Growing in confidence

One thing I love about being a parent is watching my children grow in all aspects of their lives. Being with my children all day everyday I get to see all of it, from first word to first time they write their name. The moment they learn to ride a bike without stabilisers to when they begin to read independently.

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Daddy and I were discussing S this weekend. Her peers are all starting school next week and although academically she is more than ready, she suffers from separation anxiety from me. We left her at Nanny’s for a sleep over Friday and she was very excited but cried when I left. It reaffirmed to me that home educating is right for her. I couldn’t leave her every morning at the school gate crying for me.
Daddy asked me if I thought that her spending all her time with me would make her worse. Would she become a clingy child who never left my side?
No, I don’t think she will.
She will grow in confidence with me by her side helping her feel safe. She is not clingy now. She is adventurous and sociable. She loves to explore and says hello to everyone she meets both young and old. Her sunshiny nature beams for all to see, and she bubbles over with love and laughter. She may take a little longer to feel comfortable being away from me but when she is ready she will be happy to do so.
I was in the shower this morning and little S wanted to join me. So in she hopped and opened her arms for a cuddle. At first she was wary of the the water splashing down on her, turning away from it. Gradually, with gentle encouragement from me she began to put her hands under the water. Playing with it and feeling it run through her little hands. Then I slowly turned so the water ran down her back. Eventually I was able to wash her hair as she helped. By the end of the shower she was putting her face under the stream of warm water, mouth open and tongue out.
Her confidence grew not because I had put her in the shower and left her to it, but because I had been there with her every step of the way. She felt safe with me by her side.

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I want all of my children to grow in this way. From learning to read, to riding a bike. Eventually they will venture out into the wide world alone and they will feel safe because they’ve been there already with me by their side.

My Random Musings

The last week

So we’re on the last full week of the summer holidays and trying to make the most of spending time with schooled friends. Not even the Great British weather can stop us.

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We’ve had plenty of splashing in puddles with friends.

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And some dancing in the rain.

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I spent a morning baking with the girls and then we invited the neighbours round for tea and cake. Many of our caterpillars are now changing ready to emerge as beautiful large white butterflies. We have brought a couple in to watch them more closely, then we can release them when they hatch.

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The two little girls had fun playing teddy bears picnics this morning, whilst we were shut in avoiding the torrential rain.

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We had a great deal of fun one morning enjoying sensory play. I hid some toys in a tray of shaving foam and let the kids loose. It started off quite refined but by the end they were throwing foam at each other and having a whale of a time. A bath was certainly needed afterwards.
We went to Nanny’s at the weekend and enjoyed a brief moment of sunshine and did craft in the garden.

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We are looking forward to next week when we have some home ed meets planned and we can see our other friends.

Summer

How have we been filling our time over the last few weeks?

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We’ve spent lots of time with friends and neighbours. We are incredibly blessed with where we live, and get on so well with all our neighbours and the summer holidays have really emphasized this. We’ve been up to the park together, sat round each other’s houses and drunk tea, and we’ve been out for walks together. We all ventured out to Moors Valley together, walking from Pottern Park. Stopped and had an ice cream, played in the park and walked back again. A few weeks ago we all went to the fireworks at Poole quay together. Even our newest neighbours, who only arrived a couple of months ago, fit in really well and the children get on famously.

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We’ve also been exploring nature, spending time outdoors and hunting for excitement everywhere. We don’t have to look far to find creepy crawlies, caterpillars on the nasturtium, crickets on the trampoline and harvestmen on the fence.

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I always encourage the children to hold them or stroke them, so that they’re not fearful. I have worked hard over the last few years to overcome my arachnophobia so I can join in too. (I’m not quite there but so much better than I was.)

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R, of course, did her Lets Cook course with the Tesco Eat Happy Project. She told E that she is now “practically a chef”! And can’t wait to do the course again next year.

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Myself and R also had lots of fun the other evening experimenting with magnets.

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S and I have spent time in the park playing, taking pictures (me) and modelling (her). She’s a natural in front on the camera, I think it’s in part due to her sunshiny character.

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We’re starting to think about what we’d like to do when the holidays are over and all the other children are back at school. We have a couple of trips planned, and a few meet ups with other home educated children to look forward to. It’ll be nice to get back into our routine, all be it a very relaxed one, and maybe think about a little more structured learning over the winter months.

Let’s cook

What an amazing three mornings I’ve had with R at Tesco’s Eat Happy Project let’s cook course in Salisbury. Each session was totally fun packed and educational, and we’ve both come away happy and exhausted!
Day 1
Our first day was Tuesday and we started by decorating our chefs hats, meeting the other children taking part and learning some basic health and safety rules that would allow us to enjoy the course safely. Next the children gathered round the demonstration table to learn how the make cheese and herb muffins. They then went to their tables to prepare the dry ingredients to take home for their first cook at home project.

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Their next dish was a pasta salad, one table did a feta and olive salad and R’s table did a mackeral one. They prepared the vegetables, learning how to chop and slice safely, and they were able to use different cooking skills such as stirring.

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The last dish of the day was pancakes. They watched how to make the batter and learnt how to recognise when the food was cooked. Once the pancakes were ready they decorated them with strawberries. For lunch they were able to taste the pasta salads, and they had their pancakes for pudding.
Day 2
The second day we arrived a few minutes early so we headed to the cafe to make use of the free cup of tea voucher we had received at the previous days session. I treated R to a drink and a doughnut, and we sat back and people watched. We wondered what we might be cooking, both hoping it was something yummy.

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Our first recipe was vegetable dippers with a cheese and chive dip. R practised her cutting skills, slicing peppers, cucumber and mange tout, and chopping up fresh chives. She also got to grate some cheese for the dip. She had lots of fun taking it in turns with another little girl, adding ingredients and stirring the dip.

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Our main course was vegetable fajitas. More slicing of vegetables (she’s getting quite good by now) and she helped stir the vegetables and sauce as it cooked. It smelled great.

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Her third dish was her second finish at home project; baked apples, mmmm. This was one of R’s favourites. She cored the apple and then filled it with a mixture of brown sugar, cinnamon and raisins. The idea was that she would bake it when she got home, but she decided it would be just as scrumptious as it was.
The children also got to practice their washing and drying skills by doing the dishes. Something I shall be encouraging her to try at home too!
Day 3
Today was our final day. The morning was set out a little differently with the children working in a big group. Their first dish was one to take home, Thai Noodle salad. They put all their noodles in a take away tub, added their favourite veggies and poured on a sweet and sour dressing.

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Second they made fruity yoghurt cups. Oats, yoghurt and different fruits all layered in a cup, delicious.
Their lunch was to be a chicken Tikka Masala. They learnt how to prepare raw meat, and ensure it’s thoroughly cooked. They sliced some peppers and chopped fresh coriander. R was very excited to help cook the curry.

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Their fourth and final recipe was for fruity punch. Lots of fruit juices and a light sparkling water. It was very refreshing, although R wasn’t keen on the fizz.
They all had to clean their workstations, wash up and help put back, in the correct places, what they had used.
Then they all sat together to enjoy their lunch of curry, yoghurt and drinks.

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At the end everyone got a certificate and a little gift. (We also got a goody bag at the end of each day with a cook book and ingredients to try things at home.)
I would thoroughly recommend this course to everyone. We have had a truly wonderful time, met lots of lovely people and R has learnt so much.

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My Random Musings

A day in the life…

A few weeks ago I did my 1st guest blog for Random Musings called A day in the life of a home educator. I wrote about all the things we did in one day. Of course everyday is different but it gives an insight into how a day can be for us, and the sort of things we get up to. As the post doesn’t appear in my blog I’ve included a link above so you can have a read and maybe leave a comment. I thoroughly enjoyed guest blogging and hope to do more in the future.

Summer fun

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We’ve had another good week this week. Relaxed but kept ourselves busy. We went to the park with Granma, played on gym equipment on the field, and had an ice cream.

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Remember the butterfly we watched laying eggs a few days ago? We saw her freshly hatched caterpillers, held them and watched them spin web. We’re keeping an eye on them to see how much they grow.

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We made our own strawberry flavoured jelly worms. (All the children enjoyed those.) We went to the “big” park, with most of the village it seemed, on friday.

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Little S had lots of fun exploring her senses with a bowl of tomato soup!

R picked up her new Star Wars glasses and prescription sunglasses too. All she has to do now is remember to wear them.

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She and S also had a mini tennis lesson at the weekend. S wasn’t too keen as they were “just playing games” and she wanted play real tennis! They were learning ball control and I think R picked up a few bits as she was practising yesterday.
Last night Daddy and I took the older 3 to the travelling planetarium whilst little S stayed with Granma and Granpa. It was fascinating. We learnt all about the constellations, and the stories behind them, how to find the north star, the Greek behind words such as Galaxy. We found out who discovered Uranus and where he was when he discovered it. We learnt about all the planet’s and saw photos of them, and we held a real meteorite. The children got a little fidgety near the end as the floor was very hard to sit on, but the experience has given us lots to talk about and investigate.

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Sunday R got to help spoon feed a tired Bumblebee and hold him too. Last night she helped me put out the food for the hedgehogs and make sure they had water.
Today the children played out with their friends at “holiday club”. The two oldest girls in the street, M&O have set up a club that they run daily, free of charge. It’s held in the little park in our road. Today they had to take along a packed lunch, I had a peek on them and they were all sat on a big blanket playing nicely. It’s lovely to see a big group of children of all different ages, getting on so well together and creating games and activities. After lunch we went to nannies to see the children’s cousins and then R&S went for their swimming lessons. Certainly no lack of socialising today!
I am really looking forward to see what the rest of the summer will bring.