Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Lovely!! The end is in sight- don't you just love those first few moments of sun every year-you can almost feel your petals unfurling in the sunshine. I had been working them all quite hard though.....actually no... I'm not taking that....I was working quite hard and they came and joined in and were really helpful. We were picking up chunks of old render-trying to clear the flower beds in the hope that some of the perennials might survive and trying to get rid of as much as possible into the builders skip before it disappears (hopefully today). The scaffolding went yesterday..... Just need some guttering doing now

Anyway kids were rewarded for their help with lunch outside followed by ICE CREAM- the first of the year (read the last handful kicking about in the bottom of the freezer).

FI dancing along to the computer! (Green Balloon Song Time- mummy often dances too).
We do use computers in our approach to HEing - which is heading towards an unschooling principle (with a little suggestion and strewing) not fully self regulated usage- but then the needs to share as a family require a little adult negotiation to help the shrieking along! They use a fair amount of cBeebies- which I am quite happy for them to negotiate their way around- sometimes wish it wasn't Quite so easy to get to iPlayer though. Then the bigger two use Education City and Reading Eggs- sometimes one is more popular than the other- sometimes with me sitting with them, sometimes hovering in the background.

We have just invested in an iPad- so are playing with apps and the way for the children to get some mileage from this too (avoiding out and out games at the moment)- so far we have added a drawing pad (picture below is SJ astrosaur 'Tank Tank'- The Seas of Doom) and some time telling and fine co-ordination activities. They also have some classics like Hangman, Connect4, picture sudoku and some basic matching games. We'll see how this goes...... Am definitely learning that everything is flexible with HE and approach that works one minute -has to be adapted the next time....

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Surprise Spring cleaning and house changes

 Turn your back for five minutes and........
Really don't know where I was and quite how I missed the quiet surruptitious bucket and wipes collecting but thought all seemed quiet and entered the childrens bedroom to find.....them washing the walls and ceilings- perched five feet in the air, leaning across a large gap. "Mummy- we are spring cleaning to help you"- well what can you say? Am thinking of selling their services to the NHS as wall cleaners- hee hee! Serves me right- we had been having conversations about feeling the change of seasons coming and traditions associated with season change.
 SJs Viking ship - built from the Lego Ideas book- obviously in multicoloured brick rather than nice colourmatched/appropriate bricks- but I was very impressed. Took him a fair while too. Other than lego we have been gently working on introduction of multiplication (2,5,10s) and time telling- specifically introducing the idea of the digital clock alongside the analogue clock. We did debate this long and hard- as to whether this might increase confusion- but it seems to be working OK so far and he seems to understand the divisions into five minute segments better- and lets face it - an awful lot of the outside world revolves around digital clocks these days!
The work on the house continues and has produced some interesting off cuts and the children spent a whole day (with daddies tools!!!) building various models out of the (very expensive, experimental) insulation- this is FIs rocket ship - very impressive and only led to one cut finger! FI has also been very interested in Maths- also having a go at basic multiplication of 2s and is getting quite good at subtraction. She really enjoys 'formal' workbooks (possibly a girl thing??) and insists on having things 'marked' and has been shooting through a few recently.

Anyway the house is progressing- top coat of render done- just the guttering and tidying to be done. Lookuing forward to the builders going off site now and taking their skip and scaffolding with them! Then I can start to properly tidy and feel like my garden belongs to us again!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Scientific experiments!

Hmmm- small experiment- is it possible to blog in the back of an ambulance??
If so this would be good as I have been out all day today and am now bored on the way back to base- so writing blog drafts would be a way to fill this....

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Random Pictures to cheer myself up.......

 Celebrating the small amount of snow that we had a couple of weeks ago.
'Bob the Builder' at work- mixing real concrete to build with his real bricks!

And the reason for being down- builders, mess and no privacy. I seriously doubt our garden can be the same again or that they will clear up all their rubbish. Am tired of feeling 'on display' and living in a goldfish bowl. Am tired of trying to decide how often to offer drinks- in fact tired full stop.
But then February is always my doldrum month....roll on spring.............

Friday, 10 February 2012

Inside projects....

 We are rather fastened inside at the moment! After digging up the driveway (quagmire) of last post and now having builders in- scaffolding, piles of insulation, piles of chipped off render, tools, abandoned mugs as well as the general muck! Am not sure the patio can ever be the same again- it might need scrubbing in spring!! Rather means that the garden is out of bounds......but does mean there are interesting things happening out of the window! Anyway we have been doing some indoor projects.
FI has been desparate to move her  sewing skills on from the type of project where one merely overlocks around pre-printed/holed felt- yet we have tried simple cross stitch (seemed simple until trying to explain counting cross stitch-as they didn't have the pattern printed on)- so I found this little kit, which, whilst pre-holed felt, involved placing different bits together to 'design' her bag and then blanket stitching around (needed a lot of help and unpicking and re-sorting- but we got there in the end)- and one very proud and happy little girl- especially when Daddy announced that he didn't even know how to do blanket stitch....
 We are having a 'science' focus this term- using some kits (strewn!) or suggestion- sparking interest with visual things like the volcano (vinegar + bicarb) and slipping in explanation..... We have put together a 'Weather Station' and have started a notebook log- excellent for measuring skills!!- ohhhh so sneaky- but we are struggling with best placement in the garden- balancing exposure to weather- with the need to traipse across the really muddy area which totally cakes the wellies and then falls off to make the porch a mud hole! We have also looked at the Water Cycle and evaporation and condensation- making clouds in glasses (using ice and boiling water).
Found this lying around......saying it all really- love you too SJ.........

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Busy busy times

 Well part of our new years resolutions was to get on with the house- so we did. Part of what we inherited was a sort of 'in and out' drive- with dodgy tarmac and dodgy levels and water that didn't drain away from the house- as well as being totally open to the busy road. Sooooo the plan- get rid of dodgy tarmac and sort out the drainage away from the house- make standing for three parking spaces andf turn the rest back to garden that is fenced in (front garden reclaiming!!). However the reality is that the dodgy tarmac was actually laid on two previous layers of tarmac- so we have ended us excavating around a foot of tarmac by pick axe and bucket. 8cu yd skip filled and I ACHE! Poor DH deserves to ache at least five times over- as he did the lions share. My hands were being ripped to shreds and I am at work tomorrow (poor babies do not deserve sandpaper hands on them!!)- so I stopped......
 Tis even fuller now (and the snow is thicker!). Next step is to take out the dying hedge (slight shame- but the level changes make it a necessity) and sort fence and a gate to block off one end- then to look at what space we have left- and then we can PLAN!
Isn't it hard being three years old?? At that 'missing my afternoon nap stage but can't really have one without waking at ridiculous hour in the morning' - still sometimes wakes at ridiculous hour anyway!