to meet quite a few others of the gang :)

we got some gaming going, and there was also minecrafting/terraria by the computer fixated younglings. i used a body double playing quelf to do the tricky hiding under the table bits. SB and her friend B did an over skype game with E, who had felt too unwell to come. There was a good spread of food t eat, things to drink and the conviviality of the weds4ed group and sibs/husbands as well as le ciel rouge and their german exchange duaghter – lovely to see them too :).

all stayed up and celebrated in the new year and cheered with the tv countdown  [forgot the indoor fireworks this year!]

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we then got to have a head start on a birthday, with a cunningly made in advance cake :)

 

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the next day we all went skating together before coming back for some more games playing. we had a fabulous day :) a really lovely, relaxed time with friends.

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my nephew and niece came to join us on boxing day, with their dad starting a short while only. Lovely to have them here :) . so more jollity, present unwrapping, laughing, games playing and generally having a wonderful time. Boxing day was a christmas-again :) . at the weekend we had a games playing and in saturday, and i had migraine :( and then on sunday grandad took all the kids to see night at the museum 3 for a treat, before coming home for more games playing and general laughter. I was back to work on monday, but they went out again for more iceskating! looking forwards to those pictures! they all had fun and laughter again. SB has now played lots of games :) .

I have really enjoyed christmas this year. last years was stressful, with SB being in france, and some wider family shenanigans. This year was as it ought to be, a haven of family love and joy :) Thankyou to all my family for being wonderful and sharing it with me.

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I had the week off up to xmas tho had dreadful shifts over the weekend!], and mum and dad came, so we did prep, played some games, chilled and felt happy altogether. I was very happy with the gifts I had bought, and thought they were thoughtful, suitable and in proportion – always nice! It was going to be a different Christmas, as i had thought my nephew and niece were going to be joining us for that whole week, but due to other family considerations, my BIL brought them up on boxing day until the tues. it is the first christmas for a long time we havent shared, in fact the only other one was my sister’s last, when she took them to disneyland. My mum did tell me BIL plans, so it wasnt a complete surprise. Oh well.

SB made and decorated the Christmas cake this year – it was very delicious! we did other random xmas baking :) and I made 2 yummy dinners that take ages in prepping from scratch but are worth it :) – enchilladas and lasagna, with emough nmixture of each to go into freezer for another occassion. we also played games. BB loves rough and tumble games with nanny and grandad, as well as playing snort!

Christmas day we all loved all our presents. BB bought me a fab cake stand, and SB made me cry with her lovely xmas decoration. DH bought me a kindle! we dont usually do presents] My parents and DH’s mum were there to join the fun. Both girls were very happy with their presents. It did seem a lot quieter with only half the normal guest list! we had a wonderful stress-free day. Here are some photos from our merry christmas.

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