Friday, 28 August 2009

In which we discover when it is OK to throw oneself off a bridge...!

The answer................when you are jumping into a river dressed in a helmet and life jacket, and someone who knows what they are talking about says it is safe! Still doesn't sound like a good idea to me though!

However, it turned out to be the highlight of a day out with our newly formed HE group, Kayaking in Llandysul!

Rhiannon poised for action

Oops - missed with the camera

Sam at the ready

I think he liked that.......!

I thought you were supposed to use boats or something.......................

Monday, 24 August 2009

In which we consider the joys of new houses, cardboard boxes, home education, more boxes, slugs, boxes, broken computers and much more....

So, we've done it! After 3 years of planning we've moved into our house in a Pembrokeshire village, 30 minutes from the coast.....bliss!

"Are you all settled in yet?" people ask! "Well you have been in for nearly 2 months".................actually NO WE'VE BARELY STARTED!!! Can't think why really!

Things don't look too bad on the surface - you can move around the place fairly unhindered and I know where all the important things are (like the tea and the wine glasses...). Just DON'T open the door to the garage ...................that's where we shoved everything! Still, I'm feeling optimistic - I reckon about another 3 years and we'll have sorted that lot out and perhaps dh can get his van in the garage (if it hasn't already rusted away).

The thing is, home education is a full time job in itself, so when faced with unpacking and all the hassle that goes with a house move it can all be a bit taxing.

Then there's computers....what is it with them? My dh carefully unplugged our PC, lovingly packed it away, moved it himself to the new house just 15 miles or so down the road, carefully plugged everything back in and hey presto - it wouldn't work. WHY?????!!!!! It has taken 2 months and a gazillion phone calls to get a little man from New Delhi to sort it out for us!Aaaaarrrggghhhhhh! Like we have time for this!

That said, it's nice to be back in our own place again. Here are a few pics as requested by some...

The house

Part of the rather small garden!

The neighbours.....

It all looks very neat and tidy but don't be deceived. For example if we don't take some immediate action re: the windows they'll be rotting in places given a year....all 26 of them! Eek!

Then there's the plague of slugs in the garden. The other day Rhiannon found the quail feeder full of them - evidently they love layers pellets. It's a good job I haven't started my veg plot - it would be decimated by now! ("What's that?" I hear you say, "no veg garden yet? What can you have been doing these last 2 months....?!")

Oh and then of course, there's the boxes......

Still we've been trying to regain some sense of normality. The children have decided they want more structured work to do!! Some IGCSE courses are beginning to creep in for the older ones....! But there's still lots of informal learning going on too and I think that's where the best learning happens!

Then we've been getting back to art courses long forgotten!
Still life in pastels

Sam sketching (complete with pastel all over his forehead!)
Then there's been lots of cooking.....
Home-made burgers

And there's been a birthday for Jo..........

Rhiannon has been busy - she has recently joined a local theatre group which she is really enjoying. And a real turn up for the books..... she has now started thinking about college possibilities for the future! It's taken a while to get to this point but I wanted it to be in her own time. How many of us were "bullied" by careers teachers in to making decisions about our futures long before we were really ready? I know it happened to me. On paper I was the model student - just 14, and a career path all mapped out. I never gave it another thought - just went from one qualification to the next until I reached my goal........only to realise at the age of 22 that it had all been a big mistake. I'm not suggesting I can stop this happening to my children nor that sometimes early vocations do not become successful and fulfilling careers. I just think that if I hadn't been so pressured to make career decisions at such a young age I would have probably taken a very different path. Anyway, enough of me......Rhiannon has no definite plans as yet but I think she has finally decided the broad area she would like to study more seriously. So she's now trying to find out what qualifications she may or may not need to move forward. I just need to find the balance between letting her find her own way and giving the right amount of support and encouragement. I'm always afraid of pushing too hard in my anxiety to make sure she does the "right thing". She's not a terribly "driven" personality and admits she needs a bit of a nudge sometimes. I just don't want to be responsible for "nudging" her into something she doesn't really want.

The boys are still surfing - they passed their level 2 British Surfing Association Awards a couple of weeks ago, so they're having fun with that! They're also making some new friends in the village and are enjoying the greater freedom they have here to go off on their bikes and explore.
Well that's a quick run down of our goings on.....trouble is I always leave the blogging for so long that it seems like a daunting task and there are too many thing to say. So once again I'm promising myself to make more of an effort....!
We're off kayaking tomorrow so will try to remember to put in a report ;)

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Fairies never go to bed.....

....according to my three year old! She has been walking around the Botanic Gardens of Wales all day dressed in a pair of fairy wings and a sparkly crown. We had a lovely day pond dipping, looking at what we'd caught under microscopes, and later, den building. A day when HE seems right and purposeful, when everyone is happy and learning by default.

Then later, I had a comment from an old "friend" on Facebook about HE and the proposed monitoring arrangements which were frankly derogatory to all home educators. The implication being that we were all lazy and just "couldn't be bothered to send our children to school". I was angry and upset, not just for myself but for all the many selfless, hardworking home educators I have met over the past three years. Maybe I've been lucky (or just oblivious) to have not encountered such prejudice before, but it brought home to me just how unaware most people are as to the law regarding education. How narrow minded people are. Sad to realise how people cannot see that everyone is different, so that a "one size fits all" style of education can never work. I am not in any way critical of those who send their children to school - I did it once - but how dare they criticise me for choosing to fully exercise my responsibility and right to educate my children in the way I see fit!

It only makes me feel more determined to make HE work for my children for as long as they want it - if they want to return to school then they know they are always free to do's part of the deal.

Anyway, I'm sorry to rant, but I feel injured by this attack - I guess I need to toughen up.

To explain why I haven't been blogging.......we have finally moved to our own house - it's been a stressful year with two moves, but hopefully we can get settled now.....and I can get blogging!