Home's cool, so Home School!

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

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Holiday and (hopefully) an educational epiphany!

On Friday we came back from a lovely holiday at Centerparcs in Sherwood Forest. We had such a great time. Most of it was spent swimming, as that was the only free activity. The best moment for me was being in the outdoor (35 degrees C) pool at 9pm looking up at the huge moon and crystal-clear stars whilst the steam rose up around us. A very cool thing to do in January methinks :o) The stuff memories are made of! Romy and I did an Introduction to Belly Dancing class which Roo enjoyed and I found to be absolutely fantastic! It has inspired me to find a nearby class and learn to do it properly. Colin and Roo did an archery class and that was about the limit of our finances, lol. It was soooo expensive! Luckily we got a good deal with it being January. Could never have afforded to go at any other time. We'd definitely go again though.

Some pics of Roo:

Feeding a swan outside our patio door. The first morning I opened the curtains and a swarm of ducks, squirrels, swans and birds (including loads of tame robins) came speeding towards me demanding I feed them all our bread... Oh, ok then, that was me being soft as usual ;o) That swan even took to 'knocking' on the window with its beak when it wanted feeding, lol.
The squirrels were just as demanding and tame. This one looks as though it's going to bang on the window any second, rofl.

Romy feeding it yet more tidbits. Best fed squirrels around, they were!

On the 'Bridge to Terabithia' near our lodge.

Looking at (and feeling) the Braille map.

Snowdrops and fully-opened daffodils in the woods.

The fire-beaing station in the woods.
My gorgeous girls playing and looking out for squirrels.
God, I'm lucky!! How amazing are they???
Beautiful Woodland Sprite.
Hilarious sign in the tiny boiler room :o))))
The score (in favour of Romy!!) for a game of air hocky. Daddy lost - yay! ;o)
Taking some time-out at the Jardin Des Sports.
Beautiful sisters. Inside and out.
Romy receiving some archery tuition.
This is harder than it looks!
In the village square, about to go late-night swimming :o)
Steamy camera lens, sorry! Bathing beauties.
When are we going into the big pool? ;o)
Having a splashing time. Romy became a veritable mermaid whilst there. Went swimming twice a day, every day!
The last supper. Veggie nuggets, fries and Sprite as a last night treat. There were tears on the way home, but she was philosophical :o)
A caterpillar found on the floor inside on the last morning. Apparently it was photo worthy, rofl.
Back home to reality on Friday and a really messy house as usual. Time for a serious de-clutter and decorate I think. Need to clear my surroundings as it affects my stress levels. Fed up of living in a jumble sale, lol.
A couple of ideas have merged in my head recently, been stewing and finally melded themselves into what I hope is a workable Home Ed idea. I've been struggling recently (well, to be honest that's a huge understatement) with finding stuff for Romy to so which sustains her interest and makes use of her natural abilities, but doesn't involve too much writing - which she hates :o( Quite a tall order, I'm sure you'll agree! Anyway, I believe (she says, tentatively) I may have a workable solution.
Some background: A couple of weeks ago Romy had to do a three-minute presentation for her drama group. She had a week to prepare it and she absolutely LOVED the whole process! She chose to talk about guinea pigs (surprise surprise!) Props such as piggy food, hay and photos of our pigs were used as she explained about their care and went through each of the eight we'd had as pets (ironically, Scrappy died the next day, so we only have two left now.) Anyway, this was the first little light bulb to switch on in my head. She seemed so enthusiastic about the whole process of deciding what to say and imparting her knowledge to others. It also made use of her most amazing talent; namely, her phenomenal memory.
This brings me to the second part of my idea. For months and months now Romy has been obsessed with the sitcom Black Books. It was televised a few years ago and we have the box-set of the whole three series'. In all there are 18 episodes and Romy can reel off whole episodes word-for-word. She has a quote for every occasion and has us in stitches with her dead-pan delivery and natural comic timing. I really don't know how she does it, but she's always been the same. I remember before she was two. There was s book she loved called Hannah's Helpers. She'd heard it so many times that she could 'read' it out loud without being able to read iyswim. Her intonation and timing were perfect. I remember we taped it because it was so amazing! Her vocabulary has always been unbelievably well advanced for her age. She uses words I didn't understand until I was in my late teens in the correct context. However, she struggles with writing. In all honesty I think it's all just too slow for her as a form of communication. She prefers speech and imagination - boy, has she got an amazing imagination!!
So... I finally come to my idea to radically shake up the boring routine we've fallen into of me nagging Romy to do some 'work' (usually something dry and boring from a workbook that she, quite rightly can see no point in) and her taking three hours to do something she's quite capable of doing in ten minutes because she's too busy talking to herself, watching Tansy, or singing, rofl. It suddenly occured to me that a better way to utilise her talents and bring back that eagerness to learn is to set her a topic to research (or get her to choose one herself) and give her a week to find out as much as she can about it before delivering her findings at the end of the week to us. I think that deserves a smile :o) She is really keen and has chosen to do "Centerparcs" first, lol. She'll be able to use the PC to find out everything she can about it. Look at pictures, brochures, ask people and use any other primary and secondary research methods she can think of to find out her info. I'm really hopeful that backing off about the writing will do the trick and mean that she'll turn to it maturally herself like she did with reading a few years ago. Watch this space! I'll try and update each week about her topics.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Yule, Christmas, and a Wintry Walk...

On the Friday before Christmas we went over the Nikki and Emily's house for a lovely day of Yule activities. I was well impressed with the stuff that Nikki had arranged for the girls to do, despite being ill with the flu' - SuperHomeEducatingMummy!!!!!! Here are the girls making special bread that we all put lots of wishes into. It tasted lovely!
Romy's turn to stir...


Then they decorated the God and Goddess figures for Solstace...
The finished Goddess...

Tidying away before a story...

Listening to a fascinating story about Yule...
Finally a special cave was made for the God and Goddess figures to 'live' for a while. Complete with candles. Looked fabulous!

At the weekend we nipped over to Gainsborough to visit Colin's relatives. Whilst there we dropped in at Marshal's Yard; the new shopping centre. Romy isn't very impressed that this Christmas tree now stands where her beloved fountain was over summer, but you must admit, it looks rather amazing in the dark! Here are a couple of pics of Roo standing in front of it...

Christmas was spent with me having the Lurgy :o( I tried my best to be there for the kiddywinks, but it was hard. Romy was fantastic as usual and was more interested in whether I was ok than in being cross I was missing everything. I love her so much. Have I ever said that? Lol.
She got some lovely presents, including lots of lovely craft sets for us to get out teeth into. Here are a few pics... Opening one of Tansy's presents for her ;o)
Opening her strange 'breathing' life-like dog from Nana - her favourite present I think!
Our special present - a giant fairy puppet :o)))
A quiet, contemplative moment...

We went for a lovely walk to Normanby park in-between Xmas and New Year. With out new camera I managed to get some fabulous pictures too....
Romy in front of a dead, gnarled tree...
Do you think fairies live here?
Let's have a look :o)
A tree ghost!!!!!!!!
Bridge to Terebithia..?
Spooky tree.

Pet cemetry.
It really wasn't that dark and spooky. Weird!!
Romy's favourite steel sculpture. She loves to make music on it :o)
A view up into a tree.