I am trying to scrape my way back from a forced hiatus from blogging. What with exams, various kids holiday clubs/holidays away and all the building work we have had over the past few weeks, blogging has come to an almost halt. Although we are still without a bathroom and therefore any washing facilities (thank God for a generous mum who lives next door and allows a steady stream of grubby Scalliwags to trawl through her house and grab a quick shower!) and a distinct lack of a master bedroom (the lack which is more than equalled by the sheer amount of dust), we are miraculously managing to home school. In fact, I would go as far as to say we have been super-homeschoolers this week!
I’m going to start with last week as my little A8 became A9. The builders were due to come the next day but phoned the day before saying they could come at 11 on A’s birthday. Both our hearts sank, because we needed to get ready for the builders by clearing our bedroom (so it was completely empty) for them to knock a door way through from the dining area and brick up the one to what was the little ones’ bedroom but was now Thomas’, thus giving him the privacy needed during the teen years. In addition to this the builders were going to rip out our bathroom, fitting a new one and tiling the walls with the goal of stopping any more water damage to the 200 year old walls of our living room. It was, and to some extent still is, utter chaos, although we could not have got any better builders – they were amazing, spotlessly tidy (unlike my house) and so skilled at their job. But no matter how wonderful they were, they could not do anything about poor A’s special day being ruined. I had been planning a panda party for weeks, but how could we invite others into our house at this time? We were incredibly blessed when my wonderful friend Leah offered immediately to have it at her own home. Everyone tried to make it as special as possible, but to be honest the morning was spent frantically working in preparation for the builders. The swing set, which was a joint present for her and B’s next February birthday, and which Gary had planned on getting up for her to see the morning of her birthday, was left lying on the garden floor in pieces as the builder’s needs took priority over little A. This meant little to no presents as everyone had donated for the swing set, not to mention the fact that her older brother and sisters were away on holiday in Wales. A is such a smiley child, and will always try to look on the bright side, so really did do a sterling job of keeping a good attitude throughout. We did manage a lovely panda party, full of fun activities I had pre-planned:
But when you hear your newly nine year old daughter cry herself to sleep after writing a song called ‘The Very, Very Bad Day’, you know you had got it terribly wrong 🙁
The next Sunday we tried to make it up to her by taking the whole family to a trampoline park and out for lunch, but I don’t think she will remember this birthday as being one of her favourite.
The older ones had returned from their welsh holiday without us (but with 200 plus other homeschoolers), full of news of incredible times and wonderful friendships they had made. And they haven’t stopped talking about it since! I think they have always felt a bit odd, a bit different from most (but not all) of their schooled friends. This holiday they were delighted to find a whole field of slightly quirky families, all home schooled and all Christian. I think it was a little bit of Heaven on earth for them to mix with so many like-minded families. The family who took them will be returning next year with all of us in tow! And we can not wait 🙂
Gary took last week off, so whilst the builders were making their mess down stairs, he laid wooden floors upstairs! Now my friend Nik would say this was typical Gary and Claire. After all why have only one floor of your house looking like a bombsite, when you can have both? Much like…why have one baby in a year, when you can have three?! And then add a dog, two guinea-pigs and rabbits to the mix! Are we nuts??! Well, I think we must be. At least, if we weren’t before this last week, we certainly are now. My Facebook profile has been littered with references to mental institutions and family rooms….
Above is our bedroom, below is the table where we usually do homeschool, which Thomas has managed to get himself squeezed into:
And this was Lillie’s bedroom, with the entire contents of Charlotte’s whilst Gary lay wood floors:
and this is where I have been schooling the littles…their new bedroom, which was gorgeous before I moved in temporarily to make room for the builders:
Sometimes though it is when things are particularly hard and testing that you find a strength you didn’t know you possessed. Actually strength is the wrong adjective here, I think I probably mean a patience
I didn’t know I had we didn’t know we had 🙂 Our family has pulled together, living in very, very close proximities, not once losing our sense of humour, although our very tenuous sanity is a different matter all together!
As I look over all we have done I want to pat every one on the back and say ‘jolly good job!’, because it really has been. Thomas, whilst sleeping in a room which has boxes upon boxes upon boxes of stuff from our room, has whizzed through almost three modules of his IGCSE Maths and sent them off to be marked, has taken an English paper so I can see where he is at and just how much work the two of us need to do to get him to a passable level for his needed IGCSE, achieved 69% on a difficult IGCSE Biology assignment and happily modelled for Lillie whilst she learnt about shutter speed for her photography course:
I’m including some shots of tricks he did in succession. She has only had her camera a short while and I think she did really well. Her brother was very happy anyway, with plans to post them daily on his Instagram:
Lillie has been happily creating all week. She is particularly enjoying her photography course and has captured some beautiful photos of her sisters (the theme was light and shadows):
As well as some lovely natural ones:
She has also been studying artist Nielly who paints using knives and oil paint:
and attempting to replicate her bowl of fruit in her style, using art knives and oil:
Lil has also been working her way through IGCSE foundation level maths papers as well as finishing module one in her Jewellery Business Level Two Course:
Charlotte has been on fire all week! She is always this huge great big personality, but occasionally she goes a bit nuts and explodes. It is always great fun to live with someone who is like this because she is just so very funny! I think she is the one who has kept us all giggling and as sane as possible over the past week or so. Seriously. She is nuts! However, she is a nutty person who has been working very hard, completing and marking English Literature IGCSE, starting her Maths IGCSE, continuing with her Law IGCSE and struggling through her Latin. She was due to do her Latin IGCSE over one year, but she was struggling to understand all the tenses, and what had to agree with what (don’t ask me!), so she has agreed to do it over two years so she can work at it at a slower pace:
She has written like never before, as if possessed by something much stronger than her, and is particularly enjoying her spoken word. For those of you not in know spoken word is poetry spoken but with a beat. It is a little similar to rapping but gentler. Charlotte is a brilliant rapper as all that practice of talking her way through life has stood her in great stead to rap very very quickly. Spoken word is not said with any speed, but is much more lyrical than simple poetry. She is going to begin her own YouTube uploads, because it is only when you hear them (as opposed to seeing them written down) you realise how effective they are at getting whatever the message is they are trying to convey. This means I will be able to link to them from my blog, which I am very excited about.
I have decided to include more of her writing in each precious moments post, because I seem to include lots about her twin (who projects and interests lend themselves to photographs) but seem to share less about her. So this week I am sharing her spoken word. A couple of months ago she was openly mocked about her writing by a boy at church. It has been resolved, but the effects of the negativity stopped her writing as she lost her confidence a bit, thus losing her voice in the process. Her holiday away with other homeschoolers has boosted her a lot and she is back to crazy Charlotte, writing every moment she can. This spoken word talks about how she felt:
Take a step
I started writing more and more, my pages were filled,
I managed to walk past the time where my dreams were killed,
Offered an apology to my idle hands, picked up the pen.
Connected it to my heart, was writing when,
I saw that one video about a man who wanted to end it all,
Heard that one story of a girl who wanted to take a fall.
With my pen, my paper and my heart,
I wrote a message to stop them falling apart.
Managed to get my head in a mess, then my writing had to end,
But I felt bad, there was still a message I had to send.
I took a break for an hour,
Then when I arrived home I wrote with words of power,
‘You are loved, He cares, you aren’t alone’
I wrote about stepping out whilst trying to save lives from the safety of my own home.
We need to take a step, be a salvation,
Because it’s those who step outside who change the nation.
So take a step with me, and I’ll take one with you,
And we can show the multitudes what is true.
The littles and I have being having a blast with some full on schooling. They are enjoying it more than I could have hoped, with B saying it’s much better than last year. I have held off over the past couple of years, to give both girls time to build up their basic skills, and it has been a long time in coming, but we are very much enjoying the ‘new’ history and science.
We have been reading lots of books about Ancient Egypt, using ACE’s Word Building Paces for spelling:
And using Bible paces from ACE to do, not only our Bible study but also for the girls to practice their narrations. They narrate whilst I write down their narrations by hand doing them double spaced, which they then copy into the spare lines:
We have been having fun with Apologia’s Astronomy, making different models of the solar system from whatever we had on hand:
As well as some nature study for A, who just can’t get enough of any kind of nature/animal based activities:
Whilst B has been following her own passions, namely art:
And of course we have been doing lots and lots of lovely maths:
Considering insanity was just round the corner, I think we did extremely well, home schooling in any corner we could find. Apologies for the crazy loooong post. I’m playing catch up <3
Just a note: I know I have a few messages left on the blog which require a response. I will publish the comments and the answers to the questions some time over the weekend. Bear with me for a few more days 🙂