So April was a whirl of... actually I'm not really sure tbh!
Main events included:
~ Phoebe Henna-ing her hair...
~ A family trip to the park (and brook) one afternoon, when the sun was really WARM for the first time.
Other than that there's just been the run-of-the-mill home-ed life stuff and quirky family stuff here and there.
Stitch has been stretching my patience again. I'm not sure who's most to blame for my impatience with him. He is inherently bullish ~ charges at everything and takes care over nothing. I find this incredibly frustrating. It's not that he's not willing to DO any work, so long as he can do it REALLY fast and charge on to the next thing! He doesn't see the point in any of it. I think that's the problem and I lack the creativity these days to spoon feed him inspiration! The work he produces MIGHT be really good, but it's so illegible (not for lack of ability to write legibly anymore, but through lack of effort to do so) that I can't really 'mark' it (or even read it) to help him improve. He doesn't care though and I think I struggle most with his not caring. Eventually, last week, I had reached almost boiling point and decided something had to change in the atmosphere.
Some weeks ago DD had asked how butter was made, Thursday afternoon, I decided, was the time to find out. I told them all to down their books and we headed off on a 2 mile round trip to the Co-Op and came home to 'make butter.' It held their attention for a short while - at least until the double cream 'turned,' but after that they lost interest and just did gym and romped in the garden instead. I persevered with the single cream until it turned a bit, but to be fair it did take AGES and gave me blisters in the end! Some friends of mine had by then taken Stitch and Chip off my hands to play at their house (to give me a break :D)
The challenging part of my 'solution' to the Stitch problem (i.e. DO more non-book based learning) is that it throws DD into a spin! He likes to slot everything into tidy little compartments of learning and know 'where to write it down' on his chart. He can't cope if I say 'anywhere' - because these things cover a plethora of learning. He needs his 'boxes'. He is quite content with his books and tick-boxes. It's not that he doesn't enjoy the other stuff too, he just needs to be able sort it out in his head and if he can't then HE kicks off! H'edding 8 (now 6) such different children is not without its issues ;-)
One trip they are all keen to do though is a trip to Media City, so I've tasked them all with getting themselves Blue Peter Badges in the near future, and then we can go for just the price of the adult admissions! :D
On another topic; this weekend Abbie, Phoebe and I headed off to Reaseheath College's open day to have a look at their options going into next September. Reaseheath offer 14-16 education and are happy to have under 16's on campus. It's a very different environment to South Cheshire College - and to be honest, felt more accommodating and friendly all round. Abbie was brave enough to go off on a 'tour' by herself, to look at the Patisserie and Bakery course, whilst Phoebe and I went on the Animal Management tour.
Abbie was very impressed by the look of the P&B course and after discussion with staff, has applied to do Level 2 BTec P&B alongside GCSE Maths & English. This will mean college 4 days a week (3 +1) for a year. She'd be able to get her M&E out of the way before tackling any Level 3 courses :D. She could then carry on with L3 Btec in P&B (or Food Technology/Dairy if she wanted to change), or she could explore her other idea of doing Performing Arts at South Cheshire. She is very happy and quite excited about next year now, I think!
Phoebe is likewise applying for a course next year ~ a L2 VOP in Animal Care (equivalent to GCSE) and MAYBE, depending on what the college decides to do, her M&E alongside that too. She would be taking her M&E a year early, but would then be able to head straight into a L3 Btec Animal Management the following year, without having to do those as well. However, we threw the college a little by asking if we could do it this way, so we are waiting to hear back from them on that. It would be good if she could be in the same class as her sister, as they could then work together on difficult things, but failing that, she can do her M&E alongside her L3 Btec the following year - no issue. Either way, as of Sept she will be at college 1 (or 2) days a week too.
I'm so glad we have such a fabulous agricultural college on our doorstep which enables Phoebe to follow her dreams :D And I am also grateful that the same college has begun to offer other more 'out of the ordinary' courses too, and we have managed to find something that Abbie should enjoy doing. Both girls can travel on the bus together (which is free from our village), and they and Joel can all walk to the bus-stop together because they go from the same place, at roughly the same time. The future is shaping up nicely for my teenagers :D