Tuesday, 29 May 2012


After both kids started covering themselves in water colours this morning I decided to offer them the remains of the face paints to do with as they wished. They both had a great time but it was difficult to then convince them that clothing was required, not just paint. Isaac decided that his cape was a good compromise and then ran around the house swooshing the cape and being a superhero - oh and covering the furniture and me in rubbed off paint. 

Monday, 28 May 2012

Up with the lark

The felted fish are the result of a lovely day on Saturday with Gretel Parker at a local yarn shop where I got to stab things for a few hours. Gretel's work is amazing. Her finish is amazingly smooth and I was hoping to find the secret short cut to achieving it - sadly it's mostly just time, keep stabbing and eventually it will happen (although shallow stabs and keeping them close together help the finish). Some of her finished pieces look like velvet. It's amazing what she can do with wool. She's pretty cool too.  

I've had a stinking cold for the last couple of weeks and a niggling cough for the last few days. One of the results of this is that I've been up somewhere between 4 and 5am most days for the last 5 days. I am not a morning person. Getting me out of bed before 9 was a struggle pre-kids. So you can imagine that it's a little difficult for me to deal with it. Thankfully the sun is shining, the birds are singing and the house is all mine at that time (even the dog stays in bed). Isaac is a little thrown by me being up before him (he's often up at 5) but he's liked the quiet time with me once he's up.

There are positives to being up early. The kitchen has been tidier than in the last few weeks. I've been able to do some quiet reading (The Lovely Bones amongst others) and the children have been able to do some art first thing in the morning. Oh wait did I say that was a positive....

By 7am Isabel looked like this.

By 8am we were in a local park having a picnic.

The rope on one of the climbing frames is starting to be colonised by lichens. Isaac pointed it out to me and said what they were.

We only had the cows for company.

Isabel was a ladybird this afternoon. She got into the role and was doing all sorts of ladybird-like things. Or what she considered to be ladybird-like anyway, which included dancing, squiggling around on the floor and wafting her wings.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Friday, 25 May 2012

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Do it because it's fun

I've been reading a series of essays by Sandra Dodd who is well known in unschooling circles having unschooled her now grown children in the days before there were multiple internet support groups for it. One of the things she talks about is how parents need to deschool - to put behind then the things from school including the rhythms of the day and year, and also the categorisation of learning into subjects. Real life learning (as opposed to education) is much more fluid. As a home educating parent there's the temptation to do a mental tick box exercise when doing activities - like cooking can be maths, chemistry and of course home economics. The bottom line says Dodd is do it because it's fun and learning will happen. 

I spotted an activity on Pinterest for using cocktail sticks and mini marshmallows to build things. I thought it might be fun for my two as it held the possibility of pointy sticks (which are fun in their own right) and marshmallows - and who doesn't like a marshmallow. So I built a structure to show them what they could do if they wanted and they used skewers to eat marshmallows one at a time. 

It was fun. 

I'm sure I could tick some boxes on various educational skills but really who cares, it was sharp pointy sticks and sweets. 

To add to the balanced diet my kids eat (ahem) Isabel had the dog's full attention when she took her packer of crisps into his bed and declared it her new seat. He wasn't bothered as she was happy to feed him the odd crisp. And as you can see by the photo there is evidence of the dog helping himself to the chair on occasion.

I've been wanting to change things round in the front room for ages but I can't move the sofas or we'll end up with the dog standing on one to look out of the window so I had to content myself with moving the storage unit so that the jumble of toys too big to be put away can go in the other corner. It means we can actually get in the boxes with the toys in (Isabel had a lovely time with the music box and tried every beater in the box on the wooden drum). It also means that the overflowing dressing up box will tuck into the other alcove instead of spewing all over the floor - I fully expect to have to put all the clothes away on a regular basis still but at least they can be pushed out of the way.

We now have a big white space on the wall that needs filling but we're not short of pictures in this house so I will find something to go up there before long.