Sunday, March 11, 2007

Mixed Bag of Doings

Oh, look, there went another week! It would be nice if the cosmic clock slowed down once in a while, I'm losing track here.

Emily has been very busy this week cleaning, sorting and rearranging all of her ornament shelves (again!). In her spare time this week she's also made a dancewear catalogue and written fourteen entries in a diary she's invented, writing as Severus Snape the Teenager. It's very well written; she's got an alarmingly good take on being a disaffected teenager!!

Friday was our arts and crafts day; Emily wanted to make some toys for the cats so we raided our material box and made mice stuffed with valerian, chamomile and hops (didn't have any catnip but Emily had tested the herbs on the kit bits and knew which ones they liked). Here's Emily's exceedingly cute and well done mouse, being enjoyed by JuJu - Romeo liked it too but I didn't get any pictures of him. Cassie Cat didn't play with it but then she doesn't really "do" toys. And none of the cats liked my mouse!:

Having enjoyed doing that so much, Emily decided to make loads of cat toys to take to our local cat shelters and rescue places. She spent all day yesterday on it and she's doing some more today when she gets back from karate. So far she has five mice, a heart and a ball. When we've got a box full, we'll find out who would like them and take them along :-)

Work-wise, we've been looking at just about everything under a microscope - Emily's favourite was her cheek cells. We've done tons of English work, maths every day, more citizenship and Emily has started on the daily geography practice from the Trail Guide to World Geography which is going to be our geography "curriculum" for a while. Horribly US centric, natch, but that's easy enough to work around. At least it's secular. We've also started doing a "Question a Day" thingy to get brains working first thing in the morning. Basically, I just write random questions on index cards, Emily picks one without looking and scoots off to the laptop to research the answer for 10 minutes or so and makes a brief note of it. This week she did "Who was St David and when/what is St David's Day?", "What is a hypercaust?" and "When and what was D-Day?". She rather likes doing that and I guess it's good practice for IT based research skills.

Everything new I wanted for our "curriculum" is now in place; this means I have about 50 books we're not using any more to list on ebay, lol, so that's my job for next week. I'm using the term "curriculum" as such becuase it's not set in stone and we're not going to follow it rigidly, but we all feel the need for a lot more structure so that's what we've now got. As well as the geography one mentioned above, we will also be using the Cambridge Latin course, Classical History Odyssey and the Great Science Adventures books, starting with the space one. We'll do maths, English, Question of the Day, quick geography exercise (literally five minutes, those are) and latin each Mon-Thurs morning, with the rest of each Mon - Thurs day being devoted to one of geography, science, history and "other stuff". Fridays are reserved for arts and crafts. Obviously we can be flexible and when necessary abandon the schedule in order to follow hugely interesting interests, go out for the day or generally have a break, but at least this way when we're having a "normal" day we all know and like what we're doing. This plan won't fully kick into action until the week after next since next week Jon and Emily will be doing all kinds of stuff together whilst I concentrate on business work :-))

Speaking of business work, we wrote a four page itemised complaint to Royal Bank of Scotland on Monday, regarding the catalogue of errors, bad service, extortionate fees and illogical decisions they've made on our account in the last six months. I daresay nothing will come of it, but it made us feel an awful lot better to itemise in writing, transaction by transaction, things we feel have been unfairly handled by them and have contributed to our current business woes.

Wednesday last week we had a bit of a do about maths, Emily and I did. Sigh. Again. Having spent hours on Tuesday making beautiful telling the time notebook pages, by Wednesday morning she was back to not telling the time again, which pushed all the wrong buttons in my head and led to a not very pretty argument :-( We abandoned the day and went off to Normanby Hall instead, where we had a fab time playing death eaters in the forbidden forest :-)) and eating a rather scrummy lunch. At one point during the death eater malarky, though, Emily and I lost one another in the woods. We'd gone in completely opposite directions, thinking we were following one another. By the time we'd realised we weren't, we were out of shouting distance. Eeeep. I knew Emily would be perfectly safe, but I knew she'd be worried and scared too. Cue fifteen minutes of me running about like mad screeching for her, retracing my steps and asking people if they'd seen her. Quite sensibly, Emily had in fact made her way out of the woods and to a part where there are lots of trees and benches, and sat down to wait for me.....for quite some time, since I hadn't dared leave the woods thinking she was still in there. Eventually she made her way back close enough to the woods to hear me yelling and we found each other. She was a bit upset, but she'd done the right thing so I was pleased about that. Second time in a week that she'd ended up without me, lol, given that plus the episode from ballet last Saturday.

Other doings this week have included long phone conversations between Emily and Kate in Poland, LOTS of tap practice, ballet, yoga, tai chi, encaustic wax art sessions and Emily planting a new flowering cherry tree next to Merlin's grave. She wanted to plant there so the blossom would fall on his grave because when he was alive he would have liked to chase it. Bite back tears. Have been thinking and dreaming a lot about Merlin recently. Oooh, yes, and at Jon's psychic circle last Monday he picked up on a drunken Irishman (!!!) and was able to describe his appearance, mannerisms, way of speaking etc apparently down to a tee - one of the guests felt it was her ex husband's father.

I've been fretting about Emily's social life again (so what's new?). I was worried that she doesn't see very much of most of her friends with them being at school all the time. One day I was feeling sad and she asked me what was wrong so I told her that I was worried she felt lonely a lot of the time. She was most indignant and told me in no uncertain terms that she certainly was not lonely and that she's perfectly happy with her social life thank you very much. Well, that's me told! It's odd really - when I was Emily's age I had far fewer friends than she has but I was perfectly happy with my own company, just as she is. Yet although I felt that was perfectly OK for me, for some reason I felt it wasn't OK for Emily and that she must be "missing out". It's strange how parental perceptions of what we want for our children so often don't match up to what our children actually want and feel.

There was some good news on the social front, though. One of Emily's best friends at playgroup was a little girl called Rosie. Rosie got left behind at playgroup when Emily started school and although Emily "looked after" Rosie when she came to visit the school on an induction day, by the time Rosie actually started school Emily had stopped going, so they haven't really seen each other since they were little. Rosie's Mum is now going to tai chi on Thursdays though, so she and Jon and Emily had a long talk. It transpires that Rosie's going to start at karate with Emily next Sunday and is very excited about that, so hopefully we can get the two of them back in regular contact, which will be lovely.

And speaking of school, I had an interesting conversation with a mum at ballet on Friday night. Her daughter used to go the school in the next village down from us, but she started at Emily's former school in our village in September - and apparently has been bullied relentlessly, to the extent that they're considering pulling her out of school, not to home educate unfortunately, but to put her back into the one in the next village. They've been in to see the head numerous times and X,Y,Z has been promised but not done. The class teacher is "not interested", in the other Mum's words. I know it's shallow and probably a rather cruel thing to feel, but to be honest it always makes me feel better when someone has unpleasant things to report about "that school" :-//

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