Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Not Back to School...

It's that time of year again.

That time of year when a walk around the town means in your face Back to School displays, checkout queues filled with harassed looking parents carrying brand spanking new backpacks, lunchboxes and plimsolls,  and overly agitated children in the clothing aisles too shattered to try on the uniform 'one more time' just to check it fits.

I always feel a sense of relief that we do not have to partake in anything of that sort.  Another thing to add to the pro list of home-educating.

That said, this year was slightly different.  I did have to take more than a sneaky peek at the rows and rows of black 'sensible' shoes in the shoe shops, and I did have to traipse around school uniform aisles.  Why?  Because Chelsea started College!

Yes, my dear darling sweet 16 year old baby has flown the home-ed nest (almost) and gone off to educational pastures new.  As she is studying Beauty Therapy (she wants to work within the horror film industry and needs the basic beauty qualifications to do the specialised course), she needed a smart uniform consisting of a tunic and trousers - the tutors tipped us off that the school trousers in supermarkets are pretty much the same as the authentic uniform ones but at half the price.  We haven't had to think about a uniform for Chelsea since she was 7 years old.  *sigh*

Chelsea's first day at College was on Monday and she really enjoyed it.  She had been slightly apprehensive about some of the other course members as their level of maturity had appeared to be rather on the low side during the induction days.  Fortunately all is good.  It also sounds as if Chelsea has already paired up with a friend which I'm pleased about.  I do think new things seem far less scary when you have someone on the same course that you can ask questions and check things with.

Monday was also the home-ed groups Not Back to School Picnic.  Although unsure of what the weather may have in store for us, I went ahead and organised it for an outside space.  There were a few showers throughout the day, but all in all I think the day went well.  We met a few new families including two lovely ladies I had only previously known through Facebook land - it was so wonderful to finally be able to put a face and real-life personality to the online behind a screen persona.  Despite the weather and the pre-event call-offs, there were 37 adults and children in attendance.  Not bad going for a beach trip on a rain-threatened day.  

Today we have had a home day.

I wanted a quiet home day as I knew we had plans already in place for the rest of the week - Wednesday, home-ed group, Thursday, trip out, Friday, visiting friends.  We needed a home day today.

So what went on in the Pollard household this Tuesday?

Starting with the youngest of the crew, Taisia.  Taisia sang songs (complete with pretend microphone held at mouth - anything will do - a bird toy, a crayon, a nail file, the TV remote control,  the end of the bedstead, she isn't fussy).  Renditions included everything from nursery rhymes (Baa Baa Black Sheep and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star were the favourites for today) through to The Black Parade, Na Na Nana Na and This is Halloween.   Taisia read books stared at books whilst turning over pages and talked about the pictures.  She asked for the Gruffalo's Child film to be put on over and over.  Whilst viewing we talked about owls and what they catch to eat, and foxes and their home type.  Taisia also linked the snake on the TV screen with the snakes at the zoo (took me a while to figure that one out - she kept shouting snakes and pointing to the screen, then saying 'crotobile' - a ha!  We saw snakes in the crocodile section of the zoo.  Silly mama for not figuring that out sooner.  Time was spent in the garden - trampolining, bug searching, ant annoying (sorry ants) and pavement chalk drawing.  Taz also talked to the budgies, petted the rabbit and rats, and hugged the dog.  The cat wasn't forgotten - whilst I was talking on the phone to my mum, Taz bought in the cats bow and told me that "Harry needs food".  Her vocabulary is ever growing rapidly.  Today's word of the day from the little person has been "Disgusting!!!" said in a very turned up nose fashion.  It was used to cover just about anything from the taste of her drink, to her nappy change (she was right!), to the smell of the doggy farts and then her toes.  She conked out to sleep just before midnight after an evening of picture drawing and dancing.

Callum has had a fruit obsessed day.  Oh the questions!  What is the biggest fruit?  What does it look like inside?  Can you eat the seeds?  What country does it come from?  What vitamins does it contain?  How much juice can it create?  Why does the skin change colour when ripe?  The list goes on and on.  We have spent much of the day on Google, seeking answers to these and many more questions.  I think the fruit obsession was sparked by me ordering a heap of fruit and veg from these guys...

If you are in the TQ postcode area it is well worth checking to see if you are in their delivery region.  The prices are great and the minimum order is just £8.  There is no delivery charge and if you order before noon you could possibly get same day dispatch.  I ordered £45 worth at 11.30am and booked a 2-2.30 time slot.  It arrived at 2.15pm and the delivery lady was lovely. 

Enough of the advert, back on with the Callum speak.

Callum helped me make dinner (Cottage Pie - Vegetarian Style).  I just mixed a load veg stuff in a pan - 1 courgette, some mushrooms, frozen peas and baby corn, along with a tin of baked beans and chopped tomatoes.  Added some vegetarian gravy mix, and cooked until the courgettes were tender.   I mashed together cooked potatoes, carrots, and sweet potatoes to form the topping.  It was truly truly scrummy!  Even non-veggie husband said we must have it again.

With Callum's help I also prepared a tasty fruit salad for dessert, and we juiced some fruit to drink too - watermelon, a ruby red grapefruit, raspberrys, an apple, a pear, a couple of plums, and a few strawberrys - I think Callum would have juiced the entire fruit basket if he had been given the chance, he just wanted to juice more and more.  He loves pressing the button and watching how the pulp gets discarded in one side of the machine and the juice trickles out of the other.  The taste of the juice was scrumptious by the way, even Joseph said it was delicious and he is a pretty fussy teen.

Callum and I talked about countries and climates, and he wanted to find some places on the globe.  We talked about when we visited the Eden Project and walked through the different zones, and he remembered seeing the Bananas growing.   He also painted some pictures and played out in the garden.

Tiegan also helped with the food preparation for dinner and dessert, read books (including a child's encyclopaedia which is a great topic discussion starter), went on the internet including playing on Club Penguin and looking at animal habitats, talked about animals and food chains, played with her pet rabbit Misty, did a bit of painting, helped me with the laundry, played outside in the garden, and studied some maps to find various countries.  We have spent this evening looking through what experiments and project topics she might like to cover over the next few days.

Joseph has spent most of the day in his room, tidying it (so he says...).  He has also been on the computer, helped me with a few chores (namely bin emptying and sorting through the recycling boxes), cuddled and played with Taisia, talked to me about conspiracy theories, researched a little more about the wiki leaks saga, took the mickey out of his older sister (and threw water at her in jest), and started thinking about what he wants to design and make for his woodworking venture.

Chelsea has had a recover from the long first day at College day.  She has been on the computer, read books whilst lying in bed, hoovered the downstairs for me, and generally mingled and flitted from room to room visiting the others and having a chat.  It was really nice to have her at home again - yesterday just didn't feel right with her absence.

We are doing the Caterpillar to Butterfly project again.  So far I have taken two photos.

This picture shows our little caterpillar friends on Day 1...

and this picture shows how they looked on Day 4.  

Tomorrow I shall show you their growth on Day 6.

I'm going to head off to rest my weary head now, but thought I'd leave you with this beautiful lass.  Please meet Holly, our new baby addition...

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