Bicycling at last

We finally managed to get J happily on my bicycle. We cycled down to the station to watch the steam train arrive and then along the river to a local shop. And home again. So relieved that we have managed to persuade J to do be happy on the bike. Now that the better weather is here we can do lots of buggy biking.

Apart from that we did bits of gardening this morning, but as always only got half-way through our list of plans for the day.

J is at that lovely stage of playing happily by himself for long periods of time and giggling at everything. So cute!

B is still full of questions.

We have had a fairly productive week this week. Have been making an effort to make sure we do more reading in the mornings, because that had slipped a bit and then doing something with B and Iz while J sleeps. So doing (for example) a board game or a puzzle (the kind of thing we can’t do when J is around). Also, had a productive week on the domestic front and totally cleared the ironing basket. Have washed (almost) everything that was piled up waiting for the washing machine. So I (Justine) feel very virtuous! We have been out and about more this week aswell. Have visited Ferry Meadows twice and Central Park.


Benjamin’s preference for his Daddy is getting worse (or better,depending on your point of view). Any time Matt is around and I start to do something for Benjamin it is immediately met with ” but I was wanting Daddy to……..get my drink/ pick up my fork/ switch on the story tape”. And if Matt isn’t around we have long conversations about what day of the week it is and how soon it will be weekend and Daddy time again. And every night now Benjie wakes up at some point and comes into our bed to sleep next to Matt. The other night he accidentally got in next to me, but then realised his mistake and said “oh, I thought you were Daddy” and got out and went round to the other side to find him. I’m feeling decidedly 2nd best!

Anyway, we managed to get ourselves to Ferry Meadows this afternoon and had a lovely time. When I watch Benjamin climbing and gathering sticks and chasing rabbits and generally being a boy out-of-doors I always feel convinced that I need to get them out daily. But we end up spending far too many days inside because it looks cold, or potentially wet, or I think Joel will get cross in his buggy………today we almost didn’t go because I knew Joel would want to be out of his buggy and crawling/walking but he howls if I put him in shoes but he can’t walk around in socks…….I ended up taking the shoes with us and putting them on him when he got out of the backpack. He objected at first, but was fine in them after a while. Although he burst into tears when I put him back in the car and he realised he still had them on. Anyway, the point being I am far too much of a wimp and find that when we do go out it is usually much less complicated than I have imagined it might be! 3 children seems a lot to organise some days. Having said that you might like to look at Henrietta’s blog, which we have added to the links. She lives just around the corner from our London Grandparents and is homeschooling her 12 children!

library fines

Oh dear. Matt took some books back to the library for me while I was ill and discovered I have managed to accumulate $18 of fines!!! Good job I’ve stopped having a cleaner! I think I should just buy the books – it has to be cheaper than borrowing them. Frustrating too, because I can renew them in a few seconds on line, or walk up to the library which is all of 1 minute up the road……… He was very gracious though and didn’t cut my library tickets up. I have heard though that in some areas libraries give home educators the same benefits as teachers, which can include much longer loan periods and , crucially, no fines. Has to be worth investigating…..

At the end of last week, with the usual sense of tiredness and discouragement that comes from being ill with small children and so having to stay home and not see anyone , I began to wonder whether I really was up for doing this home education thing. And then it suddenly occurred to me that it’s TOO LATE NOW! Well, not too late maybe if we wanted B to go to the school round the corner – which we certainly don’t – but too late now for our original plan of moving out to a village school catchment area. Surprised also to realize that we haven’t had any forms through requesting that we apply for a school place . Fortunately feel full of renewed HE enthusiasm now that I feel better again.

Cleaners – lack of

We have decided to stop having our cleaners. It was all becoming a bit frustrating. There were a lot of niggles – scratched floors from dragging furniture, not working the whole hour and a quarter, and generally preferring “a little light dusting” to anything more energetic. So although they were both lovely ladies I decided it would be less stress to do it myself than to keep having to prompt them. Confrontation is not one of my best points. Anyway, it’s going okay, we are passably clean and Benjie is enjoying learning mopping and vacuuming. Matt has spent the money saved on an MP3 player!

A City of Bells

By Elizabeth Goudge. I read to myself this week instead of to the children while I had a sore throat. Didn’t enjoy her as much as I used to. Once I figured out the plot I ended up just skimming it to get to the end, which seemed hopelessly fanciful and unlikely.Maybe I was just trying to get through it too quickly. Maybe I need to decide that fiction just doesn’t work at such an intensely practical phase of life .

A week of colds

This week has passed in a blur. Isaac, Joel and I have all had very horrid colds so we have done nothing at all. Isaac has been so tired and most days has fallen asleep on the sofa or at the table, but has been awake lots at night with coughing. He got through today without sleeping, so maybe he’s getting better. Probably something to do with the excitement of Jon coming to stay.

On the way to the station to collect him Benjie asked if Jon would still be here on Sunday. When I said that he would he said that it was going to be Elaine’s ( a doll) birthday on Sunday and Jon could come to the party and where his birthday clothes. Not sure it’s really quite warm enough yet……….

I have been reading a home school book Matt found in the cellar over the weekend by the Moore’s, who have been researching the negative effects of early formal education for 50 or so years. Another challenging read. Has made us wonder about Coloustrings. I want to quote a paragraph here but not sure if it breaches copyright? Will ask Matt when he is around. ( Which won’t be much as it is set up for the Easter Guest service for the next few days) Anyway, the book was an interesting read partly because all the Christians I know are using very structured curricula and start early, and all the non- Christian approaches are either much more relaxed or totally child-led. Charlotte Mason has been the best in between method I’ve come across but the Moore’s (who are Christians) go further and recommend leaving the start of formal education until 8 or 10 instead of 6.

There is so much to think about on this. Why didn’t I start to think all this through before we had children?!

The french teacher we know has agreed to come and hold french lessons in our cellar from September and enough people have responded to make it viable. Earlier in the week the boys were watching their french video while I made tea. (illness makes an exception of the only-at weekends rule!) I crept through and Benjie was saying the french words as they came up. But it was funny because his pronunciation was a bit wobbly, whereas his English is very clear and in contrast Isaac, who isn’t always too clear in English, repeats french words perfectly!

Colourstrings Spring School

This week we have signed up for the colourstrings spring school, which takes place in Huntingdon. The boys each have a colourstrings class they attend and because Benjamin is 4.5, he gets to do an extra half-hour class, to assess his readiness for violin lessons. Compared to all the others in this class he seemed much the smallest and not always too ready to do exactly what the teacher says. So, for example, at one point the teacher asked them all to stand with their violins, but B remained sitting, she asked him again, but he was quite insistent that he wanted to play sitting down! He also has a tendency to suddenly decide to chat to the teacher about something totally unrelated. Which is quite sweet, but probably not quite the right idea. He is also still a bit shy and will often take part ‘in miniature’. So, for example, If they are clapping out a rhythm, Benjy will sit there tapping two fingers together really quietly. So I think it is unlikely that they will decide that he is ‘ready’, but he was very enthusiastic about doing it and obviously loved the classes today. We will see how the week progresses.

We finished at lunch time, so drove down the A14 to St. Ives where we met Matt for lunch. We went to a Free Evangelical Church, which has a Fair Trade shop and uses its hall to do lunches. Fried egg sandwiches and enormous pieces of cake. Matt was very happy.

Came home via Hampton to do the Tesco shop. Discovered Boots were selling Osh Kosh dungarees half price, so stocked up for the next few years.