Saturday, October 27, 2007

Just so I remember ....

Next weeks schedule:
Monday : Maths club, allotment, dance class
Tuesday : Trampolining, play date, girls haircuts, Brownies.
Wednesday : AP, swimming lesson, Halloween
Thursday : Swimming, yoga/pilates
Friday : Drama, family choir, papers, guides.
Need to fit in a pizza night and one last shopping trip with my niece (Thursday morning/ Tuesday night?).
Yeah I'm sure we can squeeze that in somewhere .......

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What I have noticed from blogging is how much we actually go out and do! Rarely a quiet day but we enjoy them when we get them.
Yesterday I called our day of culture.
We just had the best day. We drove to Hebden and had lunch there next to the river to the sound of a buskers tin whistle.
Then we headed on to Howarth where we saw the Bronte parsonage and visited ye olde sweet shop. The kids especially liked that bit!
Their best memory was us all pushing the car in Hebden to jump start it as it has a dodgy battery.
Mine had to be driving over the moors with the sun shining and us singing "Wuthering Heights" loudly.
We topped the day off by going to watch the RSC perform Comedy of Errors at the Lowry. It was soooo funny and fantastic to watch. And I was sat next to a hunky actor who we chatted to.
A brilliant day indeed....

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

On Friday our home-ed drama group had a trip to the Bradford Media museum. We all went on a coach for the first time together. The teens were singing at the back, the boys playing in the middle and parents sat scattered throughout. It was a fun day.
We spent about 4 hours there and there was lots to see and do.

We still have my niece with us and I think she is enjoying herself. With another teen in the house you certainly notice the constant music and singing but I sing along too. If you can't beat them.....
They spend time learning the dances from High School Musical then they get my sis on webcam and get her to watch. I should try and film it, see if I can blog it.

On Sunday I got to go round the Mind Body Spirit exhibition in Manchester. It was very interesting. I enjoyed watching a guy doing a brain gym with the audience he had. Movements that work both sides of the brain. I'd be interested in finding out more about him.

Yesterday a friend from Bristol popped round. I haven't seen her in 6 years so we had a lovely time chatting. She had never met J and I hadn't met her 2 year old. Her son is 13 and nearly 6 foot ...and I thought my girls were tall lol.

We do have plans for this week, including a home-ed french club so I shall blog those if and when they happen.
But for now, hurrah the sun is shining....

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

It is non stop activity and fun and madness here as usual. Many songs (mostly high school musical 2) are to be heard bellowing out of different rooms. This is not a brilliant house for an introvert but I manage to get a bit of quiet if I need it. I just have to pick my time. 7pm seems a good one right now lol.
On Monday we headed to see Flushed Away for free at a local cinema as part of NSFW. I love the fact as home-educators we can just book for our family and turn up. If I was organised I could see one film a day but I only book films we will all sit through and ones that are local.
We enjoyed the film, it really was very funny. A friend turned up after half an hour as they had got stuck in traffic. We got a few looks from the 3 small school groups that came but hey they probably wonder who we are, why there are so few kids with us, of mixed ages and without uniform. Maybe we should hand out leaflets rofl.....

Yesterday my 2 eldest headed to a private girls school to sit their LAMDA exam. They said it went well and had a nice time waiting in a private office with their friends. Another thing to put in their files then. They get the results in the next 6 weeks. Neither of them appear to get nervous almost to the point of being blase about the exam but I really don't mind. I think they gained as much from the process as the end result anyway.

Today my eldest is 14.
She has had a good day (I think). My niece has made her a cheesecake which at 9.15pm we haven't touched yet! I am awaiting their return from a big shopping centre that I am happy not to have had to trawl round. They are good fun to be with though - they make me laugh.
Today at our home-ed meet up they were filming their own version of the Oprah show in between blaring music and dancing. High energy stuff. They should sleep well tonight then!

Friday, October 12, 2007

I have to actually look at my calendar to remember what we have done.

On Wednesday we had our monthly green team meet up. We did some coppicing and others did some planting and weeding of our flower bed. I will take my camera next time so I can post photos. M had her swimming lesson straight after that but first we had to drop all 40 tools back to the industrial estate. When I got there I had to cart them all into the office as the main guy wasn't there. I felt I had done a big work out that day.

On Thursday the girls went swimming and then we went to Urmston. I returned a faulty clothes airer then we went to a local park. We were told there were lots of fly agarics there and we found them. It is amazing that most people must just miss them and walk past. Even my kids who tolerate my nature madness like finding fungus.

We then headed into Manchester and collected my niece who had travelled up on the train. She is here for 2 weeks and this morning they were all sat round the table doing maths at 9am!! I'm afraid my brain was still a bit foggy to help them out at that time. The only bit of maths I seem to like is working out patterns. I groan at everything else.
It is very lively with another teen here, I like it! I have asked if they will all help us blitz the house this week. I may even get my bedroom painted, that would be good!

Today I traipsed round shops while the girls were at drama looking for kids shoes. I didn't find any though so will have to keep looking. We also managed to do all 3 paper rounds. I roped in D and her friend to do the big 210 one which took us just under an hour.

I am going to slob and watch some telly now. I am part way through my consultation draft but I do too many typos at this time of night so will crack on this weekend.
I had a go at someone on a blog today (not in a nasty way, honest!) and that has helped clear my head and for some reason made me more positive about it all.
It will all work out okay I believe .... but I just don't know how ... yet ;o)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I copied this from the EO list

The Department of Work and Pensions is currently consulting on proposals to get parents off benefit. From next year you would not be entitled to Income Support when your youngest child is 12 but would have to look for work and receive Jobseekers Allowance. From 2010 the age lowers to 7. This effectively makes it diificult to home-ed if you are a lone parent not earning a wage.

EO Campaign site has put together a few links on this

The walkthrough( second link ) includes 2 sample responses. We hope to upload more.

This is what it says on LATEST page

Tuesday 9th October
Department Of Work & Consultation On Changing The Benefits System The DWP is currently running a consultation about the best ways to get parents off benefits. The proposals will particularly affect Lone Parents on Income Support and also parents of disabled and SEN children. The consultation ends on October 31st.

EO Government Policy Group and EO Disability Group will both be making a full official response to this consultation on behalf of Education Otherwise.

However as we have seen with other Government consultations, officials have to sit up and take notice of home educators if a sufficient number of us also respond individually.

Unfortunately there isn't an online interactive form where you can just type in your answers as thousands of us did with the Guidelines Consultation, so we have written a Walkthrough. [ on the campaign site this is a hyperlink ]

If you have any difficulties responding to this consultation please send feedback to:

Roger Pugh
Department for Work and Pensions,
Consultation Coordinator, Room 2A,
Britannia House,
2 Ferensway,
Hull HU2 8NF 01482 609571

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

On Monday a friend offered to have my 2 youngest while I sat with the girls at their last LAMDA class. M and J were very happy playing with her 2 and it was weird going off without them!

I offered to pick up my friends 2 children and take them to LAMDA. Poor said friend J has (we think) got whooping cough for the third time!! She seemed quite poorly with it and had spent the previous night coughing all night. She and her kids only had it 4 years ago so I am amazed she has contracted it. Her homeopath mentioned that she was seeing quite a few cases in vaccinated people. Could the bacteria mutate so the vaccine is no longer effective? Does this mean we could effectively catch it many times in the future.

It has been 6 weeks since Jude has coughed nightly. Some nights are better than others but we are all well otherwise!

Anyway, after the drama class I headed to our allotment with all 4 children. We managed to lay a central woodchip path with me digging it out to create soil for the raised beds. I am chuffed with what I have achieved and have only been 3 times. The kids did more forraging and brought me this tray of delights.

I have frozen many of the raspberrries (the girls counted 177!! lol) and am baking the rest with some apples and making a crumble. But that'll be tomorrow's project as I haven't got on top of the washing up yet and it's 8pm already!

Today we have done leaflet delivering to earn some pocket money, slightly tedious but we don't have a choice as it is sprung on us by our newspaper network and the leaflets have to be done separate from the papers. We probably will only get about £4 for doing that. Which as it takes nearly an hour is not a huge amount but the exercise is very beneficial!!

I did some reading reflex with Molly. I can't say she enjoys it as she spends time yawning and saying her arm hurts etc. I didn't bother with Jude as he said he didn't want a reading lesson. I didn't ask Molly but just called her downstairs. I reckon if I gave her a choice she'd say she was very happy just playing with Jude on the PS2 game they borrowed from the library.

Finally here is a photo of our beautiful Pup Pip that we look after lots even though she lives at my Mum's.
Aint she sweet!!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Ooooh the highlight of my week was watching Kate Rusby at the Lowry on Friday night.

I had been on her website that morning and was alarmed to see she had cancelled gigs on Wed and Thurs as she had lost her voice. I spoke to someone at the Lowry and they said "as far as they know" she was going to be on that night. Turns out she was and it was great. She was struggling a bit near the end and coughing, poor woman but it was good stuff. 1400 people watching and singing some bits! I treated myself to a KateRusby t-shirt - a very happy bunny was I!

I went to the show alone. I bought a ticket for me and some people including family think it is sad or weird to go out alone but I honestly like it. I would equally like company but only if you liked her already would you spend the £19 on a ticket and no-one I know would do that. I did spot my friend and her husband down in the stalls so chatted to them briefly afterwards. But the guy on my door is a volunteer I haven't seen for some months and we get on well so I spent the interval with him. Then another woman came over that I sat with at the training so we were all chatting together.

I had cancelled my shifts recently due to wondering if I wanted to carry on there. I do enjoy it but it is so much effort to organise the kids and childcare before I come out. Last night as A was at guides, D walked the younger 2 down to my Mum's where they watched movies for the 2 hours I was out. This is a rare thing though and not something I am happy with on a regular basis. It all went well anyway and I had a great time and it helped me decide I do still want to carry on there as it is some sort of a social life at least rofl!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

We had an extremely busy day on Monday. I dropped the older 2 for their LAMDA drama class for 10 am at a community centre. They have one maybe two more of these classes before they take the exam on October 16th. I have to get them to a private girls school where they will sit it lol. A is doing Anne Frank. She knows the story but someone gave her the dvd and she doesn't want to watch it. I don't blame her. I cried just listening to her doing the dialogue. I wish she could have done the railway children instead but she is fine with it.

Whilst the older 2 were doing drama I left the younger two there with my friends and I nipped off to buy food for our lunch. We had lunch there than had our monthly session of family choir. Only A joined in but there were quite a few families there so we made a good noise.

A and D were delighted that one family in particular was there as their Dad is Japanese, so they were chatting with the 7 year old and asking about Japanese pronunciation. The little girl wrote their names in Japanese for them. I couldn't get them away when it was time to go!!

It took ages for people to leave and I was a little stressed as I was planning on going to the allotment and was running out of time but as key holder I had to wait for the building to clear. Then the caretaker turned up so I finally got away.

We wanted to go to our allotment plot as someone told me it had been cleared. Hurray! It has a few ground weeds but is quite good. So we spent an hour there on Monday. I marked out the plot and 3 small beds and started digging out the path to provide top soil for the beds. The kids loved it there. About 1/3rd is allotment, the rest, orchard and wild space so they played around. They found a huge old apple tree laden with apples. So in the hour they were there they picked about 60 and the are eaters - cox's I think. So we won't have to buy organic apples for weeks. They have since been devouring them daily and juicing them!!

We headed back there yesterday and the kids all helped carting woodchip to our plot for the path. We made a pile of it too as last time we missed out on the woodchip as anyone can take it. It is amazing how much we have achieved in such a short time. The girls found a lovely big log that they placed at the back. They want to carve their names into it. We are also going to put a bench there and a (willow?) screen behind it to stop the weeds encroaching. A wants a pond so I said we have an old cat litter tray we can bury into the ground. Just have to look at what to put in it now. I plan on us having one day a week there, whenever it is dry enough. It was actually too hot yesterday. But of course as I forgot to bring the laundry in last night it has since rained and looks set to be a grey one today. Oh well we are off to a home-ed group meet and there will be cameras there for the kids to do filming. They love that kind of thing and are very creative.

I need to go and buy cat food now as I have run out and one of the cats is not very happy lol!!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Should any one group represent us home-educators?
I have been asking myself that a lot recently.
Whilst I love our community like any community it has it's share of mixed up individuals who sometimes happen to be running the groups/sites that represent us. Is having a body to fight our cause necessary?

I loved EO. I was so happy to find a national group I thought I could belong to. I have been a member for 12 years but don't feel so strongly about it anymore. I wonder if in part because I feel stronger about myself and my abilities so need the group less.

My friend makes her own home-ed truancy sweep cards and puts the web address for HEAS on it rather than EO. I think the good thing about this is that it has the title of Home Education Advisory Service which at least sounds official and mentions the words home education.

Surely when it comes to dealing with changes in government statutes/laws WRT home-education it IS good to have a group doing some work. Maybe if it was left to individuals most wouldn't bother. I know the recent consultation guidelines probably had enough of us responding but when some estimate that there are approx 50,000 home-educators the majority didn't bother doing anything.

My friend thinks we should make ourselves strong on a local level. Be-friending our MP's and LA's so they can work for us should any change be threatened on a national level.
It s difficult to know what it best.
The problem is that there isn't just one group trying to represent us nationally. People get fed up so start their own smaller group. But maybe that in itself is a good thing.
What are your opinions on this?