Saturday, October 27, 2007
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
April - June
Renovating our old house to sell. Must have done something right as we sold it within four days and for the asking price so no complaints there then.
Packing up far too much stuff, giving loads away on freecycle and making too many runs to the local tip.
Very tearful and heartbreaking goodbye to friends and family.
Arrival at our rented property in Fife, a lovely property with stunning views over the Firth of Forth.
Spent five hours in BT pay phones trying to get a phone connection, eventually succeeded and after moaning about appalling level of service got three months three rental as compensation.
Friends and family visited and we spent some very enjoyable days exploring Fife.
Bought a house with very interesting internal decorations - yes more decorating looms on the horizon.
Pursued by former Education Authority as children have been classed as missing persons; that's what you get for being open, honest and fully transparent. I have made a formal complaint and received a sort of apology. I will post the whole saga shortly as it maybe of interest to other home edders who are about to move.
September - today
Had a well earned break in the Lake District in between stripping wall paper and knocking out a wall.
Tuffdy, Thea's six year old guinea pig, died - very sad.
Moved house again this time courtesy of a man with a van and us with a Luton box van - not something I want to repeat unless we loose about fifty percent of our belongings. Oh and in between all this we have been doing some home education including learning Latin - so salvete omnes.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Finally feeling well enough to post. Our household with the exception of Nigel has been hit by a particularly nasty strain of the flu virus. After feeling wretched for almost a week the kids and I have decided that we are not attending anymore home education events that are held indoors as they appear to be breeding grounds for some very nasty bugs. This is the second time that we have all been quite ill after attending such events. I can't understand why some parents think it is acceptable to take their sick kids to events and spread their germs around the rest of us. Well we have had enough if they won't stay away we will. Just in case anyone thinks I am being unfair and that we could have picked the germs up elsewhere you only have to look at the evidence. We are not the only family to have been hit by the offending bugs after attending the two events. The incubation period from initial exposure to development of symptoms also ties in with the event dates. So I have to say the evidence is pretty strong. Well rant over and on to other things.
RANT FREE ZONE
My mum recently purchased two very good kids books from The Book People which deal with the physical and emotional issues of growing up. I am well impressed with these publications despite their pink for a girl, blue for a boy stereotypical covers. Thea has read the one written for girls from cover to cover. Just wish they had been around when I was at school much more informative and far less embarrassing than any sex education lessons I had to endure - still cringe now thinking about them.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Monday, February 12, 2007
On Sunday we decided to go for a walk with some friends. Although the weather was misty it was noticeably warmer than earlier in the week. After 12 years in a wardrobe and a rucksack the Kissu (storm shelter - perhaps best described as a tent without poles) was finally put into action. The kids had great fun trying it out and it made a cosy retreat for our snack. Even the dog joined in on the fun - see last photo. Can't imagine what any passing hikers made of the whole episode - must have looked very strange!
Today we went to the first meeting of a home education group in Durham and had an enjoyable time playing games and making valentine mobiles. Lets hope the group is now able to build upon this successful first meeting. There is certainly a need for more of these types of events across the North East region.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Just heard from Nigel we are emigrating to Scotland. Guess that means the DIY will be stepping up a gear. Perhaps its time to write to DIY SOS with a desperate plea for help. I think I could live with the embarrassment of appearing on TV if it meant everything was finished in a weekend.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
We have been exploring the concept of triangular numbers - a number that can make a triangular dot pattern. Good job I bought the Primary Maths Dictionary as I don't remember ever doing triangular numbers at primary or secondary school. After working through some examples Thea rushed off to get a box of Tobelerone and swiftly arranged the sweets into a triangular number configuration. Thea then raised an interesting point - how can 1 be a triangular number, it doesn't make a triangle. After some consideration she then said if the dots were triangles as opposed to circles that would work, see picture below.
Friday, February 02, 2007
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Monday, January 29, 2007
With this great interest in snails we have been taking the opportunity to learn more about their anatomy and physiology. I had a vague recollection that snails were hermaphrodite so looked up snails on the web and found this interesting bit of information on the BBC Science and Nature web pages:
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Friday, January 26, 2007
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Have just subscribed to Enchanted Learning for a year, I have been thinking about it for a while. Seems good value at $20 (£10.42).
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
The pantomime we saw last week has inspired Thea to write a play of her own - Ping and the Appalling Pong. The play is about a giant with a windy problem. A group of villagers set off to kill the giant because they think he is stealing their electricity but find he isn't responsible. All ends happily when the villagers harness the methane gas and use it to produce green energy. Very funny especially the "Eh bye gum, I smell the pump from a giant's bum!"
Monday, January 22, 2007
Nigel gave Thea a National Geographic magazine and she was quite taken by an article titled - Meet The Dikika Baby, A Three Year Old From The Dawn of Humanity. Her Discovery Holds Clues To The Origin of Childhood. The 3.3 million years old fossil skeleton was discovered in the Afar Badlands in Ethiopia. After reading the article we spent sometime locating the area in an atlas and marking it on our large laminated map of the world, a useful resource acquired from our local freecycle group. Looking at the map must have created a spark in Thea's imagination for she announced she was starting a project that would involve her soft toy fluffy taking a trip around the globe, or more accurately the large laminated map. She then promptly made a miniature version of fluffy to stick on the map. Fluffy's starting point for his travels is the little known Island Jan Mayen.
Jan Mayen Island
Jan Mayen is a volcanic, desolate, mountainous island named after a Dutch whaling captain who discovered it in 1614. The island, which is under Norwegian control, lies 950km west of Norway and 600km north of island.
AREA - 377 sq km
CLIMATE - arctic maritime with frequent storms and persistent fog
TERRAIN - volcanic island partly covered with glaciers
NATURAL HAZARDS - the most recent volcanic eruption was in 1985
VEGETATION - some moss, grass and fungi
POPULATION - no indigenous inhabitants. A crew of 18 man the Long Range Navigation Base and the Weather and Coastal Services Radio Station
ANIMALS - only birds
TEMPERATURE - winter average 5 degrees Celsius, winter average -5 degrees Celsius.
James has been enjoying exploring the https://jam.bbc.co.uk/ BBC Jam Web Site, in particular the science section. This morning I received in the post the Interactive Weather Presenting Kit from the Met Office (Key Stages 2 -4). I think I will have to spend some to getting to grips with how it works!
Friday, January 19, 2007
Old Fashioned Mustard Recipe
1/2 cup of white vinegar
1/2 cup of dry mustard
1/4 cup of water
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs beaten
In a saucepan mix vinegar and mustard. Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to slow boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until thickened, about ten minutes. Store in fridge. Makes approx. 370 gms.
Also found a web site giving lots of recipes using Coleman's mustard. I think we might try the vegetable curry. The site has an interesting section telling the history of Coleman's Mustard in words and old photographs - well worth a look.
- A one acre field of mustard produces 1 tonne of seed, which produces 880kg of mustard flour which produces 4760kg of wet mustard, which produces 47600 jars of mustard.
- The word 'mustard' comes from the Latin 'must' (much) and 'ardens' (burning).
- It is believed that mustard was first cultivated in India around 3000BC and came to Britain with the Romans.
- Mustard was first used for medicinal purposes.
- Over 3,800,000kg of mustard is sold each year.
James (that's my James not Mustard James) has just read Hi! Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold, he really enjoyed it. I have just reserved him the sequel Super Fly Guy. It is lovely to see him so chuffed when he reads a book with relative ease.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Weekly Rations for a Family of Four
6oz (150 gms)tea
6oz (150 gms) preserves
1lb 8oz (600 gms) sugar
9 pints (4.95 litres) milk
12oz (300 gms) cooking fat
1lb (400 gms) cheese
6oz (150 gms) butter
9oz (225 gms) sweets
6lbs (2.4kg) pulses
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
This morning we finished cataloguing all Thea's books and the library had its official opening with the cutting of a ribbon. Before lunch we visited the village library to check out the numbering system of the fiction and non-fiction books. We were surprised to find that the fiction books had no call numbers but were merely arranged in alphabetical order. We asked the librarian if he could recommend a web site that might provide a more detailed list of the Dewey Decimal Classification numbers. He suggested we look at the cilip (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) web site. I've had a quick look but haven't been able to find anything.
Whilst we were in the library we bought some tickets for Snow White, which is being staged in the church hall by the local amateur dramatics group. We are all looking forward to seeing it tomorrow evening as their productions are usually extremely good.
On our journey home from the library we decided to walk back through the fields and along the river bank, it was lovely. Nell enjoyed a dip in the river, too cold for us.
We spent the afternoon baking and looking at the box of books from The Book People that Nanna had bought us. I am particularly impressed with the set of How To Guides that tell you everything you need to know about the hottest topics in the world today. The Usborne Big Book of Things to Draw looks pretty good too.
The fruit scones and marble buns turn out well, there are very few left! No news on the job front so I guess that's a non starter and its time to move onto the next opportunity.
I have received a letter in a House of Commons envelope, confirmation of my 10 minute meeting with our local MP. I am going to speak to him about the DfES consultation on home education. Hmmm given the generous time allocation I had better ensure I am well prepared.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Thea wanted to set up a library using her many books so we spent most of today looking at book classification systems and creating an Access database of all her books. Found a really good site that explains all about the Dewey Decimal System. The Dewey Decimal System was created by Melvil Dewey, a librarian born in Adams Center, New York, in 1851. He died in 1931 but his Dewey System legacy continues to live on in libraries all around the world.
At about 1.00pm we got onto the A1 near Sedgefield and were hit by severe cross winds reducing our traveling speed to around 45 miles per hour. The gusts were very unnerving particularly when we crossed the Tyne. AA route finder calculates that a journey from Middlesbrough to Aberdeen should take around 5 hours 16 minutes this obviously does not take in to account extreme weather and towing speeds!! With the Forth Road Bridge and Tay Bridge closed to any vehicles except cars without roof boxes we had to cross the Forth via the Kincardine Bridge and the Tay near Perth. The congestion on the Kincardine was horrendous due to roadworks and all the redirected traffic from the Forth Road Bridge. Needless to say with all these problems it took us slightly longer the 5 hours 16 mins.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Yesterday the LEA Home Education Advisor returned my phone call. She seems very friendly and was able to update me on progress regarding accessing library books marked schools project and the setting up of exam centres for private candidates. All sounds very positive, fingers crossed these things become a reality very soon - the wheels of local authority or not renowned for turning quickly.
Called in at the library yesterday afternoon and picked up a children's abridged copy of Jane Eyre for 30p in the book sale. Thea was really please as she has been wanting to read the book after watching the BBC series last year. I also got a book - Picasso's War: the extraordinary story of an artist and a painting that shook the world. The painting in question is of course Guernica, I was always fascinated by this and his other pictures as a child. I am looking forward to reading the book, I think I will take it with me to Aberdeen to read in the evenings.
Last night we experimented with making salt scrub and produced something that was quite acceptable. Followed this Lavender Salt Scrub recipe minus the sweet almond oil and vitamin E because we didn't have any.
I was really touched this morning when I found a blog comment from toe-by-toe-man, I have been checking out the web site and found lots of really helpful tips, thank you Keith and keep up the good work.
I have managed to find a caravan site at Inverurie so if the weather doesn't deteriorate too much we should be able to accompany Nigel up to Aberdeen for his interview. Must get the van packed now if we are to leave by 10.00 am tomorrow, I reckon it will take us a good six hours to get there. That's if we are not blown away on route - the weather forecast is looking slightly worrying.
This afternoon we met up with other home educators at the Planetarium at Wynyard Woodland Park. The one hour show about space was excellent and I think we will be making a return visit. Afterwards we had a lovely walk along the old railway line and through Thorpe Wood, it was very tranquil. Well I'm off to finish the packing and then I will have to clean the guinea pigs out before they go on vacation to a friends.
Monday, January 08, 2007
1. 6 bottles (these need to be all the same if it is to be a fair test. We ended up using Grolsch -bottles as I couldn't find any others that were all the same. Its a good job Christmas has just been otherwise I think we would have struggled to find enough bottles).
2. Dried yeast - enough for half a teaspoon per bottle
3. Warm water
4. 6 balloons
5. Measuring jug
6. Various sugary liquids (we used apple juice, orange juice, treacle, mashed banana, lemonade).
1. Fill each bottle a quarter full with warm water
2. Add half a teaspoon of yeast to each bottle
3. Fill the first bottle half way full with one of the sugary liquids
4. Fill the second, third, fourth and fifth bottles with different sugary liquids. Make sure you add the same amount of liquid to each bottle.
5. Fill the sixth bottle half way full with water. This is the control.
6. Put a balloon over the opening of each bottle. The ballon that inflates the most will show which liquid produces the most carbon dioxide.
We decided to check our balloons at 30 minute intervals. Initially the banana mixture produced the most carbon dioxide, followed by the treacle, apple, lemonade, orange and water respectively. After several hours the treacle solution had produced the most carbon dioxide followed by the orange, mashed banana, apple, lemonade and water.
Next bread making day I think we will look at why gluten is important.
On a trip into the village to buy balloons for our experiment Thea spotted Issue 1 of The Art of Knitting, special offer 99p. If you want to learn how to knit its a good buy, with Issue 1 you get a set of 4.5mm needles, two balls of yarn, and a DVD showing you how to knit. The DVD is very straightforward and easy to follow. Even if you don't buy any other issues this one is worth getting. Thea has taught herself to cast on from the DVD.
This afternoon I spent time with James going through his Toe By Toe work book and Letts Maths Basics. His reading is definately improving but his fluency is still not what it should be. However, the main thing is he is happy and he now sees that he can read.