I've had a turbulent few weeks and now it seems that the dust may just have settled enough for me to look back at the last few months and remember what we HAVE been doing. It will be a bit of a jumble and there may not be any photos tonight ( they are all the boys computer and will get Tom to load them up another day, so please check back) but I feel that as this blog is supposed to be about our learning journey and not just me whinging on about things, it needs to be done, and quick!!!! So in no particular order... Robs new job is only 3 days a week and although initially after the sharp intake of breath and the 'How will we manage financially?' questions, we decided that it was just what we needed and we will survive, we always do and if we don't, whats the worst that can happen? Lose the house and either live in a boat or run to Wales...or both!!! There are or have been a couple of perks already....left over bits of wood from the carpentry side of the business.....ideal for little boxes that Jonathan loves to make (and another use which I will gloat about later)and 6 free pheasants, already plucked but not gutted. So who do you think gutted those? Rob? Me? NO!!! Jonathan. Not only did he gut them but he gave a friend of ours a demonstration. Impressed? We all were! Tom has been learning to weld...not on a course or being instructed by a proffesional, but by just getting a welder and having a go!! It started with watching our neighbour weld the horse box for the trip to Wales and having a go then. But at home, he just bought a welding manual from Ebay and was given an Arc welder ( I have no idea if that is spelt correctly)which he and Jonathan experimented with. Then we realised we needed to get a MIG welder...so much better apparently so off Rob and I drove to Peterborough to pick up the outcome of a bidding war on Ebay. They both were getting so good that instead of asking our neighbour to weld the bulkhead of the 110, Tom has actually done it himself!!! With Rob standing by on fire watch!!! The test will be when it goes for its MOT hopefully next week.
Here he is in action!
Tom has also made a snorkel for the 110...yes I am fully aware that this is not an amphibious vehicle, but apparently for off roading in any kind of worth while way, it is the only thing to stop the engine from cutting out in deep puddles!!!! EEEEEK! How deep are we going!!!! He has been very ingenious and used all recycled parts so far, and has even posted it on a forum for offroading, WITH pictures. Items used... damaged drain pipe piece salvaged from the local village shop! margarine tub!!! baked bean tin!!! I will stop there, for fear of you all either thinking I'm crazy or pulling your leg..like I said pictures to follow. ..... David has been particularly difficult in an emotional roller coaster kind of way...I don't think he coped very well with the change of Wales, talk of moving there, Rob's redundancy and then the change of routine at home with Rob doing a 3 day week. Yes, a 3 day week. Sounds positively lazy doesn't it but I can assure you that he now works twice as hard, because to live on that kind of money we have to be inventive when it comes to food, fuel and entertainment! David has settled down a bit now and we have just made our first ever LAPBOOK!!! We have talked about doing one for ages but it never seemed to come together, for one reason or another, but we have now done it!!! It is about Knights, so no surprise there, and is basically free resources printed from this website although I have hopes of including some of our own ideas next time and then increasing them gradually. But for now, a good start, a success, David is pleased with it and he really enjoyed doing it and wants to do more! So I think I have cracked it!!! So back to the frugal living side of things. We have only been burning wood on the fire, the heating hasn't been on hardly at all, and even then it was dual purpose because I had loads of washing to dry. The wood itself has all been free...starter wood from pallets and twigs from the branches we have regularly hauled home from the local woodlands, some 6 miles away. NO we didn't walk, although I had you going for a minute then, didn't I?!! The branches were all strapped to the roof of the car and a few wedged in the boot between the boys!! We have also looked at Vegetarian cooking as this is obviously a cheaper option. Well, it is when you only buy free range and/or organic meat and we have tried quite a few recipes from a library book...fantastic book...just not that happy about having to take it back in 3 weeks, as I'm on my last renewal :-( We've always made a fair few of our christmas cards but this year it will definitely be all of them...you have been warned! but a friend of mine has inspired me to make my christmas gifts again this year. It is something that I have done or should I say periodically do, but with a few of her magnificent ideas from here, I am so enthusiastic this year!! Also been re-reading some Green parent magazines and found some ideas there too... But my best 'make' so far has been these.... Stamps for painting. I started one day with a landrover for Willie, and then I bought some wooden christmas shapes for decorations and made some out of those too. Left over lino from the dining room, off cuts of wood from Rob's job and a bit of careful cutting and sticking with the glue gun, and hey presto!! I am so ridiculously proud of myself! I have also been to a pottery class!!! Its great, I love it and now would desperately love a wheel so that I can do it at home with the boys and get good enough to make bowls etc for at home. Anyone got one lying around in there garage from a dim and distant craft phase? No, I know it isn't likely but no harm in mentionning it!! This one is made without the potters wheel and was just experimental, my other ones are still to be glazed and fired! Jonathan has joined in on the idea of making presents and is making special boxes...I won't give too much away here. They take a little more thought and working out to get them right but I am sure he will have enough made by christmas for the chosen recipients! Aaah yes, and David has just started to make lego and Knex from the instructions, BY HIMSELF. This is something that he has never really done before...always too worried about getting it wrong and not being able to find the right bits, but we have turned a corner! Lego adventure cars and Knex motorbikes are the beginning! I still have yet to teach him to be more tolerant of Willie wanting to play lego too, but that seems like an insurmountable task right now. And William... he has the most enormous vocabulary, fantastic memory for detail, excellent at puzzles, loves books and duplo, lego and animals, and has been sporting the most unlikely winter garment these last few weeks...TIGHTS!!!! He loves them. They keep him warm, they don't slip off his feet or get wrinkled in his boots and he can wear his shorts with them so that with his wellies all his legs are covered but with nothing dragging in the mud. FANTASTIC Of course the most masuline ones I could find were plain red, red with blue spots and blue with white spots, but our favourites were a 4 pack of stripy orange, cream and brown, pale blue and then 2 pairs with flowers from NEXT. Some people might be frowning right about now, but he likes them and we don't care!! William also loves playdough and painting...he likes to choose the colour of the playdough I make and then touch it when it is still really hot and feel it cool down. The stamps have been a real hit with him...he sits and carefully covers the shape in paint and then presses down on the paper, sometimes too hard and it skids making the picture blurry, but he likes it. We also did some leaf painting which he enjoyed. We have a new winter hen house too...room for them to be inside when the weather is really fowl ...hehe nudge nudge. Just need to rig up the light now for them. We are missing our eggs! I have also managed to plant some garlic, onions (red and white), broad beans and peas in the veg patch. The garlic is brilliant...about 4 inches high already some of them and the peas and beans are just showing through. The onions are a little slower on the uptake but I think that may be due to the extra layer of compost they had on them. I have also planted some mushrooms in the old landy tyres, but I need to build a frame over them to keep them warmish(16 deg, I think) but airy...I'm not too sure that they will come to much, if anything.Next lot are going in the shed or the loft!! So here I think I will end it, although I am sure there is so much more. This is just the tip of the iceberg so to speak! There are also so many things that we would like to do but just don't get around to ....there are not enough hours in the day. Don't forget to check back for the pics!!!
And I was thinking of replacing the original blog photo with this one but not sure whether to or not...what do you think?
So what do you think? I'm feeling a little quiet and thoughtful at the moment. Reflecting upon this last year...yes I realise its not New Years Eve or anything but it has been a year of much change and development. A mix of good and bad but I need to look at my blog to remember the good as the bad is all too prominant. So a quieter, more toned down look to the blog page. Although that doesn't really reflect our life as a family!!! Ever busy and full of projects and things to do. Its funny that when we started the Home Education journey it was more for David than anyone else, but it seems that the others have benefitted so much more. It is over David that I have my worrying days and my bad patches. The doubting days and the 'Why am I doing this?' days. So in an effort to regroup and recharge my batteries and to look at things in a calmer, more laid back way, I have decided to start here. Funny how the vibrant colour of my blog and the Chicken Out campaign banner with its sound effects were preventing me from blogging. I have missed it. I almost started to write a journal instead!!! But a text from a friend asking me how we all were, made me remember how many people use this as a way of keeping up with our antics!! I can't begin to catch up with the last few months now but I hope that writing this will spur me on to blog regularly once again. I realise how important it is to me to look back at all the things we HAVE done, so that I don't just sit and think about all the things I HAVEN'T got round to doing. And how can it possibly be only 6 weeks to Christmas?!!! 3 birthdays to make and bake for before then. And I had so many plans for craft activities...best get a move on, eh!!!
We have been Home Educating for over 5 years, with a brief spell in school just recently for the younger two. The eldest is now an apprentice mechanic, attending college every few weeks. Home Education can be hard work and very challenging but is also fun and exciting.It has been a learning experience for us all. We remain autonomously educating and so each of the boys are developing their own interests and skills; with us providing as much assistance as we can or that they need. They are all learning life skills by experiencing life in all its guises. Through good times and bad. They learn team spirit and independence. They learn what they like and dislike, what they are good at and what makes them tick. This, we hope, will prepare them for life in our ever changing and demanding world. This is not a representation of ALL Home Educating families, but a brief glimpse at ours.