Thursday, 30 April 2015

The end..

Of April..
 
So much for my blogging everyday! I've tried to but some days I just really don't feel like it. I spent several hours at the weekend looking for blogs of home educators with older children and found very few, I'm finding that very disheartening to be honest. I feel like we are going to become one of those rare home ed families that home educate to the end. I'm not criticising anyone or judging I know the minefield that is exams etc and the panic of will they get into college? What will happen when they get to 16? But I'm less worried about that now that Bailey has got into college after completing only two GCSE's, he was moved up straight away to the higher level 3 group, which on the entrance requirements should have been for students with 5+ A-C GCSE's. Now he is actually in college I am less impressed than ever with the actual system and if the younger three don't want to enter college I really won't mind. I'm hoping the hobbies and interests that they currently/will have will be enough to carry them into working for themselves, qualifications are not the be all and end all of everything.
 
I do love reading all blogs but things change so much when your children hit the teen years and I'm finding that I want to read how others have dealt with these things. I know its hard to write about your teenagers for fear of embarrassing them and that has put me off writing things about my own teenagers but then my home education blog is not the "real" reflection of home educating is it? I wonder if I wrote about some of the real things how would people react? Its an unknown entity that I to nervous to try. But then I get annoyed that I can't find other blogs out there to relate to, so really I'm just as bad!
 
I'm also finding the adjusting to older children exciting, challenging and if I'm honest a bit sad. I've spent nearly 17 years as a parent and this week for the first time in my life I went to a park (to meet my sister and niece, not just by myself because that would be really sad...) without any of my children! A park that I've spent years driving too, walking round, running round, playing in and it made me feel so depressed! I know I'm supposed to find all this new time on my hands exciting because I probably spent lots of hours wishing for 5 minutes to myself but now I have 5 minutes to myself I haven't got a bloody clue what to do with it! Nor do I feel ready to leave it all behind. I know there are mums out there that can't wait for their children to be off doing things on their own but that just isn't me. I miss it. It is like a grieving process which I'm finding difficult. I realise, of course, that my youngest is only 11 but its the shift in direction. Already he has started asking if he has to come out with us, can't he stay home with Bailey? etc Gone is the boy who gets excited about putting his wellies on and collecting sticks in the woods or playing on the park. Now its "how long will we be?" and "can we have a mcdonalds after?"
 
I've been reading this book this week:

Product Details
 
I've tried several (hundred) books about teenagers but so many are school based and I feel the issues I'm dealing with from my own teens aren't always the same as the ones parents with school children are dealing with. This book is still school based (maybe I should write my own home educated teens book...) but I'm finding it so reassuring. I've had a few moments of clarity already and I'm only on chapter 3! The fact that my own parents were pretty absent when I was going through my teen years hasn't helped. I don't feel like I have any guidance to follow and I suppose even if I did things are so different for teenagers now and the issues as parents we are having to deal with I don't even know if it would help. So at the moment I feel like I'm treading new waters. At the same time, and also with reassurance from the book above, I feel like, so far anyway, I'm doing okay. Up until this minute today none of my children have said they hate me, there's still plenty of time so I'm not being smug about it or anything, it just feels good to know. It also doesn't mean they don't secretly hate me, because let's face it there is a definite possibility that could be the case.
 
Gosh I've rambled on, not the post I was going to make at all for my rounding up of April but hey ho and all that. I feel better for writing it down. I know my blog isn't one of the reveal all blogs that's out there, that probably comes from me being very insecure and not being able to deal with all the comments that might come my way, sometimes it feels like its just us dealing with all these things and then I talk to friends and know that is not the case. I'm lucky to have some really good friends, I don't have a big social circle and home educating has only made that circle smaller. I have to admit I've found the home educating groups just as cliquey as the school groups and I'm finding myself less inclined to want to join in. The fact is that everyone home educates for different reasons, there's no right or wrong way to home educate, everyone is following their own path because that is the beauty of home ed. You follow your children's interests, sometimes your own interests and you live quite removed from the social boundaries that most people do. Even more so for us now hubby and I run our own business from home. The business has even become part of our children's life, they are involved and enjoy being a part of a business we are trying to grow. Piper has been writing articles for the business blog we set up a while ago, in fact she is our main writer at Loki The Confused Horse. I suppose it helps when your business is based on all things geeky and toy related, it might not be as exciting if we sold car parts....most days, if I'm honest, I haven't got a clue what day it is. My week is defined by days Bailey is at college and the weekends purely because we have to go to car boot sales to find our stock or comic cons we have stalls at.
 
I'm pretty sure I've missed my actual point, but I'm not sure I actually even had a point in the first place! I'm just emptying my thoughts on to here, which actually feels very therapeutic.
 
Anyway, the last week we have had a trip to the park for a picnic with friends, it was just Ruben and I and my friend and her little girl J. We had a good catch up and J managed to completely tire Ruben out, such is his lack of energy at the moment, he was so tired when we got home! Piper went to meet a friend in town and Cordelia stayed home to do her art.

A photo of Ruben from the park, I decided to try the #100happydays challenge again after not finishing last year, so this was my first photo.
 
 
Monday we had the dentist, the first time the children have had a new dentist since our old dentist emigrated to Australia last year, he was also a home educator!, we missed him but the new dentist seems good. No need for Cordelia to have braces, so she was thrilled and all her baby teeth are now gone. The last two currently in my handbag as they came out whilst we were out and about. I probably should move them... Piper had another orthodontist appointment where she had moulds taken ready for braces and lots of photos so she wasn't too happy. Just waiting on an appointment from the hospital now to have her 4 teeth removed ready for the brace to be fitted.

We took the girls and Ruben to see the new Avengers film on Tuesday, Cordelia wore her new Link backpack with her Black Widow costume! We never had the children that went out dressed as superheroes and didn't think at 13 this is what Cordelia would be doing but I think its really cool.
 

I love how different my children are, so comfortable in their own unique styles
 

We all loved the film :)

Wednesday, apart from my solo trip to meet my sister and niece for an hour, was a home day. There was IXL, Upwords, Uno and black jack along with my baking of two lemon cakes. Was a good job since one cake only sliced into 5 on the first day. Ruben isn't a fan of the lemon cake.


Cordelia bought new patches for a new waistcoat bought with her birthday money, felt funny sewing patches on to my 13 year olds clothes but I think its cool that she is happy to have superhero patches mixed with bands like Black Veil Brides..


Yesterday we went swimming for the first time in ages, in fact its been so long that when we headed into town to go to Ponds Forge we arrived to find the pool has been closed during the week for the last year! OOOPS, so we headed a bit further across town to a different swimming pool that still had slides and waves. A quick game of table tennis after we came out..
 
 
This morning has been IXL, messaging friends, Minecraft servers and now we are off to see some friends we haven't seen in months. Cordelia has been doing some really amazing pieces of art this week so we have started scanning them into save and Piper has gotten back into drawing and is wanting to design her own fabric, hopefully she is going to get to grips with the bamboo drawing tablet which will help with her fabric design. And that's this week!

Thursday, 23 April 2015

So far this week & Ruben finally gets to hold an Armadillo

This week seems to be flying by so I'm doing a several day catch up:

Tuesday

Car still in the garage so after Cordelia's new bag arrived:


We had a walk to the local shopping centre and library, some lovely warm sunshine made the walk home back up a steep hill a good workout! Back home for lunch, gardening and IXL. We finally picked the car back up just before tea, happy to have her home but rather an expensive trip:(

Wednesday 

hubby and I took Ruben along to a home ed organised group where the children got to handle lots of different animals. I'd asked if there would be an armadillo as advertised on their website but wasn't sure if they'd bring it along, thankfully they did! Ruben has been obsessed with Armadillos since he watched Roar on CBBC a few years ago. He used to watch it daily and he was so excited when we took him to Longleat in June 2013 as that is where it's filmed. He was really sad not to see the armadillos there. 

There were around 20 families and it was in a local church hall so only took us 5 minutes to drive there which was a novelty!

The first animals we met were a Skunk, Meercat and the armadillo!! Mealworms were scattered on the floor in the middle of the circle ready for them to eat:


The armadillo had the funniest way of moving, it kind of skated on its front two legs, so sweet!


The Meercat hoovered up the mealworms in next to no time before the keeper put him back in his cage, he seemed very feisty!


Ruben got to hold geckos:



A snake!


A millipede!



A bearded dragon:


A very shy Python!


A tarantula:


There was even a very rare Fennec Fox which we got to stroke, it didn't like noise though so we had to be very quiet!


He was a bit nervous about the raccoon and wouldn't hold any food in his hand for it but he did bravely give it a stroke in the end!


His absolute favourite though (and mine too, it was SO cute!) was the armadillo:


It curled up in a ball but Ruben didn't mind!

Such a great experience and I'm so glad we went along.

Thursday

Today we were up early for the dentists, vets for Tallulah and to sort Bailey a new phone out. Dentist and vets all went well, healthy teeth all round and a healthy dog!

Back home for IXL, Piper made a skirt from an old dress, Fimo, art, planting in the garden and then horse riding for Cordelia. Ruben taught me to play Pokemon cards in the garden, we also played several games of black jack, loving being outdoors everyday:


Even warm enough for ice lollies!!


Piper doing Fimo, she's in between hair colours today (but I'm loving this mint look) and hubby is halfway through putting a lilac wash on her hair now. This girl loves her pastels!


 I put a red semi permanent on Cordelia's hair yesterday, somedays it's like living in a hairdressers here!




Ruben drew an armadillo picture and wrote out a few facts that he found online:


And that's been the last three days! It always seems so much more when you write it down even though it's only snippets of everything. We seem to be in a really good home educating groove this week, I think the break in Cornwall did us all so much good.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Monday Math & Science


Not the best start to our Monday morning have to be honest, we have the car in the garage for a few days and some other things going off :( but the day quickly (thank goodness) changed its direction and went in an altogether better direction.

We purchased IXL through a home ed deal last week so finally got everyone logged in and signed up, just planning on 30 minutes a day as not done any formal math for a while and it was the girls who requested more math! Sometimes a bit of structure is what everyone needs...

We finally managed to get started on these James Dyson challenge cards, challenge 1 was building a spaghetti bridge that was strong enough to hold 250g of weight. 


Just love Cordelia's face in this photo, she's very confused! It did say patience was required to be fair....


This was Ruben's structure:





It held the bag of 250g of pasta for 10 seconds hurrah!



Cordelia's held much longer but she'd built hers in a different way and it was a bit more sturdy!



Meanwhile Piper and I baked scones from scratch and made a cottage pie for tea whilst they were in the oven. Only hubby and I eat cottage pie so we made potato wedges, honey drizzled chicken drumsticks and veg for the kids tea.



The scones were delish! Reminded us of Cornwall again, and I did notice that they sell Rhodda's clotted cream in Tesco on Saturday hurrah!!


Also today, Ruben began the first piece for issue 2 of Gamingtips, Piper did some pattern designs on the drawing tablet and Cordelia did some hand drawing.



More horses! No pony club tonight as no car.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Birthday Meals

Back to normality today, washing machine on, a walk around the car boots for Hubby and I and the food shopping to do. We bought Mexican food for tea as per Cordelia's request and another birthday cake, two bought cakes for a birthday has not been done in a very long time and I have got cake guilt but I'm shattered! 

Balloons I'd ordered came whilst we were away so we put them up before tea. Funnily enough this was the day Cordelia was actual due but as both of my girls couldn't wait to arrive she came early!


Here she is with her birthday Meal:



More cake!





Ahh she looks so grown up! Xxxx

Friday, 17 April 2015

Weston Super Mare & Home!

We had plans to go to the Eden Project today, I had even emailed in advance and agreed the educational rate for us but when we got up, we all felt pretty tired. Cordelia was feeling super achy from yesterday's beach ride/gallop and we had a minimum 6 hour drive ahead of us so we decided to leave it for another time. We have so enjoyed our brief time in Cornwall and we definitely want to re-visit at some point. So bearing all that in mind, and the fact we were missing our eldest son we decided to head back up North via Weston Super Mare.
 
The weather was a bit cooler but not too bad given that its only April.

The sea was so far out you couldn't even see it!
 

We had a walk around, it was very quiet on the sea front but a really big place compared to what I was expecting.


Looking out to sea:


The old pier which had been burnt down :( we could also see Wales in the background!


We didn't stay too long, we grabbed some lunch and began the drive home. It took longer than expected with Friday afternoon traffic but we arrived home just after 5pm. It was lovely to give Bailey a big hug, all three cats and the dog were happy and well fed and the house was clean and tidy. I'm not surprised because I know he's very responsible but it's lovely to see he can be so mature. I think he has missed us but not too much haha!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Happy 13th Birthday Cordelia!

Its official, we are outnumbered by teenagers now our youngest daughter Cordelia has turned 13!!! She might be a teenager, and is usually rarely awake before 10am but not today, today she woke us all up at 6am to open her presents! She only had a few bits to open as she had already had an early present of an iPhone from us, and mainly money in cards but she loved all her little geeky gifts. Her chosen breakfast was pastries :)
 
 
 
The day before her birthday we had told her we'd booked something she had always wanted to do-a beach ride on horseback. Its something she couldn't do at home because we live no where near the sea! She was so excited but started to feel a bit nervous when we arrived. We had to be there before 10am due to the tide but it was such a stunning location and she got a lovely horse named Red:

 
The view from the stables of Perranporth:


We set off to the beach as the stables said we'd be able to see her riding on the beach. It was a bit of a power walk to get to the bottom of the sand dunes where she rode over. But it was totally worth it to see the smile on her face, even without my glasses on I could see it! They got to gallop-really fast up and down the beautiful beach of Perranporth and even trot into the sea, all the things she has been desperate to try for ages. We managed to get lots of photo's of her and even got to have a quick look around the caves on the beach. It was such a brilliant beach for exploring and I really wish we had more time to explore it properly, a day could easily pass on this beach just wandering in and out of the caves. Hubby found this huge rock jutting out which was perfectly balanced on a smaller rock:


Piper and Ruben would have liked time to explore a bit more but we had to rush back off to pick Cordelia up, two hours flew by!
 

She was so happy when we picked her up and so very shattered. We were so lucky with the sunny weather in April, might have felt a lot different in the pouring rain.
 
We headed back to the lodge so she could have a shower and we could sing Happy Birthday. She had chose a Batman cake from the supermarket yesterday and I had ordered and brought with me some printed rice cake decorations of her favourite band-Black Veil Brides, so whilst she was changing I put them on her cake along with her candles:
 

After cake we headed into Newquay as per the birthday girl's request, she wanted to do some crab fishing in the harbour. I was a bit worried as it wasn't the safest wall to crab fish from but she was fine, she is a big girl now!


She didn't actually catch any crabs though....but she did catch two fish!!!!
 

Piper, Ruben and I sat across from Hubby and Cordelia on a small beach. They got a lot of attention from passers by who wanted to look at the fish! Cordelia even got weed on by a seagull haha, she was very unimpressed but when they both finished catching fish and came over to us we managed to see a seal in the water! It came right up with a huge fish in its mouth, it was too fast to get a photo sadly :( We have been so lucky at the amount of wild seals we have seen this year :)

We headed into Newquay for fresh pasties and some Ben n Jerry's ice cream for later, via the 2p slots again!


Another lucky game for Piper who won yet another keyring and enough tickets to buy her sister some birthday sweets! Back to the lodge for a dip in the hot tub and a "favourite memories of Cordelia" chat. We missed Bailey a lot today. He rang Cordelia to wish her a Happy Birthday and we decided to have a birthday tea for all of us when we are back home.

 
She's had a wonderful birthday, I can't believe she is 13!
 
 Happy Birthday my wonderful, beautiful girl. You are becoming such a wonderful young woman and we feel so lucky to have you in our lives, you bring us so much joy and so many smiles. Lots and lots of love xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx