Sunday, November 25, 2007

Party Time!!


Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Click this to see a video of my boys dance at Church (it's too big to post directly here). Joel is at the front and Jake is tucked away behind him at the back. Enjoy!!


I just thought you might like to see these beautiful princesses of mine :-)

They were just home from a friend's party and I couldn't resist a picture of them all dressed up so lovely!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Yesterday was the start of our non-book week. Unfortunately Ellie and Caleb seem to have developed a bit of a head cold so they have been a bit clingy, but we still managed to do some stuff. Yesterday we did our usual Bible Study in the morning, which atm is reading through Samuel in their 365 Bible Stories book and then chatting about the story and trying to see what we can learn for ourselves from it. However, a couple of times now A & J have asked me how they can know the Bible is true and not just a made up fairy story, so I ceased the opportunity to have a conversation with them about that and at the end of it was fairly convinced that neither of them have any really serious doubts about their faith, they are just stretching their spiritual limbs! I reassured them that there is no problem with asking these questions and that God welcomes a questioning mind - we should earnestly seek The Truth. It was a fruitful conversation J. Following on from that we made a jigsaw of the British Isles (the kids are into Geography puzzles atm) and then moved onto Art. We were going to do some of out 'Indians' project but the printer needed ink so that was kyboshed. Instead we studied 'form' in Art (last time we studies 'shape' - this time 'form') and produced these… (in order me, A, P and J)

And to end off the day we made some Chocolate Chip cookies J

Today was a little less full of variety but still a good productive day! We did Bible Study and then cut out some party hats for E's party on Saturday. Moved straight on to our Indians project then and learnt about Western Apache Wikiups and Jicarilla Apache Tipees today. The kids are really loving doing this and the end result is so pleasing and rewarding for them. If you want to see more pictures go HERE

Tomorrow we are doing some more of it but moving away from 'accommodation' and starting to learn about 'lifestyle' and 'survival'. We might make some Brownies too (I am cheating I have a mix, but the kids still enjoy it all the same!)

Just to let you all know too - I've added some more lapbook pictures here, mainly of last Christmas' Grinch Lapbook and The Girl's 'Merry Christmas' one, but also there is 'our Body' one which the kids did yonks back. Nothing new - but I've only just taken the pics!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Today was one of our non-book days so we spent the majority of the day putting together this 500 piece puzzle. It works well with both our current studies on Greece (in history) and Contintents (in geography). I woke up this morning with idea of doing puzzles today - thinking quiet, busy activity that El also loves, but it was the kids idea to do this one and I agreed it was a fantastic idea. El even joined in when she got back from playgroup and put together Poland all by herself. It was a great exercise in team-work, problem-solving, spacial awareness, geography...
It's on a jigroll to be brought out again and looked at as needs be.

These are some of our other creations this week. They are Hoplite Soldier's shields - part of our project on Greece. They are supposed to be scarey! Do they scare you?! We are using EMC History Pockets and this is part of the second pocket on Military Power. We are only just starting out on Greece and will be doing it for some time as we only do it once a week and that only for an hour, but we'll have fun along the way.

In order of Author; E, A, me & P. I think I like P's creativity :-)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

We Made Fimo...

Monday was an inset day for Jake so we had an 'activity' day. Actually he had a heap of homework to do for Tuesday that hadn't got done over half term due to everyone one of us, in turn, being ill with sickness and that coupled with 'Ogre the Top' kids half-term holiday club at church (based on Shrek 3 - with a twist!). So anyway, to break up the bordom of pages of comprehension we spent a couple of hours creating this... our teddy bear's picnic :)

The pieces were made my a variety of children. Phoebe made the roses, the balloon, a couple of cupcakes and the snail. I made the purple bears and Boo made the cherries, tomatoes, sandwiches, the lying down brown bear and then the pink one with a bit of help (he lost an ear almost immediately). Joel made the yellow bear, two cupcakes and the picnic rug. Jake made some fruit, the bowl and plate and generally fiddled a lot!

This is my little bear!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Just for Fun!

Thanks for that Tim!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

So ....

How do you all like my template then? I found my old blog template, although I think I've lost a couple of links and some are out of date, so if you spot something that doesn't work PLEASE let me know and I'll put it right.

As we draw near to the end of this half term I can honestly say it's been a good one and seems to be working well atm with my new system.

Mon-Weds are 'normals' days and to be fair are pretty intense - but difficult to make them any less so with 3 primary age children, all at very different levels and with different needs and abilities. Thursday is a more fun day and has been a good mix of music, art, typing, 'Socially Speaking (PHSE), languages, cooking and other hands-on type stuff. Joel has resumed his interest in learning the piano (until this week when it started to get harder!) and A & P have started learning the flute. I am no professional flautist (self-taught actually), but I can certainly get them up to a level at which they can choose whether or not they want to continue. A has a good grasp of it and a reasonable tone already. P is stretched to reach the keys in all fairness, but she definitely has potential to be good. I think she has the makings of a good embouchure. We made an art gallery up the stairs after we made basic 'frames' for all the 'best' pieces they have all done over the last year or so, only they won't stay up with blue tac (any tips for making heavy pictures stay up on walls without pins?).

Then in week 4 we made a start on THIS BOOK and are thoroughly enjoying doing it - and playing the little models that result. It really is very good - perfect level for all of them which is a rare thing! :-) We also have the NorthEastern American Indians and the Mayflower one in the series, so we could be doing these on and off for a while to come. I figured it was a more fun way to do the 'exciting' bits of American History without going into too much nitty gritty that they will never need (and I can learn a bit from it too!) We are all looking to next term as we will have two 'non-book' weeks in which to crack on with this project. I wish there were more time in the ordinary weeks to do it, but with all the playgroup runs int erupting three of our school days and the kids liking to have good long breaks at lunch times, it makes it next to impossible. Great thing about it is that it is virtually (maybe even totally) writing free, so that makes it a real winner with Joel. There is lots of colouring but he doesn't mind that especially when the results are so pleasing.

Aside from all the fun we've been having, some serious school has been happening too...
Phoebe is now on lesson 50 of Headsprout, using 'Easyreadingsystems' too, and breezing through the beginnings of Jolly Phonics - anyone think I'm trying to teach her to read? She seems to need these multiple methodologies to 'get it in' . It seems to me she has very similar 'retention' & 'retrieval' problems to Jacob. She doesn't have the behavioural difficulties that he had at her age, but the struggle seems strangely familiar (although he learnt to read with ease). That said she IS getting the hang of it and is happily beginning to see the fruits of her own labour :-)
A is generally making steady progress across the board. She's a plodder and generally loves to learn - which on the whole makes her a pleasure to teach, although sadly I am not always as patient as I should be with her and when I am not she rushes and her work is then messy. That said - I don't think she is ever going to be the neatest of workers, her motor skills don't seem to be so 'finely tuned' as some of her siblings (iyswim). But she is a bright happy ray of sunshine in my classroom - MOST of the time!
J is doing well generally too, although he is still a slow reluctant writer (hmmm boys...) and he just did poorly in the 'revision' test at the end of MPH 3B (I use this as a measure of how well the concepts have been truly learnt) and we are going to have to go back over it I think :-( First we will us my SPMG Heinemann books that I got from Amazon, for a change of pace, style and 'feel' and then hopefully when we go back to SingaporeMaths it will feel more like review than even it would just now and he will breeze through it and then on to the next level. I think a lot of it is to do with age. He seems to have difficulty applying himself atm (to much 'jump' in him!) and is constantly wandering around. I do give him plenty of 'online' activities to try to keep his interest and motivation levels up, but the three of them have to share one laptop, so there is a limit..!

Some of the sites we are regularly using atm (aside from the reading ones);
Educationcity (on going favourite)

Smartkiddies (complete online maths curriculum and drill - FREE)


poissonrouge (for the littler one)

Starfall (lower primary ages)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

New Template

As all the images suddenly disappeared from my blog I've uploaded a new template, but forgot to copy the old one for all the links, so unless I have it backed up somewhere I shall be busy adding to this for a while! Hope you can see it OK everyone - the old one never worked well with FF anyway, and this seems better :-)
I'll write an update soon too - suffice to say we're ticking along and doing OK!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

It makes me want to cry!
When I look at my blog I want to cry these day because our babies rabbits are no longer L. We had a fantastic family holiday in London - some of the 500+ pictures we took can be seen HERE - don't worry I only uploaded about 60, just to give a flavour.
Just before we went away Beth (mummy rabbit) gave birth to yet another litter - yes Mr Rosie had done his thing before we got them separated so it seems - but she only had one baby so we feared it would not survive. When we left it was two days old and seemed OK although Beth had become a bit 'nippy' and didn't seem to want to let us anywhere near the other babies to let them out into the run. The day after we left my friend texted me to say that the little one had died and should she bury it - which she dutifully did under the tree at the back of the garden. But then it got worse! On the Friday morning H arrived to feed the rabbits to find Beth's hutch open and empty. She found Beth in the garage and managed to put back home, but she could see no sign of the babies. She texted me and put up 'missing' posters - just in case, but we feared the worst (i.e the ginger tom that hangs around too much for my liking and/or Beth rattling her bottle enough to loosen the hutch door). We returned home on the Tuesday and the first thing we all wanted to do was find the rabbits. I went on a quick hunt round the garden and sure enough found the remains of three under the trees at the back - I cried and the children did too then. Later that night I picked up what I could (more to stop the encouragement of vermin) and the next morning we said our goodbyes! It was very sad - they were SO tame, so well loved and SOOO cute and cuddly. We were really looking forward to sending them off to good homes on our return from holiday. These were the last pictures I took;


The whole clan.

Liquorice (Joel's favourite)

Make A Tombstone Memorial
As it all ended so sadly we think we will breed the rabbits again - more for the children's sake, although some of the homes they were going to have now already gone and bought rabbits elsewhere - there were children waiting for them
L, so we'd need to find some more interested homes for them.

As you can see, the grey was named Blueberry in the end as his shade was apparently Blue-grey, so it worked!

Other than that sadness, we had a great holiday and now it's all done and dusted and we're back to school. Had a tiring but OK week getting back into the swing of things. My schedule for the year is no less busy, but hopefully a little less intense than it has been in the past. We are aiming to have Mon-Weds as 'book' based 'normals' days (that is txtbk/wkbk - maths, English, science, etc…) and Thurs as a non-book day (that is all the extra curricular stuff) like art, music, French, IT etc… Also every third week will be an 'activity' week where we lay aside all books of the 'normals' kind and focus on a one week project or read together lots - that kind of thing, all of which has often been neglected here through over commitment of precious time. So this year I'm aiming to MAKE room for it even if it means a little less of the 'normals'! Hand in hand with that idea we are only doing two days of maths and two days of formal 'English' work - the kids are at least up with their peers, if not about year ahead, so I shouldn't feel under any pressure to hassle them silly when it comes to these things - which I know I too often do. This is 'chill' year - well - maybe! It will be if the kids can play by the rules, follow the instructions they are given and keep my life as simple as I plan for it to be - so it sounds like it might not be so chilled as I might hope for!!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Five Little Bundles of Fluff...
...have now been named;
Honey -the light honey coloured one,
Brandy - the brown one (my fav!),
Liquorice - the b&w one,
Treacle - the all black one,
and (currently) Pasta - the grey one - we couldn't think of a grey food or drink - any suggestions?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Quick Catch-up Milestones Blog

Life seems to have been a little hectic (and I joined Facebook too which hasn't helped ;-) ), but things have been happening here…

Firstly - C is potty trained - YEAH!! No trouble at all and very few accidents so far (that's about 10 days or so) J. He seems to be beginning to go dry at night too, so I'll give him another week and try without a nappy.

Secondly our two 'female' rabbits have had babies!!! So evidently they were NOT both female of course and 'Mr Rosie' is a Daddy! Beth is being a good Mum and the five kittens are rapidly growing. They were born last Saturday and are already looking very cute. We appear to have 5, although we've not poked around too much to be really certain, but today they seemed to have moved the fur off themselves a little more and I defiantly saw five; one grey, one black, one black & white, one sandy coloured (I like the colour of this one) and one a light honey colour (also lovely). The one you can see best in the pic' is the honey one. The plan is probably to re-home 'Mr Rosie' and keep one of the baby girls if we have one and can be sure of it's gender - which apparently is not always that easy!!

Thirdly; P is beginning to read quite nicely now, mostly thanks to the excellent Headsprout Program she has been following. She has completed episode 40 yesterday and is very pleased with herself - as am I with her J. She will carry on to 80 over the summer & I've added in flash-cards now for 'tricky' words. I may still cover Jolly Phonics very briefly in the Autumn if I feel it is worth it still and we are not too far beyond it by then. It is good for learning the 'rules' of reading and writing imo - and I believe they can really help later on when more skill is required.

What else..? Well, N is near enough going through the night: 9pm - 5/6am most nights and then dozes again 'til 7 or so, but occasionally goes right through til then without waking if he is not too hot (ie on the cooler nights when he doesn't get thirsty). He feeds a lot in the day but I can cope with that seeing as he sleeps at night - even if I still don't coz I'm working/playing on here J !

We have P's M&D here this weekend and they are taking the kids out for day trips (in twos), so A&P went to Ironbridge today - yes despite the rain - and had a good time it seems J. The big boys are destined for the Boat Museum and Catalyst tomorrow (both nr Elmsmere Port) - we hope! And Monday they are taking the littl'uns to Telford Wonderland, which I think they will enjoy J. Just praying for a little more fine weather…as we all are I'm sure now the holidays are here - sigh!

Just another couple of snaps from Jacob's school Fun Fest at school last night - the only fine day in weeks and it was a lovely evening too, so the kids had a ball! Jake had wet sponges thrown at his head in the 'stocks' - he loves that and A&P were thrilled with their balloons J.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Our Daily Jaunt...

Thought you'll might like to see our little daily walk. C loves to walk home & they always ceate some game or fun thing to do. This day was floating leaves in puddles :)

Natty smiles for the camera!
Enjoy :)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Learn to Read at Starfall - teaching comprehension and phonics

This is a free reading scheme - American but very good. I have E playing with the ABC's just now and I'm going to start P on the 'learn to read' bit as I feel she is about ready for it now :-)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

As if the Children don't get distracted Enough!

Look who came to visit us yesterday...
After a little investigation, it seems (s)he is a racing pigeon who has een blown off course by the fowl weather and has landed in our garden with exhaustion. We have been instructed to feed it up for a couple of days then shoo it off so it flys home.
Trying to work with a pigeon who decides it want to take up residence under the table (instead of the garden) was nigh on impossible!! Later on it sought refuge behing the piano in the lounge and didn't come out till all was a little more peaceful!
It slept the night on our drive - near it's sunflower seeds and this morning went back to the garden, but I haven't seen it much this afternoon, so maybe it's already flown home...But it was fun while it lasted :-) The kids called him 'Fluff' - who knows why?!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Another Great Resource Site...

I was looking for some 'venn diagram' work for Jake tonight (as he failed to bring home the set task) and it had to be on 'nature and animals' and in the process fell upon this website! It has some fantastic books, but the teaching activities for 'parents and homeschoolers' is fabulous and could easily be used aside from the books themselves as part of a unit study and/or lapbook type project. The 'for creative minds' section is lovely too - so don't miss that bit! And best of all - all the extras are for free :-)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


In our little make-shift fish-tank pond we have baby frogs
. Last night we saw the first one - the one in the picture, and today we saw three more. There may be more yet as we have lots of very fat tadpoles which may still develop. The frogs we have are varying in tail length from none (this one - which the kids have named 'Amphi' - hmmm - that's original J), to still quite long, so I'm guessing they have not long morphed and we may have lots more morphing to come! So now we need to feed them and in a week or so may need to return them to the stream from whence they came before they start hopping all over the garden and thinking they can head back here to breed next year! I think we'll keep the breeding in the stream J

We really didn't do much for this pond except make it as much like a natural pond as possible, which wasn't hard with an outside tank. There has been an ample supply of natural rain-water (except for the odd dechlorinated top-ups at the beginning when we had a few hot weeks), to the point of needing to remove some water as tadpoles apparently like it shallow and spacious as opposed to deep and confined. We added; (1) a bit of original-pond weed that has survived well and which came with it's own supply of pond creatures to boot, including water snails, weird things with shells (like leaf shaped crabs - very strange looking things) and other minions of water mini-bugs which have made great fodder for the bigger tads and froglets. (2) lots of silty mud which the tad's like to burrow down into at the bottom of the tank. It came in off the stones from our garden which the toddlers seemed to think were a necessary addition, no matter how hard I tried to stop them (from fear of contaminating the tank)! And (3) the odd feed of goldfish food (apparently tad's love it - they did seem to J - and it apparently prevents them eating each other as it is a good source of protein for the froglets, and now (4) fruit flies for the mini-frogs, attracted by a few ant-eaten strawberries growing/rotting in the flower bed nearby!

The frog is so small he was very hard to photograph, but I hope you can see him OK J

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Really Cool Game...

Hap'd upon this game and got hooked! Go have a look!

Puzzle Pirates

Friday, June 15, 2007

UnCut Video - "Baby Breakdancer"

UnCut Video - Now Playing "Baby Breakdancer"

Check this out - it is very funny - and gifted!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

My Meez

Monday, June 11, 2007

Happy Birthday Caleb
(2 today)

I'll blog more about our day another day - too tired tonight!

Saturday, June 09, 2007


I've been tagged twice now, so here goes (in between feeding my thirsty baby!) ;


The rules are simple…. Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

  1. I trained as nurse after leaving college at 18, but it was never a vocation that I loved. When I felt called by God to train as a midwife I bulked at the idea, but it turned out to be the job I loved. That said, I was pregnant with JA before I finished my training. I worked for a bit after I had him, while my Mum looked after JA at home, but only until I was pregnant with JI (about 9 months in all). I really did love midwifery and hope that one day, when my family is complete and all raised up, I will be able to return to it. Ideally I'd like to work independently, but that might mean forfeiting an NHS pension (if there is such a thing by then) because I didn't work for long enough 'in the system' to hold it down the first time around - they gave me it all back when I left. The thought of having to work within the confines of the hospital system might stifle me I think, but all the same the women there need pro-natural midwives just as much as those who can afford to pay for one! Well, time will tell… It's a long way off just yet - I've a newborn to see into his teens before then!
  2. I grew up on a council estate and with a staunch resolution to not let history repeat itself (if you want to read more about that you need to read this; I am From… ) and am achieving that end to date!
  3. I LOVE the sunshine, but it doesn't love me. I get headaches and sunstroke if I spend too long in it L. But I equally love to take a walk on a crispy cold winter's day - especially in the snow!
  4. I have had six fantastic homebirths and would have made that seven if not for a shortfall in the NHS system up here! But none the less - seven uncomplicated, beautiful memories to hold onto. Each individual and yet strangely similar. Each without pain relief of any serious kind (discounting water and a TENS for the first three). But I do not claim that childbirth is painless (it is so NOT), I just maintain that it is bearable if your body is allowed to do it's job the way it is designed to - without the interference of pain-relief, noise, bright lights and nagging doctors & midwives who can't stand to see a woman in pain and who seem to think that it is a bad' thing as opposed to a normal thing (to name but a few factors)!
  5. My house is always a muddle, but that is only to be expected I guess. In my mind I would love to me more minimalist, though in reality that is never going to happen - even when the kids are up and gone. I simply couldn't do it I don't think. I like 'things' too much - I just don't like to have to look at them all the time! When I was a kid I wanted to live as a 'hermit' type person - in a house without utilities (no running water, or electricity etc…), on the side of a mountain away from civilisation and noise. I wanted to grow my own produce and live off the land. BUT when I moved to Nantwich I missed all the shops I had been used to in Colchester and struggled to get used to the compactness of small town living. So in truth - I guess it's the idea of the ideal that I love, but the shear hard work of the reality of it makes it much less appealing. J Can't imagine the kids going for it much either!!
  6. My dream is to live in the Lake District…I wonder when… (guess I'd need to learn to drive before we ever did that though - the buses are not so great up there!)
  7. I can't drive L despite having had three sets of lessons that have got me 'nearly' to taking a test each time, but I've never quite got there. Now if I ever do learn I'll be driving a 9 seater with 7 kids in the back - which scares me witless!
  8. I am committed to allowing God to determine the size of our family - so watch this space - there are likely to be more children at some point in the future!, BUT, I am also very content with the 7 blessings I have and in my natural mind would be pleased to stick with this number. We have a great balance of boys and girls and ages, so I'm praying that Nathanael might be my last.., but "not my will…" At any rate, I have a lot of weight to lose before I want to be pregnant again - each pregnancy takes it's toll on my already overweight body and I need to not put it under that strain again until at least a couple of stone has come off!


Hmm - now who to tag…






Monday, June 04, 2007

Nathanael's birth story is posted!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Me and My Big Sis!

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One Week Old!

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Birth Story...

...might get finished tonight. I've tried to finish writing it several evenings, but it's not easy to find the gap of time when baby and/or other children don't need me and when I have enough energy to bother with the laptop! But Nat' is a very good baby so far and everyone here is very happy with him. I will try to post another 'week old' photo up later. I am recovering well too and was able to get to church today - although I was wiped out by the time I got home. Need to go feed the little one...

Monday, May 28, 2007

A Little to 'fill you in"!

I'll post all the 'details' on my birthstories blog, not that there's really that much to tell. Nathaniel is gorgeous - peaceful and quiet (so far) and feeds like a dream. I ended up having in him in hospital, but only because there were not enough midwives to cover a homebirth on Saturday night. They had enough staff on duty for a normal night, but an unusual number of women in labour and a few with complications. That left one m/w to each three women - and certainly none spare to leave the hospital! Anyway, all went well and I was home before I was missed by any smalls. Other than none of them getting to watch, which was a bit disappointing for P & Joel, everything was fine and the amusement of a new baby has more than compensated J.

I'll post up the story sometime tomorrow. Too tired tonight.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Baby Nathaniel Judah has arrived!

9lb 6oz

All went well.
Will blog more later :)

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Just to let you know…

…there's no baby yet! I am now a week over (as per usual for me) and getting more uncomfortable by the minute - also normal I guess! Baby seems quite happy though and at least we have chosen names now J…but I'm not telling! The kids are all too keen for baby to arrive too and like me praying hard each night! E says "it's a boy, but I'm going to call him Becky!" - hmmm - that'll be interesting! I'm pretty convinced it's a boy too, but I'm definitely NOT going to call him Becky!

I've had some contractions - regular and irregular, but they come to nothing. I'm OD'ing on Raspberry Leaf capsules - to no avail atm. Curry…no thanks and it's never worked for me before. Sex…too uncomfortable (hips are past it!!). Black Cohosh…well you'd think that might do the trick, but no! Pineapple…(well juice anyway) - too acidic to eat it. Stairs… I sleep on a loft bed! Haven't tried scrubbing the kitchen floor yet though..! So - any more suggestions!?!

Kids are coping well with our make-shift school and being very accommodating of my tiredness - bless them. I've assigned them 'games' for a couple of days and today they've been asked to write a story today. They haven't done that for ages, so it'll be good & interesting to see what they come up with. I find it is sometimes a good way to gauge how well all the 'bits' of other English fit together for them and how well they can actually put a piece of writing together. Not a bad end-of-half-term thing for them to do. Wow! One more half-term of this school year to go - I can't believe it.

I guess that means I need to start looking into school resources for next year soon, not that I think we need a great deal - thankfully! My resources seem to gradually be becoming less 'consumable' and more 'reusable' (thanks to sites like homeschoolestore!), which is a good thing, but obviously maths and a few of my English resources have to be replaced. I also need to make sure I have the right materials in for P next year - so JP
workbooks and some next level S&S books too. She has been whizzing through the material I have, but the last couple of days we have been working on 'how many more?' & 'how many less/fewer?' - you know, where she has to match objects one-to-one and see how many don't pair-up to work out the excess? She has really struggled with it. I am not sure if it's the maths she doesn't understand or the language? Her comprehension of language is very similar to Jacob's (interestingly, because they were both late talkers too) in that unless something is blazingly obvious, she often can't make sense of it. The less than/more than concept is possibly a bit too abstract, so instead of telling me how many more/less bones Scamp has than 'Dog', she just tells me how many Scamp has in his bowl. She can see than 'dog' has more/less in his bowl, but doesn't understand that the excess of un-paired bones is the number that she needs for the answer to the question "how many more/less does Scamp have?" Lots more practice needed there. Strangely though, she can easily do a subtraction. So presented with four birds on a branch and two flying away she can tell me - 'there are four birds to start with and two fly away - that leaves two." Which is why I don't think it's the numbers that are the problem! So, when we've finish the S&S materials we are currently using I think we might start with Miquon Orange (which Boo is currently finishing off after a long break - and finding easy I might add
J ) because I know that the first part of that works on one-to-one counting and object-number recognition. P can count beautifully (as far as 15) and does understand that '
1' means there is one object, but it's getting beyond that and making the numbers malleable that we need to work on and making the concrete work with the abstract. That, I think, is the strength of Miquon - it encourages abstract thinking even in those to whom it does not come naturally - like ME! And alongside that I will get the Reception level maths books from S&S (instead of Singapore Earlybird) and work with the concrete too. By the end of all that I think P might be ready for MPH 1 but likely not before!

I will keep you posted about the baby, but I'm tired of saying .. "Not yet!" So I might not blog again until I can say "We have a …"

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Still Waiting..!

As usual I'm over now - albeit only by two days! I mean statistically can't 1 in 7 be on time or even early!! I am now quite uncomfortable - having not been too bad thus far. Everything is ready (bar deciding a name for a boy!) and I would just love things to get going now!

Kids are fine - apart from having the grumpiest mother on earth! In the afternoons I can just assign them lots of online activities with EducationCity and BrightmindsOnline and they're content enough. C has a nap and E potters about, so that's OK, but the mornings I am trying to keep things going a bit more. Joel has now started on 3B Singapore maths. I decided he could probably work his way through most of it independently and maybe even finish it by the time the year is out. It seems less challenging to him than the Yr3 MEP work, so when he's done with it I might get him to work through more MEP. The MEP seems to get him to 'think outside the box' even more than Singapore - which is a good thing for him as he is a real creature of habit and routine. It's good for him to see that things do not always have to be done the same way and sometimes another way is a better alternative

E. has started begging to do school in the afternoon, so I've got out a couple of little S&S books and started doing a little bit with her. She is already beginning to be able to tell me beginning sounds of words (something P has not long been doing) and I think she might learn her letter sounds/ to recognise letters pretty quickly. She seems quite switched on. But I am in no hurry. I'd rather not be doing it with her yet tbh, but I can't leave her out if she wants to join in!

P. is at last seeming to 'get' the idea of what reading is about and Headsprout second time round seems to also being doing the trick. She is up to episode 12 now. She still has a tendency to memorise things more than read them and although I don't want her to completely stop doing that I do want her to realise it is not the 'best' way because she can't memorise everything and she needs to be able to decipher new words too. She is getting there though J

That'll do for now. I'll post soon though - or Paul will when new baby arrives!!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Taste of things to come perhaps..? Nintendo DS, girls, lights and loud music - he had it all!!

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Monday, May 07, 2007


Check out where all their material is free to download today and their sister sites are opening their files over the next few days too - a MUST have!! It might take a while to download it all, but it's worth it!

Thursday, May 03, 2007


…my eldest son turned 10! He was born about 2 minutes into a Labour government and the dawn of the Blaire dynasty, which is now rapidly coming to an end of course. It's amazing to think how hopeful we all were about the 'new era' of 'New Labour' - no government ever quite lives up to our dreams does it?!

So, anyhow - Jake was up early for once. He is definitely heading into teens when it comes to getting out of bed in the mornings - unless there is some strong incentive! Yesterday we woke up to find his brand new (far too expensive) bike in the lounge and he was chuffed to bits. He even managed to go out for a ride with Joel and his Dad before school, he was ready that early!

And today he was out on a school trip to Shugborough Hall
which he seems to have very much enjoyed

Joel's best friend 'D' also had the day off (school was a polling station) so off went Joel at 9.30 this morning. So I made the most of a quite morning with just the big girls and Caleb (E being at playgroup). After Dave had been to fix the washing machine - nothing major thankfully - we went off to Morrisons to buy nappies and cream cakes. Then we came home, threw together a picnic to have nt eh park after picking up El's, which we very much enjoyed and the children played happily there until about 2pm. When we eventually got home everyone was hot and tired, so E went for a nap and the big girls set to with their Hama for a while, C played in the garden and around in the living room with his cars and I dozed (quite soundly) for most of the rest of the afternoon. C eventually crawled onto the sofa with me and dozed off to sleep too. All was calm and peaceful. And, even though it's now 9.30 no-one has school tomorrow so I've allowed the boys to stay up and watch a 'football bloomers' video that they love. We've also played a game of 'shut-the-box' together that I picked up cheap in town the other day. We all quite enjoyed that - more than I expected actually J!

BTW I picked up some great Glis boxes in Ikea the other day for sorting the Hama beads - they have 9 little 'segments' inside (customizable as the separators are removable). I have since spent several hours separating all the colours (and shades of the same). I guess from now on I'll be buying individual packets of colours - it's just way too fiddly otherwise, but well worth it as it has made the doing of hama a lot more attractive to the children when they don't have to pick through looking for that one last 'red' !!

Need to get these boys to bed now, or they will be fowl tomorrow! If I don't blog before - everyone have a great BH weekend - at least the weather looks set to be fantastic J.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Been a Busy Weekend…

…but I'm finally feeling 'ready' for this baby to arrive J. I went to Ikea yesterday and spend too much money (as one always does in that place), but came home in my Mum's Astra with a new mattress for Joel's bed (the primary purpose of the trip), a whole new set of baby bedding (see piccies) - now need to rake out the old stuff and freecycle it all, but I just wanted the bed to be fresh for this one - dunno why, but Caleb has taken the cot-bed duvet onto his bed (rather attached to the cover) and it's big enough, so I don't need to buy him a new one for a while this way. The Ikea cot-quilt is so cheap J - always a good thing and the cover is blue, but really pretty & unisex and as the baby is sharing the room with Jake it can't be pink even if it is a girl L !

What else did I buy - cushions for the kids mammut stools to stop us all getting sweaty botties ( ! ), hanging pots and tubs to hold all the 'changing stuff, lotions and potions,' a rail to attach to Jake's wall for his half-dirty clothes to go on (he's so untidy - I can but try…), a bin for Mum and some bath mats for her work - oh and a light to attach to the top of Jake's bed as a reading light for him. So a fair bit really!! I love that place J. My next big expedition (when money allows) will be to buy the Trofast I want to get to re-design the storage in the girls room, which is currently beginning to fall apart and is not very good use of the space anyway. But the bank account needs to catch us up a bit first!!

It's been a beautiful weekend here - hope it has been for you too. I just feel lifted by this weather (and it's cheaper to get the washing dry!), but I do feel very tired now and hope this baby will choose to arrive sooner rather than later. I am significantly bigger than I have felt with the other 7lb-ers, so I think this one will be more on the Ellie scale (almost 10lb) if it doesn't arrive on time. On the whole I feel well, and not hugely uncomfortable - only hindered & encumbered really, especially when it comes to doing normal things - like picking things up and putting on socks - another reason to be grateful for nice weather!