Thursday, 15 March 2012

Interviews - part 2!

Well at last we have finished trawling the country to get to interviews.  Can't say I'm sorry as we've wracked up some pretty hefty fuel/hotel/restaraunt bills in the process.

Last Friday it was the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, and on Tuesday we went to the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (Sir Paul McCartneys' gaff).  Both courses are pretty competitive with only about 15 places and around 10 applicants chasing each place.  I am happy to report that Rhiannon has now received offers from both.  All she has to do now is pass her Art Foundation course and decide which place she would like to accept..... a good place to be.

Then all we have to worry about how to pay for it .................

Wednesday, 29 February 2012


And so at last I have been forced to face my nemesis - the fear that the path we chose to take six years ago when we withdrew our children from school may have been a bad decision.  The past few years have proved particularly worrying for me as my eldest daughter reached that age when, if at school, she would have been taking shed-loads of GCSE's followed by  4 or more A levels.  I decided to let her choose her own path at this point...............seriously scary I can assure you!

For those of you who don't know her, my daughter is a very creative person - great at art, acting, singing and music in general.  She did a correspondence course in painting and drawing and then decided at 16 that she might like to go to college to do a level 2 diploma in art and design (a GCSE level course).  To get on this course she needed at least 2 GCSE's at grade D or above.  So she set about studying over 5 months for IGCSE's in English and Biology, which she passed with a B and an A respectively.   She completed the level 2 diploma and passed with a distinction*, but found the course unchallenging.  However, one of her tutors recognised that she had some potential and advised her to consider applying for an Art Foundation Course at Coleg Sir Gar in Carmarthen.  We were pretty surprised at this because this course is post-Alevel but she applied and was offered a place.  I'm happy to say that she has found this course stimulating and enjoyable.  Despite it being an intensive course with a hefty workload she seems to have found her level!

But I digress......always in the back of my mind there's been this niggling doubt that her lack of formal qualifications would go against her if she wanted to apply to University.  This has been my nemesis.

Well my daughter has decided that she wants to study Theatre and Performance Design and so she duly applied.  There really wasn't much to put on the UCAS form.... 2 IGCSE's and a Level 2 diploma!  I really wasn't sure if she'd even manage to get any interviews.  I wondered if they'd just file her application in the bin because she didn't meet the basic entry requirements.  I needn't have worried......she got her interview invitations.  Now all I had to worry about was the interviews themselves and whether anyone would offer her a place!

So far she's been to Trinity St Davids in Carmarthen, and Wimbledon College of Art and she has received conditional offers from both - in both cases the only condition is that she complete the Art Foundation Course.

There are two more interviews to go but I don't feel as stressed about those now.  Looks like her unconventional approach to her own learning and personal development is working.

I guess it might have been a different story if she'd wanted to be a doctor or an accountant, but I suppose she would have directed herself differently if that had been the case.  What I find endlessly fascinating about home education is the way that learning and development happen no matter what. Sometimes when I try to think back about what we've "done" as a home educating family I struggle to think of anything that seems significant.  Yet "it"(whatever "it" is)  must be happening because I see the evidence over time.

I can't help but feel proud that my daughter has felt confident enough to take her own path and not to feel intimidated by common perceptions about what she should or shouldn't have been doing.  She knows her own mind and I suspect that is what makes her stand out from the crowd. Maybe that's also why doors are opening for her even though she may not have quite the right keys!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Enjoying the snow!

One of the joys of Home Education....being able to make the most of the days when the weather's just right for sledging (and hurtling down hills on skateboard decks and body boards!)

Sam is getting pretty nifty at editing video - this is his handy work!

Friday, 11 November 2011

e-petition on Pilot Safety

We're really concerned about the governments new proposals regarding the hours a pilot is allowed to fly.  Please have a look at this you tube video made by BALPA the pilot's union and think about signing the e-petition.  We need to stop this from happening!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Trying again...............:-S

No one ever keeps to New Years Resolutions do they!

Anyway, I just wanted to draw your attention to the blog my eldest daughter has just set up.  I thought it may be of interest to all those intrepid Home Edders out there.  Rhiannon was home educated for 5 years and took a determinedly unconventional approach to her learning!  Despite my efforts at encouraging something different, she insisted on taking only 2 IGCSE's which got her into college to do a Level 2 diploma in Art and Design.  She found the course unchallenging but achieved a Distinction*.  She was then advised by one of her art tutors to "skip" A levels and go straight on to an Art Foundation course.  This was a big leap - the course is intensive and is designed to prepare students for Uni.  At the same time she is busy with violin, drama and opera, so her days are full to bursting.

She is now applying to university to do Theatre Design.  Obviously we don't know if her unconventional background and lack of qualifications will be a problem.  We don't know if she'll get any offers.  But it will be interesting.  And I thought it may be of interest to other home educating parents who are perhaps worrying, as I did (and still do), that home education may not always provide our children with the same opportunities as they would have had if they had gone through school.

Monday, 17 January 2011

New Years Resolutions............

....yes, I know it's a bit late but I never was one to be on time.  I can't believe my last post was last May - that's pretty awful even for me!  But the children are often saying "...oh perhaps you could put this on the blog...." so guilt has finally got the better of me and I thought I'd try again.  It's also nice to look back at things we've done, goes!

I'm sure you can imagine that alot has happened in the past 8 months (oops, is it really that long).  Don't worry, I won't ramble on for long..............

Rhiannon got through her exams (despite everything) and is now at college.  A shock to all of our systems. Despite the colleges somewhat snobby attitude to her when she went to interview, the course is way below her abilities and has been somewhat unstimulating.  It makes me realise just how much our children progress and flourish at home.  She is not at all disadvantged by lack of formal teaching over the past years.  On the contrary........  So I am determined not to underestimate the talents of my children in the future.  I will be pushing to get R onto the course she wants, irrespective of whether she has the formal entry requirements.  As long as she believes it is right for her.  She knows her own limits - because she has learnt to know them.  Having said all that she is still trying to extract as much as possible from the course, especially with respect to putting together a really good portfolio of work for the future.

And what about some other stuff....  Well, Rhiannon, Sam and Jo are now all members of the Clarbeston Road players and performed in this years panto "Snow White and the Six Giants".

                                                          Rhiannon as "Snow White"
                                                                       Jo as "Grumpy"!

They always have a great time at drama!
They are just starting work on a one act play "The Hard Yards" that they will be performing in April, so watch this space!  It's a play about the difficulties a bright 17 year old boy faces and it covers difficult themes like parental pressure, peer pressure, teenage pregnancy, depression, promiscuity...........I'm exhausted!  And all in less than an hour!!  The point is, Jo is too young for this one so it's just Rhiannon and Sam involved.  Sam will also be in the adult groups play "Chain Reaction" which I think is a comedy about house selling (if that could ever be conceived of as funny!)

So, what else?   Well......we enjoyed the pre-Christmas snow..................really not too bad for us compared to January 2010!

Made lots of our christmas pressies including soap (from scratch....interesting piece of chemistry), felt, lavender bags and calendars.

                                                         Detail of Rhiannon's felt cockerel....

Keira took her first ballet exam (!)

We hatched some Bantum eggs for our eglu......

Built scarecrows..........

Painted rocks.......

Went to Fiddle Festivals (well, one anyway...) name but a few things (8 months is definitely too long!)..............

Sam especially spends alot of time modelling, designing and building stuff.........last week he built a replica piston engine out of K'nex...powered by a drill.  Must show you that one when I get around to it!

Life is full of things we do that seem unimportant and ordinary at the time...but then you look back and think "wow, we did OK didn't we?"  Or at least we hope we do.  I won't promise anyone, least of all myself, that I will start blogging regularly, but I will try........for us it seems to be more about creating some king of log of our home ed achievements.  To remind us that it is in the little everyday experiences and discoveries that we actually achieve so much without really noticing.

So what do you reckon.......anyone gonna' take bets.............I wouldn't if I were you!

Sunday, 30 May 2010

And Then There Were Three...

At last I have managed to get hold of a few photos of the one act play that Rhiannon recently took part in with the Clarbeston Road players.  Here is the cast - all teenagers except for one who was just 9!  Don't they look cool!

The play was about a group of young people trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world where no adults remain alive.  The events of the play are tragic and leave only three of them alive at the end.

Scenes from the dress rehearsal.  The play was performed at the Torch Theatre in Milford Haven which has a large stage.  Because of this they were unable to rehearse on the small stage at the hall where they usually rehearse and perform, so they had to rehearse in the hall to get used to the space that they would have available on the day.

Rhiannon wielding a stick............

Publicity photos for the local paper.