We stayed out too late playing cards on Saturday night, I said we would leave at 9.30 but was having far too much fun so we stayed until after 11! We played a huge game of demons in which the Gibson family took all the bottom places. We have a plan however and will play every night when we are off on our camper trip and then we will come back and slaughter the Bailey-Oliver family at demons! So we woke up late and dashed out.

Now Sunday’s are supposed to be idle days for us but this one had unavoidable things in it.

Rebekah had to go to church early as she was leading the music for the first time. Now we could have let her go on the bus but we felt that we should take her really, but this meant we couldn’t have a relaxed start to Sunday (which we aim to on the weeks we are not on a rota for something at church). So we looked for a way we could take Rebekah to church and still be idle. We decided to go out for breakfast. A trip to Wetherspoons in Newport fitted in perfectly. I even bought a Sunday paper to read over breakfast!

Then we nipped over the road to church feeling relaxed and not too full to enjoy the lovely cakes that were on offer at the start of the service this week.

Rebekah did well and I was particularly impressed to see that despite the fact that Ali has only been home educated for a little while she has one of the main items of the HE uniform sorted – odd socks – very disappointingly Rebekah was failing in this area of HE life and was wearing a matching pair!

I had been very organised and had shoved a curry in the slow cooker before going out so we came back home with only the rice needing to be cooked. I use the Delia method and so once it was going I just needed to let it simmer without interfering for about 30 mins. So I persuaded Martin to play a few songs on his guitar – unfortunately on the first song he snapped his G -string – this lead to the inevitable silly comments (well we are big fans of I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue) and the inevitable shaking of head and sighing from Rebekah who thought that we were perhaps being a tad childish!

Then (again against our Sunday principles) Rebekah had to dash off to Cowes Baptist Church to get set up for the evening service that the Eternal Flame were playing at (she left at 3 and it didn’t start until 6.30 – we thought this was a bit excessive – but apparently it gave them time to eat pizza).

While she did this Ruth and Jonathan did the dishes, Martin went and did some gardening and I sat and had a relaxed cuppa with the paper.

Then Jonathan and I joined Martin in the garden – me to help and Jonathan to do some diablo practice.

The Rhubarb is springing up nicely.

I was very excited that we were going to use our own compost for the first time ever – it seemed like I shovelled it into about 100 planters but I think it was only about 10!

The compost seems a bit heavy on the eggs shells but aside from that pretty good – we found that hair doesn’t compost – there were a few wads of that and also found a spoon – that apparently didn’t compost either!

Then I went off to the Baptist Church with Ruth and Jonathan and Martin stayed home improving his Mario Cart racing!

Not a typical Sunday at all but still one where we made space to be idle and to enjoy life!

So we are onto Saturday in my weekly diary.

It was misty and raining first thing on Saturday morning so we opted not to do the bird walk. Girls did paper round and then dripped around. I was up and started tidying up and listening to R4/7.

We the did cleaning hour. We have for the last couple of months been spending an hour on a Saturday all cleaning. We set the timer and everyone went off and cleaned and tidied. Two horrid jobs needed doing the draining board drainer needed cleaning out and I needed to clear out the the deep fat fryer. So the children all have jobs to do during this time too so I guess that’s the domestic servitude that Mr Badman seemed to think we were keeping the children in!

Once cleaning hour is over we try and have a treat – today it was chocolate cake and a Bailey’s latte!

Then Martin worked on the van and I prepared the dinner and I have no idea what the children did.

Off to Newport for Roundabout Exchange, a trip to B&Q ,and to a wool shop for bigger needles.

Home again and fish and Chips Hairy Bikers style with Jonathan practising diablo in the garden.

Then Rebakah dashes back out again with Martin to go to her singing lesson and the rest of us clear up the dinner dishes and settle down – me with blogging and Radio 7 and the kids with Just Dance on the Wii.

Off to play games with friends later – Rebekah is hoping we will play demons!

Tomorrow Rebekah is leading the music in church tomorrow – we wondered how we could get her there early and still maintain the idle feeling we want on a Sunday – so we thought we’d take her there and then go out for breakfast before church – so we’ll be off to Wetherspoons before the service!

After dinner Rebekah went off to Catalyst with Martin acting as Taxi on the way there.

Dishes done and Martin returned it’s about 8 pm

Ruth is alternating between Facebook and websites about infectious diseases,

Jonathan is busy writing something about a Dungeons and Dragons and discussing how spaces between sentences are necessary so he can understand what he has written but punctuation is only necessary if someone else is going to read it!

Martinis looking at places we can visit in the camper van and doesn’t want anyone to see.

Jonathan heads to bed and still in camper mode we watched One Man and His Campervan, think his recipes are a little bit too flash for us but we’ve picked up a few good ideas.

So last weekday in my diary of the week.

Well it started early – I woke Ruth up at 1.35 thinking it was 7.05 and she had missed her paper round!

I heard her get up at the right time for her round and got up. Finally this week I managed to get up early.

Listened to Pray As You Go, made a coffee cake and a chocolate cake. Ruth returned and chopped mango for me – made mango chutney (mango needed using up), she washed up and then made pancakes. We managed to get Jonathan out of bed and headed off with lunch (be impressed) to ice skating.

Coffee Cake For Church

Chocolate cake with a no icing bit for Ruth

At ice skating until after 1.

Lunch in the car (having stopped for the Fry’s bar special offer in the local shop) – even managed 1 portion of fruit or veg each!

Then off for an afternoon at a friend’s. Jonathan spent the afternoon playing Lego villains. Ruth did her first geocaching and I sat at the table with my friend and her charming little girl setting the world to rights and drinking tea. This is the best sort of afternoon and one of my favourite HE activity – happy children engaged in what they were doing and sitting with tea and a friend!

While we were busy doing this Rebekah was doing band practice and then came home and made a most lovely beef stew with dumplings – she has been aiming to do this all winter and as it has got decidedly spring like recently she thought she had better get on with it.

So girls have dashed out to circus with Sue, for a change we’ll need to do the pick up later – usually we manage to not need to do any of the running about on a Thursday night -but tonight Martin will go out – I’m a bit rubbish at collecting in the evenings.

Martin’s meeting has arrived in the living room and it is now five to seven. Those of you who know me well will know that this means I will be settling down to listen to the radio. Jonathan has had a couple of late nights and early (for him) mornings so I told him he could listen to the Archers and then head off to bed. He stopped playing with the Wii and came and sat with me at the kitchen table to listen with me. He is also turning into an Archers fan.

I had been fiddling about with some oil pastels based on an idea from the art projects website. Jonathan liked what I was doing so had a go too.

This was my attempt:

This was Jonathan’s:

Now it was no longer early for bed – we had moved on from the Archers to Front Row and Jonathan had decided he quite liked The Unthanks. Art finished it was time for bed and a story.

Reading stories together is one area I feel I have failed a bit as HE mother. We have not read many longer books together – we just don’t seem to have consistent enough bedtimes. We are on our 3rd attempt at reading together The Lion Children we started again on our holiday on the Broads in October and have read no more since we got home! I hear other HE mums talking about reading together and wish we had done more of it. We read picture books togther and then either the children read themselves longer boooks or listened to story tapes. I have been better at reading to Jonathan than I was with the girls (Rebekah learned to read and Ruth listened to story tapes over and over – mostly the Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark, the Narnia series and then Harry Potter) but still not good at novels as they need to be read on consecutive nights or you lose the plot.

We have remedied some of these issues by reading a book which has short individual chapters which can stand alone. It also helps to fulfils Jonathan’s desire to learn about history. We are reading Britannia, 100 Great Stories From British History

I tried to get Jonathan to pose for me to take a photo but he wasn’t impressed as he wanted to find the story we were on and get on with it.

Then it really was time for bed!

One morning this week I had a chance to just sit quietly at breakfast time and realised that the table was full of my favourite things.

The first daffodils we’ve had this year:

A lovely scone with home made jelly (apple and sloe gin flavoured).

A tea pot full of Earl Grey tea – the tea pot is very very important to just how relaxing this feels.

I loved noticing all these things and it made me think about more things that I love that I could see – my red fleece blanket from Ikea which I snuggle up with every winter night and at camps, my brown teddy bear that Jonathan gave me and a book from the library.

Really want to spend more time appreciating my favourite things this year.

I’ve blogged every other day this week so I have decided to blog everyday for the whole week so we can have a record of a week in our lives.

So in the interests of full disclosure here’s what we did after I had blogged yesterday. the thing with home education is that many of us don’t keep school hours. So I picked up the girls (and friends) from expedition club. Bickered on the way home with rebekah about what dates we had agreed for what activities etc. etc. Quick dinner again – potato wedges, courgettes, reduced breaded chicken from Sainsbury’s and salad.

Then the girls presented the work they had done for the environmental science IGCSE – it was a week and half overdue! It was about birthrates and death rates and different climate zones. Jonathan helped out by explaining to rebekah how a key worked on one of the diagrams!

Then Lark Rise to Candleford this lead to lots of discussion about changing work practices, the industrial revolution and housing in the 20th century – the girls drifted away leaving Martin talking only to me!

So back to Thursday. The last of Jonathan’s circus course today. So there was lots of practising to do and a Splat challenge for Jonathan. I managed to sneak out to the lovely wool shop in Ventnor and buy some new wool and needles! Martin snuck out to the library – yes really – Martin who doesn’t read went to the library and borrowed an actual book!

Then we had to dash back, pick up the car from the garage, rush round Lidl to try unsuccessfully to get Jonathan some cheap shoes and get back for lunch. Ruth had left to go climbing by the time we got back and Rebekah had made some lovely sweet potato and lentil soup. Not sure exactly what the girls had done in the morning Ruth had done some Environmental science work and Rebekah appears to have reorganised her bedroom as well as sorting lunch.

Next up Rebekah was taking Jonathan to the local youth centre for a Lego play and Wikaniko reps talk. Ruth and I were doing felting with a couple of friends just some basic dreadlock hairbands.

Had a great time doing the felting – haven’t done any for ages and really enjoyed it – looking forward to doing my felt bag making course now.

Rebekah and Jonathan arrived home, Jonathan liked playing with my friends toddler for a while before everyone headed home and it was yet another rushed dinner. Martin has a 6.30 meeting and the girls need to get out for circus. So it’s pasta and pesto made more interesting by Rebekah doing some onions, sweetcorn and courgettes to go with it.

Dinner involves discussion about the too many things we want to do on Saturday – the protest against the cuts is definitely out, some want to go to Ian Boyd’s bird walk some want to do Roundabout exchange – cleaning hour needs doing and Martin wants to work on the van. We’ve been pretty busy all week so not sure what if anything we’re going to manage to fit in on Saturday – key thing is not to feel stressed and remember the value of idleness.

We had a fantastic walk this morning. It was one of the Histree Trail series. I picked up all of the walk leaflets from the libary about 3 years ago but we hadn’t managed to do any of the walks. Sam had organised a walk so we were motivated to go and do the walk.

I say we but once again it was me and Jonathan the girls were busy with English classes, working on band stuff and messing about at Cowes beach:

So Jonathan and I headed out to Ryde to do the Venerable Oaks Histree walk. After a typically late HE start we set off – a small and slightly unusual group – there were no girls at all and a higher adult to child ratio than usual too.

We walk down paths round the back of Binstead that I had never been down. When we got past Pucker Copse we should have found a “Veteran Oak….well loved” However what we actually found was a huge oak which had fallen over. This gave the children a fantastic place to play.

After we had spent long enough playing and eating bourbon biscuits (the staple diet of HE outings – their vegan so OK for everyone except the wheat free!) we moved on towards Quarr.

We walked along Coronation Lane down the row of poplar trees and noticed the large clumps of mistletoe mentioned in the tree trail.

We had some great views along this part of the walk, across the Solent to the mainland

and saw some of the Quarr Abbey horses and ponies.

We carried on ladies walk stopping to discus the stone idol on the the archway to the church yard and look at the strangely shaped oak besides what was the infirmary chapel.

We finished off the walk and headed home. A very late lunch for me and Jonathan and then more Big Toe Books and Hama beads for Jonathan and blogging for me!

Another good day here – and the weather was fantastic and spotting snow drops and daffodils out in the sunshine really made my heart glad 🙂

Jonathan and I had plans for today. Yesterday Jonathan had made some shortbread and crispie cakes at the HE meet – but they weren’t dairy free (I hadn’t been on top of things enough to remember to take alternative ingredients) so he couldn’t eat them. He was happy to give them away to the rest of us but I promised him that we would do some dairy free shortbread today, the other thing on the cards was some more Hama beading.

Despite going to bed at a reasonable time Jonathan didn’t wake up until 10, so Rebekah and I had plenty of time to sort out a very yummy quiche and a bacon sandwich before getting on with things with him. One of the things I love about home educating is that the children can get the amount of sleep that they need (well except for those doing paper rounds and at least they can go back to bed if they need to) when they need it, most of the time, he better get up in time for us to meet up with friends for a walk tomorrow!

So the day started well I’d printed off some bird sheet from the nature detectives site because yesterday we’d been bird spotting when we were waiting for Ruth to finish her 4×4 challenge meeting. I am so rubbish at bird identification that I couldn’t even manage to recognise a chaffinch but we remembered what it looked like and looked it up on the bird spotter sheet. So Jonathan ticked off all the birds he had spotted.

As he is interested in all birds of prey I also printed off the owl collage sheet too.

When he started this he asked me “Is there any Home Planet or Material World to listen to?” I am so proud of him – he might not be able to spell “found” (see bird sheet) or even write consistently in lower-case letters but he is 8 and he wants to listen to radio 4 science programs! I heard something about R4 and R7 wanting to encourage younger listeners we are definitely doing our bit here!

We now got a text asking if Jonathan’s friend could come over while his siblings and Ruth and Rebekah went to cut down trees or something in the rain with the rangers (this is their regular Tuesday afternoon session), we agreed that this was good as long as we carried on with the things we wanted to do.

After we’d finished with home Planet we moved on to Radio 7 and Matilda on Big Toe Books ( we did A Hat Full Of Sky last week).

Lunch time and the yummy quiche and then Samuel came to join us.

We made the shortbread (dairy and wheat free to cope with everyone in both families dietary needs)

and then moved on to more craft activities. Jonathan decided to give Samuel the choice of making camouflage arm warmers or doing some Hama beading (at some point in the morning’s proceedings Jonathan had managed to make a Hama Bead giant).

They decided on the arm warmers and made them very quickly, the most difficult part was cutting out the felt.

Wristies finished it was time for them to head off and play Lego. the whole time everything else had been going on there was loads of discussion about Dungeons and Dragons and setting up their characters.

Samuel left and Jonathan finished off listening to Matilda. He played on Runescape, had dinner and did the dishes then watched a children’s wildlife program Deadly Something or Other on the iplayer with Ruth and off to bed.

I have no idea really what the girls have been doing all day – it has involved musical instruments, cooking, playing hockey and volley ball, being out in the woods with the rangers and heading off to play rehearsals – they just turned up at meal times and asked for food and money!