I'm back. My computer has spent the last few days in pieces on the kitchen table while Craig has tried to iron out the problems I've been having with it. Fingers crossed it will behave itself now.
On Thursday we went on a guided tour of a local nature reserve with a bunch of home ed folks. It was fun. It's always pleasant to get out and about in beautiful surrounds but it's nice when there is someone there to point out things you otherwise may miss - such as badger paw prints, poisonous plants, edible plants and follies from years gone by.
It was rather slippery and muddy under foot which made it tricky (but fun) for smaller members of the group.
Thankfully I had a ring sling with me and Miles could still be squeezed in - the terrain certainly wasn't buggy friendly!
The dene was carpeted with wild garlic. I even spotted some buds. I love garlic flowers in salads.
The children drew various distinguishing features in the dene as we walked down, the idea being that they would then make a map from them to help them find their way back out. Not sure how well that worked out. When we reached the end of the hike we just turned round and headed back the way we came *grin*.
On Friday the children made and decorated a vegan chocolate cake with very little help from me. We took it with us to visit some friends we have made in the village. We made these friends through Freecycle. Nana jokes that they are the best thing we've had from Freecycle and I think I agree - we've had some good things through Freecycle but to be able make friends with lovely local people is wonderful, particularly as we have no way into the local community via chats at the school gate.
Yesterday we went swimming. I hate swimming with the children. Well, I don't exactly hate it but I do find hanging about for ages in waist high water is pretty much guaranteed to make me really chilly and naffed off. I love swimming but I guess that wouldn't be the best thing to do, leaving two non swimmers bobbing about alone! After a negative experience with swimming lesson three years ago Hermione has finally reached the stage where she is confident enough to try again. I think we will start with one to one lessons to try to give her a bit of a boost. Must try to organise something about that this week.
This afternoon Craig and Hermione headed off on a trip with Badgers (Jr St John's Ambulance) to a working hill farm. They saw the new born lambs and sheep dogs, hiked through mud and over hills, enjoyed refreshments in the farm house and generally had a good time. Unfortunately no pictures though as Craig just isn't as snap happy as me.
I'm pleased they had a great time at the farm but I had half hoped they would be home earlier as I was hoping they would sort out the remains of the owl puke which is lurking in the kitchen. I've bought black card for their reconstruction - just need them to get on with it now. Ho hum, looks like it will be next weekend now. I'm not doing it. This is certainly one for Craig!
We have been having great success with our new Horizon spelling and grammar books. Hermione thinks that 'spelling quizes' (I thought that sounded better than 'spelling tests') are lots of fun. We have covered what they suggest to be two weeks worth of activities in a week. Her handwriting has improved markedly over the course of the week as has her reading. I think we are about to hit a eureka moment with her reading. We are finally reaching a stage where she is able and confident enough to be reading things she actually *wants* to read. I'm so pleased that we are making progress in this respect, and that I did manage to hold back when at times I felt like crumbling under societal pressure and wading in to try to 'push' her along. Pleased I managed to keep my nerve and encourage from ahead rather than push from behind on this one.