Week 6 – Back into City Life

Week 6 – Back into City Life

This week felt like an extremely long week, there were times when I was so tired I could have done with a day in bed, it probably didn’t help that I worked on my assignment throughout the weekend. We are well and truly back into City life – activities, shared lesson’s and jobs that need doing. I am so lucky to have P help me in the home so I don’t have to add cleaning, washing and ironing to the list of things that I need to do. It probably sounds petty but I’m not a natural domestic goddess. P is my life saver, particularly when my energy levels are this low. JJ has been very busy this week, not going to bed until well after 10, doing things continually. I wish I could have some of her energy.


We are extremely lucky to be part of a small group of 5 local home education families, where parents and children are very comfortable together. It’s interesting, but typical of the home education community as a whole, all of us approach home education differently with some of us structured and some of us unschooled. However for two mornings a week we band together to provide some shared learning opportunities. The children seem to really enjoy these lessons, although if this week was anything to go by, you might disagree. On Wednesday they were chatting away drowning out what I was trying to read from the science book, I got irritated and stopped reading … asking them if this is something they really want to continue doing? Saying they don’t have to know this stuff that we are learning about, pointing out it is not compulsory, unlike school, so if they wanted me to stop I would. Their response was unanimous – they did want to continue. It worries me that these lessons are to mass-oriented, I hope they are learning something real. I try to keep it fun and full of doing, but at the end of the day it is a subject matter that us parents introduce, not something they chose to learn about. I am not a teacher and never try to be one. I see myself as a facilitator of my children’s learning. My worst is to force something on them that they are not interested or ready to take on board.

This week saw us meeting with our group to discuss our joint activities for this year. For my morning we decided to follow the Now you Know About series on Scientists, having found the Art and Explorer DVD’s was particularly good last year. The DVD’s provide us with a launch pad upon which we can expand into doing learning opportunities. As John Holt said “We learn to do something by doing it. There is no other way.”

Thursday evening I watched the above mentioned DVD learning about – Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Marie Curie and Pasteur. The idea is to spend 3 weeks on each scientist trying to do what they did. This week we watched Galileo. WeJJ testing Gravity tested the pull of gravity, just like Galileo did, but because we are not near the Tower of Pisa we had to settle for the top of a slide in a local park! Each child dropped two different size and different weight balls from the top of a ladder, whilst the rest of us lay on the grass watching them fall and hit the ground simultaneously. The size and weight of the balls did not matter. Some of the children in the group were interested a few were plainly unmoved. The second part of the morning saw us pick up from last year, continuing practical experiments from our Usbourne book of Experiments, trying out a page of experiments learning about magnets and magnetism. Then everyone played with the Magnetix set that we have, interestingly the boys were last to leave the table. However JJ returned that evening and made a lovely thingy out of connecting the magnets. Prior to Monday’s lesson I thought that all metals could be magnetised. B (my friend Home Education Mom) pointed out it was mainly only metal’s that were ferromagnetic, have some iron in them, that can be magnetised. It reminded me of the saying “To teach is to learn” Chinese proverb.

JJ chose to have her entire day in PJ’s with me reading Harry Potter to her, the pressure was on to finish the book that day, so she and her brother could watch the movie that night. We have a rule of not watching a movie until the book has been read. Phew we finished! AA rushed to get the movie on so JJ could be brought up to speed and share it with him. I started to read Spud to AA it is hilarious, the two of us often spend our time rolling about laughing reminiscing on the amazing characters in the book – it is most definitely a book for a young teenager age or above.

JJ eased off significantly on Sumdog this week, having reached Polar Bear level, which as it turns out all her friends are on. It seems she has reached a goal and has lost her crazy drive. She seems to be moving her focus to Rosettastone Spanish …

One of JJ’s friends, unbeknown to her mother, arrived with her book about puberty – to educate her group of friend’s. JJ never mentioned it to me, only after I heard from the mother and asked JJ what she thought about this book and what was discussed, did she open up. Off she went and retrieved our family book, Hair in Funny Places, which covers the same subject matter. So this week found us sitting together going through this book answering all her questions.

AA, JJ and I worked together taking the first steps towards getting their Save the Rhino website off the ground; it will still take a few weeks. AA secured the name on twitter, facebook and we purchased the url. He and JJ started to write the content. We have a lot of work ahead of us.

It was Chinese New Year this week and I mentioned it to JJ, she promptly got onto the internet looking up all our Zodiac signs, and then reading out to us our characteristics. We all agree that AA is the closest in characteristics to his sign than the rest of us are.

Sweetpea has become an extremely fussy eater, she is so pregnant! JJ had this idea of hiding food for the dogs around the garden for them to find. Amazingly, on the first day, Sweetpea found the food, with a little help, and ate it all up. On day two JJ tried it again, Sweetpea found the food, ate it and promptly vomited it all up. JJ came running in to say she was bringing up yellow stuff – yuck! Being a home education mom this prompted a full discussion on the digestive system. She remembers a trainee doctor coming to our house to teach them science a few years ago, she must have been 6 years old then. P had them make their own poo by throwing in a buckets, various types of food, mixing and mashing it all together (mastication the job of teeth and saliva), then they added enzymes to break down the food in the bucket (the role of the stomach acids) finally they pushed the now very smelly food through an old pair of tights, representing the colon and intestines – out popped poo to both the children’s delight! Our discussion was a reminder of this process and she learnt the word bile.

JJ took over the role of making pancakes for Shrove Tuesday this year, she is certainly growing up fast. They were delicious. AA normally makes the mixture and tends to triple or quadruple the mixture, to ensure he gets loads of pancakes to eat! JJ vanished into the kitchen and came out saying she had made the pancakes but the mixture looked small, she asked AA what she should do. He told her what he normally does and she returned to the kitchen saying she is going to triple the mixture. When I went into the kitchen later she told me that she solved the problem by making up another mixture which this time she doubled, then she just added the two mixtures together. Who says maths isn’t involved in real life ;-) Cooking is an amazing learning tool combining Maths and English in a very real and practical way.

I spent many hours researching and researching for the writing assignment that I’ve landed. I’m concerned that I am totally reliant on the internet, I can’t physically check out what I’m writing about. It leaves a blanket of uncertainty over the whole piece of work. I’m finding the amount of double checking required to ensure I’m giving accurate information is resulting in loads of work for little financial reward. I mustn’t complain this is extremely good practice. I’m nearly there, give or take, another week’s work and I will be happy to send it off.

The death of the mutilated and raped teenager in the Cape, this week, has left me feeling extremely angry; it carried similarities with the murder and rape of the young woman in Deli last month. I was heartened to see that many radio stations and twitter were talking about doing something to put a stop to rape in this country. It feels like there is an awakening around rape – people, men and women, are standing up against it, talking about it instead of pushing it under the carpet. I hope the momentum of this movement lasts and that real change takes place.

PotteryMy craft time at my Aunt’s on Saturday involved loads of chatting and some painting of an old fireside chair that I’m renovating for JJ, at this rate it will be months before I’m finished! My glazing came back from B and I am extremely happy with the result. When I’ve finished my writing assignment I’m going to get the tea-box that I want to make and start to mosaic it using some of the pieces that I made.

Home education is something that changes you gradually through osmosis, over time layer by layer of conformity, the impact of having been schooling, are sloughed off – taking one nearer to ones individual core. I was reminded of this fact when asked this week by a friend of a friend for advice on home educating her two children for three months whilst moving from one country to another. I had to be careful to not appear blasé, remembering that feeling of sheer panic, the illusion infused by the schooling system that if you miss one day of school catastrophe will surely occur. In reality it is the Thank you Mommydirect opposite. Missing school means you can find things out for yourself, away from the factory style education that has brainwashed us to think this is the only way us humans can learn. My suggestion was along the line of: enjoy the trip, go and see loads of things and then write emails back home about what you’ve seen and done.

Hubby and I took over the TV for one night this week and watched two recorded movie’s in a row – Footloose and Kill the Irishman. It was lovely to lose myself in the fantasy world of TV for the evening. I can’t remember the last time that I watched TV. I found both of the movies very entertaining, but neither of them is suitable for younger children to watch.

I haven’t received a card like this in ages, she rushed in one day and just started to make it for no aparent reason. I do love being a Mom, what a darling daughter I have ….


We had our first Modern dance lesson to see if everyone was interested, it was awesome. We did a dance when we had partners (our partners were the people we were next to).

I started my tennis lessons with the local school children and I sort of liked it and then went to ballet afterwards because they are at the same school. I also had private tennis lessons that I prefer, but we are going to cut down on those because I’ve started Modern lessons and I can’t do everything.

I finished the book of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and watched the movie. I am very upset about Cedric’s death. I love Harry Potter so I watched the Philosophers Stone, the Chamber of Secrets & the Goblet of Fire again and again. I search on IMDB for the actors to see what other movies they act in. I know their real names and their age.

I reached polar bear level on SumDog, it was hard, but I loved it.

I am learning how to read music in my music lesson. I learnt how to sing a cannon as well. I practised writing a treble Clef and doing a work book on all my notes I’m learning. I also practise the songs I am learning on the piano.Magnetism through water and plastic

Magnetising a needleWe learnt about Galileo in our shared lessons, did you know that he found out that the earth revolves around the sun, and no one believed him? He dropped two balls one small ball and one big ball down from a tower and they landed together, he invented the compass.  I also played with magnets and heard about the north and south poles, attracting and pushing away, magnets work through wood, plastic, granite and water. We also tried to make a pin magnetic, mine didn’t work but some of my friends did, this is because domains point all the same way when rubbed with a strong magnet.

I went to our Home education ice skating morning, I have not been there for ages. I like skating and playing with my friends.

I went to a friend’s birthday party, it was very fun, we played a game where we put a cookie on our head and had to get it in to our mouths. We also had to suck up Smarties with a straw and put them in a cup. We had to put caps on and place toothbrushes on the front of the cap. We had a container strapped around our butts and we had to jump and get balls put inside, the one with the most balls won.

I played at my friend’s house with our dolls. I made rooms for all my dolls and beds for them to sleep in. I also sewed an outfit for one of my dolls. My friend S makes really good outfit’s for her dolls.

I searched up Chinese Zodiac signs and found out that my dad is a snake, my brother is a rabbit, my mom is a horse and I am a sheep.

I’ve made up a part of a song for the band my friends and I are making. I am going to be the singer and pianist with my friend, my other two friends’ are going to be guitarists and my other friend is going to play the drums.

I went to Brownies and learnt about two bad illnesses that children under the age of 5 get in Africa – Bilharzia and Malaria. Bilharzia is from bad water and Malaria is from mosquitoes. We played games to help us remember them.

I cooked supper for myself it was pasta again. Tonight I made the pancake mixture for supper, because it is Shrove Tuesday. Every other year my brother made it but I can do it now. The pancakes were yummy!

I’ve been hiding meat in the garden for my dogs to find. Sweetpea, my one dog, vomited and I saw yellow stuff. Mom said it was bile from her stomach. She might be pregnant and she seems to not like food much at the moment.

I am going to do some Rosettastone Spanish lessons now, Mom says it’s late 9:30 but I just want to do a bit ….

Week 6 Cloud Tagxedo

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