Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Chinese New Year

I decided that we would do something for Chinese new year this year. Not sure what but hoped to do something. Our efforts have been cut short by a sicky bug but here's what we did manage.

On Friday Hermione and I looked at this website which had a short video story about Chinese New Year. Amongst other things it talked about people visiting their friends and families at this time with gifts of 'red letters' containing 'lucky money' and oranges. Inspired by this Hermione decided to make some red envelopes with lucky money to take to Lynn's house on Monday.

We also marked China on our map of the world. I had never really noticed just how big it is in comparison to England. I'm learning so much through educating the children. Hermione didn't seem quite as surprised as I was and just commented that it is almost as big as Greenland, which I guess is right.

On Saturday morning Lily was also here. We chatted about China and I read an account of life in China written from the perspective of a western child. They were surprised to learn that in China every meal does not replicate our local cheap and cheerful Chinese buffet. The account talked about dried vegetables which start out not dissimilar to cabbages but once dried are black - both Lily and Hermione agreed that they would prefer it if this stayed off the menu at aforesaid cheap and cheerful buffet.

We looked at this link which gives a great panoramic view of the Wall of China

On Saturday afternoon we went to . It was a nice surprise. In all honesty I expected it to be very stuffy and not at all child friendly. I was wrong. The staff were very welcoming and despite the museum being really quiet I didn't feel at all stressed by the children talking at 'child volume' as opposed to 'museum volume'. We did look at quite a few things but the favourites were most definitely the dressing up box full of oriental clothing, the life size camel modelling a rather ornate poncho and the Chinese instruments which were being played by a group of musicians. The visit came to an end when Miles decided he would like a turn of an instrument and could no longer be distracted by the camel or anything else.

The instruments were fabulous. I have not seen anything like them before. I've googled on the web to try to find out what they are called but cannot find anything. We took the camera to the museum but were unable to use it unless we bought a photography permit for £2. I decided not to bother but may do next time even if only to photograph the instruments and load them up here.

Over the course of the weekend the weather was really bright and mild so we also went to Coxhoe play area and Chester Park. Miles wanted to be doing things, no longer happy to just be carried around. My baby is definitely growing up.

On Monday we went to Lynn's house to join about a dozen other home educating families for Chinese music, crafts and food. A great time was had by all. We discovered that Miles loves dragon fruit and Hermione overcame her fear of the dragon parades when she joined in one using an authentic dragon head and costume which Lynn had imported.

Sadly by the time we came to drive home from Lynn's I was feeling rather queasy, not helped by Miles having a bit of a meltdown in the car. By mid evening it became apparent I had some sort of sicky bug and that was me wiped out till this morning pretty much. Miles was also sick once last night and has been rather sleepy today but otherwise is ok.

As Miles and I recovered from our lurgy today Hermione spent almost all of the day in the Nannexe. They played monopoly (apparently she is really quite competent now at operating the bank), snakes and ladders and connect four. My mum also tried to show her how to crochet and she seemed to enjoy making the chain but it didn't progress much further than that. She made herself a thin head band which she wore for the rest of the day and a woolen collar for WooWoo.

Hermione also wrote a story with my mum's help. The trouble was that she was unfamiliar with many of the words she used, my Mum helped her to spell them and consequently she found it really difficult to read when she came to read it back to herself. I hope this won't put her off.

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