Home's cool, so Home School!

Hi. This is Romy's Home Education blog. Read about her adventures here...

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Tuesday, November 29, 2005


So, we're at TKD last night and Colin goes over on his ankle during the warm-up. It swelled up straight away and is now going an interesting shade of purple. One of his friends apparently said he should take up something more suitable to his age... like indoor bowling! Cheeky ;o)

Romy's had a very busy day today. She did her handwriting practice and then set about making tons of stuff. She made a beautiful Birthday present for Emily (can't say what it is because she'll be reading this ;o)) She then made a beautiful box to put it in. A collage was made from bits and pieces and added to the already full door. I then stuck four sheets of paper together for her to draw a huge Narnia picture, which is absolutely beautiful. It is going to replace the big Charlotte's web picture that has finally given up the ghost and fallen down one too many times. We've also made lots of Christmas cards for friends and family. They're taking ages as they're being made with huge amounts of thought and love :o)

Denise sent me a catalogue for The Women's Stand today. (Thanks Denise.) Ooooh I LOVE their stuff. I have loads of their postcards in my bathroom. I'd love loads more but just can't afford it :o( Gift voucher anyone? *Looks pitiful and hold out cap* LOL.

Dog's driving me mad walking under the xmas tree and knocking all the bits off. Grrr... Ooh, and I turned the bloody singing bird off. How long was that? One day? ROFL.

Monday, November 28, 2005

First Snow!!!

Must just add these piccies. I'd just finished the post below about feeling Christmassy and lo and behold I look out of the window to see snow ;o)))) Here's Roo and Tilly venturing out for five minutes...

Getting all festive.

We seem to have been very Christmassy this weekend, even down to Romy having the obligatory pre-Christmas cold.

On Friday night we rushed from Roo's swimming lesson over to Barton to their Xmas festival. It was a bit of a wash-out as it ended up raining, but not before we'd had a good look around and Roo had been on a couple of rides...

It was my Brother's and Step-Dad Robert's birthday too so we took pressies and cards. Poor Robert wasn't very pleased though when we encountered some great Numpty standing on the street corner offering to guess your age right or give you a prize. We got sucked in and first my sister-in-law handed over £2 to be told she looked 28. She was chuffed as she's nearly 35. Then my sister was told she must be 18. She's 21. Aaah, thinks me, I know what he's doing. He's saying a few years younger than he really thinks. People are flattered and win a crappy 50p teddy and he pockets the other £1.50!! However my theory was shattered when Robert decided to have a go (yes, my family are a bit mad) and was told 57. Oh deary, deary me, it was his 54th birthday! ROFL. Needless to say he was none too pleased and the rest of us congratulated ourselves on resisting public humiliation and scarpered quick ;o)

On Saturday morning at Romy's Leadership class at TKD she volunteered to come out in front of the class (of children and adults) to lead the student creed. It's something that they have to all say at the beginning of each class and the first verse goes thus: "I shall develop myself in a positive manner, and avoid anything that may reduce my mental growth or my physical heath." All the other students had to follow her and then say "Miss" at the end. I thought my heart was going to burst with pride! She was very quiet, but she did it. Afterwards Master Turner asked her how old she is and when she said six everyone went "aaahh."

On Saturday Colin went on his annual pilgrimage to the attic to retrieve the xmas dec's. If Romy was excited and hyper it was nothing compared to the bleedin' dog!! Her favourite thing to do now is set off a singing bird we have by barking. Hmmm, I can see the batteries may mysteriously 'run out' on that soon and we may not be able to find any more, lol.

While Colin and Roo started putting the tree and lights up I used the rest of the wool left over from making myself a shawl to make Roo some little sleeping bags for her dolls house.

Yes, I'm now the proud owner of a grey Granny shawl, lol. I'll have to get Colin a pipe and slippers now so that we can settle into our old age ;o) Come to think of it, that's a very mainstream set of sleeping bags. I should have done one A la Attachment Parenting. (Denise will know what I mean ;o))

By the time we'd hung our usual mish mash of ornaments and tinsel on the tree it looked very... erm..eclecticic shall we say. 'Nuff said!

Sunday was spent driving round various garden centres, we bought some bread from the windmill in Kirton and went to the pound shop in town to buy Chrissy presents. (Yes, I know we're cheap! Anyway, I prefer the term 'frugal' :o)) We also went to visit Colin's Dad, and that Folks, was our weekend.

We're now going to have a relaxing December education-wise after hearing from my friend the other day that her daughter had spent Friday afternoon at school "Drawing a strawberry." Okaaaaay, less guilt for me when we don't manage to get as much done as I'd like then! An afternoon of Christmas crafts I think (after handwriting practice)...

Thursday, November 24, 2005

I suppose we should start Xmas shopping!

Hmmm.... December in a few days. In fact it'll be Xmas Eve this time next month. Eeek! Have only bought a couple of pressies. Better get Roo's advent calendar out of the attic this weekend and buy some vegan sweeties to fill it up with. Seeing as Colin's going up there I daresay he'll be badgered to get the dec's down too, lol. Oh well, bring it on :o)

Romy and Colin are both doing really well at TKD. I wish they'd get some better heating in there though. I'm sat there hugging the only radiator in the place (which really needs bleeding as it's freezing at the top.) I've also got my coat, scarf and gloves on, so you can imagine how lovely it feels (not!) when I walk out into the night when it's time to leave *Aaaaarrrgghhhhh*

This week we've been getting on with the handwriting practice. Roo's getting there slowly but surely. Today I grabbed a couple of exercise books and told her that one was a story book and the other was a spelling book. She was quite entheused about starting a story about Tilly (from the dog's point of view) being sad that we're going out and then realising she was coming with us, etc. She managed a picture at the top of the page, with a speech bubble (every little counts I tell myself!) and half a page of writing. I wrote the words in her spelling book for her to copy. She sort of ran out of steam after that page though and asked to carry on tomorrow, lol. Oh well, I'm pleased with that as it's more than she'd normally do. I think she has a 'thing' about getting stuff wrong/making mistakes. That's why I thought the spelling book would be a good idea.

We've also done lots of maths; measuring and estimating using a metre rule (tape measure had to do, lol. We don't get funding us poor home edders!) Telling the time, counting in twos, fives and tens, division sums. We've read LOTS. Roo has been reading me stories from a Paddington picture book whilst I've been reading lots of chapters from a huge Paddington collection book I bought when I was 12 (it still has the inscription!) She's loving them and so am I :o)

We've been messing about with magnets and a Disney projector. Done lots of drawings, played board games and done jigsaws. Roo made some lovely Xmas tree decorations at Rainbows and Emily came round to play on Tuesday afternoon. They had a great time playing in Romy's newly tidied bedroom. Well, that lasted for five minutes, rofl!!

Colin had the day off work yesterday. He was supposed to be taking Roo to the museum again for finds processing but when he got up to the frost he dicided to leave her in bed ;o) We had a nice, relaxing day and did not very much. Roo did a bit of work and we all went for a walk to Ashby. I needed to get my brother and step-dad birthday pressies. Not a very easy task. They've ended up with v. unimaginative stuff I'm afraid. Ne'er mind.

We weighed the piggies today. Willow is looking Huuuuuge! He is fully grown now, but because of his long fur he looks really big. Little Toby is 800g, so nearly catching up with his 1kg brothers.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

I out-rank you Daddy!

Well, Colin has taken the plunge (due to a half-price offer and a contribution from his Mum) and started Taekwondo. Romy is delighted to have a two-belt head start on him ;o) He should call her 'Miss' really, rofl! Here they are together:

I must say he's doing really well. We're proud of him. It does, however mean that I may as well take my sleeping bag and pillow to that place as we seem to be living there now!!

Yesterday we went on a Fish Rescuing Mission in the garden. The temporary home for the goldfish (i.e paddling pool) was covered in an inch-thick layer of ice and it was a struggle remembering (and bothering!) to go out and feed them every day. So we decided to bring them into the conservatory (a very posh name for a very shabby lean-to.)We filled the tank with the icy water and set about baling the rest of it out in an attempt to find the fish who were well hidden in the murky water. We found five of the six and feared the other one had expired and been cannibalised until colin noticed it inside the air chambers of the wall of the pool!!! There was water in there as there was a leak but still, it must've got in through a tiny hole and goodness knows how long it had been swimming about in there, lol. Anyway, before we started baling there was the more important task of smashing the huuuuge sheet of ice up ;o) Here's Roo having a smashing time!

I finally finished the rainbow crocheted scarf last night, and it's a monster!! I'm not quite sure how practical it is, but never mind. It'll certainly get the wearer noticed if anyone ever dares to do so ;o)

Roo had a great time at XMA yesterday. Everyone was "Aaaah-ing" at her as she tried to keep up with the super-fast routine. She's by far the youngest in the class and she looked soooo cute! In the words of Gloria the hippo from Madagascar "I could just dunk her in my coffee!"

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Parents of the month!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Surreal, horrible day :o(

What an awful day. Last night we heard banging next door, so I looked out of the window and saw two ambulances and a police car outside their house. They had a ladder up to the bedroom window and were breaking in. It was so scary. We Knew something awful must have happened. A woman lives there with her 13-year-old daughter and her Dad. The ambulance went away after a while without taking anyone away. It turns out that the woman and her daughter are on holiday in Spain and her Dad died on Sunday night of a heart-attack in his bedroom. He'd been there for 24 hours before they found him. Poor bloke. He was so lovely too, and only about 60. I can't imagine how awful it is/will be for them when they find out in Spain and have to come back. It's horrible to think that he was there all that time just a room away from us and we didn't know - just carried on as normal. The poor little dog was in the house too.

You can imagine how weird we've been feeling today. It was bad enough last night going to bed not knowing what had happened. Roo was very scared and didn't want to go to sleep. But today when I had to break the news to her about what had happened, the poor love was so scared. She hasn't wanted to go anywhere without me today. I think the house will feel a bit creepy to her for a while :o( Lots of cuddles and playing have been the order of the day.

We have managed a bit of work though. I ordered a handwriting rescue kit from Brightminds last week. I have to say that it's absolutely fantastic. I'm very impressed (though not with the price. I've just found it much cheaper and with free postage at bol.com!) So anyway, we've made a start on that. We did lots of science today from the Letts KS1 Scuccess book. We also did some mental maths and some fractions on-line at this site.

Before I go, here are a couple of pics of Roo in her new Leadership team uniform.

Monday, November 14, 2005

What a fabulous age six is!

I was just thinking yesterday how wonderful it is having a six-year-old daughter. In countless millions of ways, but specifically in the realm of books. It's that fantastic age where we can be reading Narnia one minute and then switch to Letterland and the Mr. Men the next. I love it! It's nice (but a bit sad too) to have one more read of those old books that Romy is growing out of. Moreover, it's lovely to see by her face that she really is enthralled by the stories and isn't quite ready to let go of them yet :o)))))

So, what have we been up to since Friday? Well, the morning was spent doing lots of work. We did two pages from the Mental Maths Starter Book, Then I read Romy a passage from this book about the Suffragette Dollie Baxter. It was the bit about how the women were force-fed in prison when they went on hunger-strike. We also looked at the time line at the back of the book. I was amazed to find that the Suffrage movement began way back in 1866 and full, equal voting rights for women weren't given until 1928!!!! How shocking is that? The worst bit of all is that it was WWI that really forced the issue and gave the Government no choice really, as women had taken over all the men's jobs while they were away fighting. If they could do the 'heavy' work of men, then they had to be able to vote like men.

We then did lots of worksheets on the environment: One on fossil fuels, whereby Roo had to join up co-ordinates on a grid to spell the words GAS, COAL and OIL. A yes/no questionnaire on energy efficiency in the home ("Are all your pipes lagged?" Er, no.) Matching up natural resources/raw materials with the end product. Some work on endangered species (dot-to-dots, cut-out and stick jigsaw.) We also had the two minutes silence at 11am on Friday. I always like Romy to buy a poppy and to think about the relevance of Armistice Day. It is also the day my Grandad died in 1988 so I like to think of him too.

In the afternoon Nikki and I took the girls and the dog to Twigmoor woods for a nice walk. Luckily we remembered wellies. It was v v v muddy. This didn't stop the girls from wanting to paddle in the lake, lol. Like the liberal (mad?) parents we are, we said yes but just up to the ankles of your wellies. I think Romy was slightly drier than Emily in the end, but no less muddy ;o) The girls made a fairy cake from mud on a tree stump. It was a veritable work of art by the time they'd finished! I took a towel for Tilly's paws but by the time we got back to the car they were clean and dry (?) Why can't children have these remarkable self-cleaning bodies? Lol.

So back home and a quick wash before the swimming lesson. They were doing butterfly this week. After the lesson Romy got to have a little play with her friend Abigail on the way home.

On to the weekend (phew!) Romy had her first Leadership and XMA class at TKD on Saturday morning. She absolutely LOVED it!! Especially the XMA class. The grin on her face all the way through told me she was having an absolute ball. It's like a cross between dance and martial arts, so it suits Roo down to the grownd. They made up a great routine and it looked really good, even after one session. I think they'll be putting on a display at the next graduation in January, so I'm hoping some family and friends will be able to make it to watch her.

After the lesson we went into Brigg to the health food shop and then back to the academy to watch a black-belt grading. A few people we know were going for their black-belts, so we thought we'd have a gander. It was also good to see what Roo will be doing in a few years time. Romy was particularly interested in the board-breaking part. Anyone got any balsa wood? ;o) We also managed a quick visit to see Colin's Nan who is now in a Home in Gainsborough.

Yesterday (Sun) we went accross to Hull with my Ma and Pa to have a mooch around Makro, (so...many...things...so...little...money...) Bought Roo a big box of plain crisps. One-a-day until after Xmas, lol. We were then treated to a very nice meal at The Sailmakers pub on the river's edge. Thanks Mum, it was lovely. There was one tense moment when Romy bashed the side of her head on a railing and her ear swelled up, but apart from that we had a rather pleasant weekend.

Last night when Colin went out I read 20 (!!!!) Letterland books to Roo and listed a couple of things on eBay.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Bye-bye Birdie.

Well the dove was doing ok (apart from the fact that it kept falling over and struggling to get back up) and we were getting quite attached to it :o) However, I rang my vet friend to ask what I should do and she said get rid of it as it may have botulism :-O Eek! So I rang the RSPCA and they told me to take it to Ashby road vets and they would treat it for free. So off it went. I'm assuming they put it to sleep as the receptionist didn't seem at all bothered :o( Oh well, we tried I suppose.

'School' work over the past couple of days has been mainly environmental/nature stuff. We've decided to do a mini-project, although after looking through some worksheets my friend Denise sent me about environmental issues, I'm not sure mini is quite the word! There's tonnes of great stuff there so it might end up a wopper! Yesterday Roo drew a beautiful picture depicting a tree changing throughout the seasons. She then labelled it. She did a leaf cross-word type thing. She had to identify each leaf and write it down in the boxes provided to reveal the word HORSECHESTNUT reading vertically through the words. Later on Romy decided to do some leaf printing, making a lovely tree picture. She also did some leaf dot-to-dots and colouring using different textures.

We've also done some more dictionary work. Romy read several word definitions and then found the right answer in the dictionary and wrote it down. We also found time to do some handwriting and spelling.

Went for a walk up to Ashby this afternoon to buy birthday pressies for two of Romy's cousins. It should be against the law to have birthdays in November and December ;o) My brother and step-dad's are also coming up in November too. Some years I've thought myself very organised and got all my xmas presents early and then had to give them theirs as birthday presents and buy more for xmas, lol. Hmm, no chance of that level of organisation this year. Haven't even thought about xmas shopping yet. Can you believe there's a house near us that's decorated up with millions of lights and stuff already?! In fact it has been for a couple of weeks. Madness!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

More nature than we'd bargained for!

A good friend sent us this great website; www.naturedetectives.org.uk so we spent all day today doing very interesting nature-ish things :o) There's some really great stuff on the site. We printed off a template for a leaf-collecting bag, a leaf identification sheet and a check-list and off we went down the street to look for leaves. Here's a pic of Roo taking a bark rubbing to make the trunk of a tree on a picture. She then stuck leaves on it and drew flowers around the tree. It looks lovely finished.

The backpack contained all the essentials for a nature walk, lol.

Anyhoo, we were walking along looking out for leaves when we saw a collared dove struggling on the floor. I picked it up and started back towards home but after three paces it flew out of my hands. All well and good I thought, so we carried on collecting leaves. On the way back Roo wanted to check and make sure it had gone so we went back to the tree it had flown into. It was on the floor again, just inside someone's garden. This time it let me carry it home without a struggle. Romy was very grown-up and got me the pet carrier and put newspaper in it so that I could put the poor little thing in it. I gave it a pot of water and some wild bird seed and we covered the pet carrier with a towel to make it nice and dark while we rang the vets. They said to keep doing what we're doing and release it where we found it (if it recovers.) We looked at the RSPB website and luckily collared doves eat bird seed. We think it must have been hit by a car or something. It just seems incredibly dazed. It hasn't eaten or drunk anything yet but it seems ok. I've prepared Roo for the worst though and said it's much better for the poor thing to die safe and warm in a box rather than out in the cold and wet on the pavement (probably finished off by a cat.) Here's the patient. Will keep you updated tomorrow.

We did lots more nature work about the seasons from the same site when we'd settled Birdy in.

I was over the moon to get my goddess pendant this morning. I bought it off ebay last week. It's made from wood and I just think it's really funky!

Roo and Colin have just made a choccy cake so I'm off to enjoy a slice now :o)))

Monday, November 07, 2005

Exciting goings on in the world of TKD...

The Powers That Be at taekwondo finally stopped being cagey about the price of joining the leadership team (which includes the price of doing XMA) and told us tonight. I must say it wasn't anywhere near as horrendous as I thought it would be. Another £10 a month and you get loads of benefits. Romy will get a special leadership team uniform and t-shirt, training in Extreme Martial Arts, leadership team class with Master Turner, to be part of the demo team at galas, fetes, etc, and automatic upgrade to the Masters training course at green belt (which would have cost us another £10 a month anyway.) Oh yes and she may get to help teach the Little Dragons class which she seems most excited about out of everything, lol. This is despite the fact that at six she should still actually BE in the Little Dragons! ;o)

Went swimming this afternoon and I nearly caught hypothermia!! I could barely speak as my teeth were chattering so badly and I actually had goose pimples UNDER the water. Didn't know that was possible! Roo and I had to cramp ourselves into a single bloody changing cubicle so it took us even longer than usual to get changed :o(

This morning Romy did some more work from the Dictionary Games book. She had to look up the first and last word listed for each letter in her Dick 'n' Arry and write them down. She also drew a very good guinea pig on an online drawing programme at Art.com.

Off for a long walk in the dark with a mad dog now.

Happy Half Birthday Romy!

Realised yesterday that roo was exactly six-and-a-half. If I'd have thought sooner I could have made her a half birthday card and half a cake, lol (with six-and-a-half candles on ;o))

Off swimming this afternoon which should be good.

I actually spent 1 1/2 hours on the phone to Amanda last night :o) We've been friends since we were 11 (20 years, gawd!) She's my 'comfy jumper' friend if you know what I mean. So it was great to catch up.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Fireworks fun.

Went round to Emily's for fireworks last night. We couldn't stay long as we'd left Tilly at home with the radio on but it was nice. Romy held a sparkler for the first time in years. Don't think she was too sure about that (or the fireworks.) She was over the moon to see Emily again though and the two of them spent much of the time huddling inside watching the display through the window, lol. Here they are trying to force a smile!

Here are the girls enjoying a sparkler...

Today we went to my Mum's for Sunday dinner again. (Lovely, Mum, thanks.) She played pet shops with Roo after tea. She's such a great Nana. Romy's so lucky. Tilly made her poor cat run away and hide again :o( That sixth-sense cats have must've told her Tilly was coming and off she ran. Mum texted me to say she'd been found though.

Bought Roo a magic set from Asda yesterday. It was only £5 but it's great! She had a whale of a time showing Nana and Grandad and my brother all her tricks this afternoon.

Romy's Taekwondo academy are introducing XMA (Extreme martial arts.) Roo is very interested so we're waiting to see how much it is. I need to get off my bum and start earning some money. We really struggle on one wage. All I need is a few reiki clients a week and I could pay for Colin to do TKD too. He desperately wants to. I think the best bet would be to go to client's homes as we have no room here. Watch this space...

Better go. Am going to ring my friend Amanda for a good hour-long gossip. Don't speak to her very often so it'll be good to catch up.

Ooh, BTW, Roo finally got her badges and certificates for swimming on Friday. Forgot to take them to my Mum's today for her to use her machine to sew them onto her towel :o( Might have to actually get the needle and thread out. *Gasp.*

Friday, November 04, 2005

A caterpillar in the fridge!

Last night we used up the last of our organic veggies before the new box came today. I got the broccoli from the fridge and started cutting off the florets. All of a sudden I saw something green and wiggly which made me jump out of my skin! The bloody caterpillar had been living in the fridge on the broccili for six days!! Bleurgh :op' So the upshot is that we now have a pet caterpillar in a jar and I'll be more careful about checking the veg before I put it away from now on, lol. The box today is full of stuff I can't identify. Call me thick (you're thick Hazel!) but what on earth are those red root things that look like ginger? Answers on a postcard please.

On Weds Roo went with Colin to the museum to wash and classify all the artefacts they found whilst fieldwalking the other month. Romy had an absolute ball and came back filthy but happy. They're going again in a couple of weeks. I didn't get much done while they were out; just washed the pots and did a bit of crocheting.

We finished The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and have started The Horse and His Boy. Roo is loving this one already, probably because of the talking horses, lol. I gave her the choice of starting that or having a rest and reading Fairy Treasure by Gwyneth Reese. She chose the Narnia book! Now as anyone who knows Romy will know, Fairies come pretty high on her list of favourite things in the world, so she must have the Narnia bug bad. I blame Colin. It's in the genes, all that D&D stuff :o)

We wrote our review for the book 'Connor's Eco Den' for Education Otherwise the other day. It's a really good book actually. Usually we get sent odd ones and I have to try and write a carefully worded review saying it was rubbish, lol.

Have just got a lovely parcel delivered from Amazon; Alex Parks' new album 'Honesty' and two great books; Circle Round: Raising Children in the Goddess Tradition and Celebrating the Great Mother: A Handbook of Earth-honoring Activities for Parents and Children I looked through them at my friend's house at the weekend and just had to buy them asap. Lots of reading and fun things to do then!

Yesterday, we did lots of 'schooly' stuff. Maths, English, reading, art and history. We read a cool book called Vile Vikings from the Smelly History range. It has scratch 'n' sniff panels (some of which I REALLY didn't want to whiff!) We learnt lots and were particularly horrified at the practice of sacrificing slaves, horses and dogs to send with 'important' people to the afterlife :o(

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

November already???

Gawd, where does the time go!? It's feeling very Autumny today all of a sudden though. Me, Roo and the dog went out for a long walk today and there was plenty of crunching through leaves, which was nice.

We've done quite a lot of 'school' work over the past couple of days. Just some of what we've been up to:
-Two pages of division sums using counters when needed.
-Two pages of Ladybird 'dictionary games' book. Alphebetising by first letter, and then by second letter.
-Filled in scrapbook diary with photo's and momentoes of recent happenings.
-Romy read me 'Green eggs and ham'.
-We made some lovely Christmas cards with gold and silver card, stars, ribbon and Sizzix die-cut santas.
-Did lots of geography using Usborne flag sticker atlas of the world. We stuck the flags in for all of Northern Europe and talked about the poles, the equator and the different climate conditions each country experienced and why.
-Had a Halloween picnic last night with Daddy.
-Roo helped me to bath the guinea pigs. Willow and Toby were not too perturbed at their first experience of being washed, surprisingly!
-Practiced writing the numbers 0-9 to try and eliminate the last dregs of mirror writing ;o)
-2 pages of maths sticker addition.
-Read a Janet and John book.
-Read more of The Loin the Witch and the Wardrobe.
-Roo read lots of books to herself on her bright pink beanbag next to the bookshelf.
-Had another go at teaching Roo to crochet.
-Went to Rainbows and Taekwondo.

Tomorrow Roo is going out with Colin to the museum to wash and classify all the finds from the feild-walking they did recently. I'll not know what to do with myself! I haven't any Aromatherapy work to do, so I might read my Reiki Masters manual which I've been meaning to do for months!