Where to start?

The last couple of weeks have been so busy that I have been struggling to process any of it enough to write about it here.  I am now sitting on the sofa watching the football, and almost falling asleep, but I really want to write something.  I have no idea where to start, but I thought I would just jump right in and see how it goes.  It may not be the most coherent post ever…

Half term went very fast, with the long weekend at Granny and Grandpa’s house, extended because daddy was working nearby on the Wednesday, a spy-themed afternoon at a local home-ed group on the Thursday and a couple of reasonably quiet days at home catching up on the washing – we must have done other things as well, but I can’t remember much.  We didn’t make it to Dramabuds or football on Saturday, but Owl went to choir and Monkey and Rabbit went to ballet, where there was a guest appearance by Angelina Ballerina herself (which was a little bewildering to say the least).

After some frantic unpacking and repacking we went back to Granny’s house again, visiting RHS Wisley on the way.  We spent three days at Granny’s while Suburban Dad was away at a conference.  We got quite a lot of work done, had our new friend over to play again, played stuck-in-the-mud, grandmother’s footsteps and Lego, Lego, Lego…  We arrived home late on Wednesday night, and I spent Thursday at home with my four and an extra two-year old while my friend had a hospital appointment.  The boys got some work done, the children all played nicely and the small visitor built a very tall Duplo tower and was extremely proud of himself.

This weekend we have had a wonderful time at a family wedding, and we were extremely lucky to be able to stay with friends of the bride and groom for two nights – accommodation for the 6 of us is very hard to come by.  The wedding was lovely, the bride was beautiful; Rabbit was a flower girl and she was beautiful too, and very good.  We went to the reception and had a very enjoyable evening catching up with all the family, and I remember saying many times, we will stay as long as the children are good.  At about half past ten, we thought it was probably time to go back as our hosts had already left!  The following day we returned to the reception venue which was at a farm and they were having an open day.  We spent some more time with the family, and had a lovely and unexpected afternoon of learning and fun.

Highlights of the farm day:

  • watching the sheep shearing
  • looking at the puppies, ferrets and chickens
  • seeing live bees and buying honey (Monkey was very interested in this)
  • making bread and eating it (Rabbit particularly enjoyed this)
  • watching a working blacksmith (who allowed Owl to have a go)
  • chatting to a man making a fence
  • seeing some people making baskets
  • playing with farm toys
  • colouring lots of pictures (Tiddler)
  • collecting wool, feathers, straw, flowers and grasses and using them to decorate sticks

Finally we left the farm rather late in the day, and we had to stop at a service station for supper.  As we set off for home at 7pm, the car broke down, so we ended up making use of the facilities for a further two hours while waiting for the AA.  It could have been worse, I suppose.  If you have to break down, a safe place with toilets, coffee and a play area is ideal!  In the end we were towed home which rounded off the children’s weekend perfectly.

Another thing I have forgotten to blog about is our painted lady caterpillars which arrived about ten days ago.  It has been fascinating to see how quickly they grow, and the children are loving it.  I’m wishing I’d been organised enough to take photos of them at different stages because they have changed a lot already.  Well, it is such a popular activity that I expect we’ll be doing it again next year, so perhaps we’ll do some better recording then.  For now, we are just enjoying observing them.

In the last couple of days, we have done a fair bit of Maths, a little Geography and History and some drawing and writing about our weekend, and this afternoon we went to the local Ecology Centre with another home educating family.  We did pond dipping and bug hunting, and explored the sensory garden (we may have eaten rather a lot of the mint and chives), before an urgent need for the toilet forced us to repair to the pub across the road.  I am sorry for the disturbance we caused with our seven children aged 2 to 8, and I’m not sure the six pounds we spent on a pot of tea and two packets of crisps was quite enough to compensate but that was more or less all the money we had with us!  We then walked home to meet Granny who was taking Monkey on the train to London.   They are spending the night at the flat with Grandpa and going to the National Gallery tomorrow.  (Note to self: get Monkey to blog his Gallery visit when he comes home!)

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