Saturday, 16 May 2015

Saturday Sharks

Thankfully a full nights sleep last night, I'd forgot to mention on yesterday's blog post that Cordelia woke up at 1.30am with a trapped nerve in her back. She was in a lot of pain bless her and was stuck on the landing on all fours but thankfully Piper heard her and came and woke us up. After some iburofen, ice and the wheat bag we managed to get her back in bed and comfortable but I slept with her to keep an eye on her. She was fine again the next morning, we were all pretty tired yesterday though, she seems to have taken after me with trapped nerves unfortunately. Probably because we both sit in such uncomfortable positions for way too long!

Today Hubby and I headed to the car boot sale whilst the peeps stayed home, minecrafting, drawing, skyping and playing on the xbox.

After lunch Bailey cut the grass, which has become his weekly chore, whilst the others tidied their room, hoovered up and emptied the dishwasher. Chores are something everyone does around here, mostly daily, they only usually take 5 to 10 minutes of each child's time but I think its important for everyone to help there are 6 of us and 4 pets-who are currently malting due to the warmer weather so the house needs to be hoovered twice a day. They all get pocket money on a Saturday in exchange for their jobs.

Cordelia got out her body art crayons and decided to give hubby some tattoos-she loves drawing on him!



A bit of a lull afternoon with a few hormonal arguments, meaning everyone in their own rooms including me! Whilst Hubby helped Bailey in the garden. Hubby cooked fajitas for tea and then we had a family game, something which we are trying to do at least once a week. We used to play board games daily but no one is that interested now.

I quite liked this Dr Who Time Travelling Tardis Game, its electronic so the tardis makes noises and it moves the monster spaces around every few minutes so you have to plan your attack on the monsters quickly using the energy counters. Bailey won and then everyone dispersed back to laptops in their rooms for a bit.


Cordelia has been working on this picture today, its Ticcy Toby (creepypasta)


She finished it this evening, it took around 4 hours she says. Although I'm not a fan of the creepypasta stuff I really love this picture, especially the shading detail:


Ruben had more time skyping S, whilst Piper was working on articles for the Loki the Confused Horse's blog. She's been planning making a dress today so hopefully we'll get around to starting that next week...

Ruben came down at 8 to watch Thursday nights recording of the BBC One program Sharks, again another brilliant episode. The Lemon Sharks were so amazing, and I loved seeing how the Port Jackson Shark hid its corkscrew-shaped eggs and how you could see the shark growing inside. A little bit like Nemo. The footage is really breathtaking. Hubby and Bailey are watching the Alan Partridge film as I type this up......

Friday, 15 May 2015

Four Pesky Hobbits 5th Birthday Blog Share!




This blog is now officially 5 years old! If I'm honest I'm quite surprised its still going, I've been tempted to stop writing on several occasions, I've made the blog private a few times too when I've worried about the privacy aspect of writing about our family.  But I've made several really wonderful friends from blogging and even met up with two of the families back in 2013 and again only this week which you can read about here. Reading their blogs has become part of my daily/weekly routine. When I've had wobbles its been their blogs and words which have reassured me, kind of like a supportive school playground!

Writing about our home education journey has been really therapeutic, its been wonderful to look back on too. The last year has seen a huge change in our journey in that Bailey has gone into college and so Four Pesky Hobbits has turned more into Three Pesky Hobbits! I still write about him on the blog and I still feel that we are involved in his education just no longer "in charge". Our family dynamics changed two years ago when Hubby left his job in insurance to work from home running our Ebay business. This has meant having two adults at home full time, which has been brilliant and even though I would have very much appreciated the help when I had 4 under 5's at home, its actually been much more of help now.  Its allowed us to both have more one on one time with each child and also spend much more time as a family, now Bailey is off at college I am even more glad that we've had that time. Even though its been hard living on a smaller budget, the ability to be more spontaneous and to spend so much time together has been a gift that no money could change. Money isn't everything after all.

When I look back on the last five years I am astonished by the difference in all of my children, when we started the blog the children looked like this:


I can remember the day this photo was taken, just as we were releasing our butterflies into the wild and not long after we had just moved into that house. We've moved house again since then! And this is what the Four Pesky Hobbits look like now (I can tell you that it wasn't easy at all getting a photo of all four of them together, no one likes photos anymore!)


I know right? Its crazy how tall they've all got!! And just how grown up they look, makes me feel so proud and also a little sad that they are growing up so quick.

Five years is one of those funny things, it seems a long time but then when you are busy with four children its just kind of flown by and it seems to have just struck me how quickly things are changing. Five years ago the idea of GCSE's and college seemed so far away, our whole home educating journey seemed to be a little bit endless and I would have struggled to imagine exams! But now we have steered the waters of exams and getting into college I feel even clearer about our journey and decision to home educate. There was always so many questions about the future, from other people, family, friends and even total strangers! I had started to get quite panicked and even questioned myself, what if we failed them? What if I couldn't teach Ruben to read? (if you are a regular reader you'll know that that is something that has really stressed me out, until he just did it by himself one day you can read about that here. What if the exams were too hard and we'd not prepared them enough? What if they couldn't get a job? What if the college wouldn't accept IGCSE's? What if we've sheltered them from the "real world" too much like so many people argue??? All these questions flowed their way around my brain keeping me up at night.

And then we did it, well I say "we" but I mean Bailey, he got accepted pretty much straight away for the online GCSE courses through Sheffield College. Which meant he could still be at home and only have to go in on the occasional day every few months and for his exams. He managed to do both English and Maths without too much worry, showing a really exceptional grasp of Maths even though he hadn't done any formal maths in quite a while. He managed exams which were always a worry for me, as he was quite nervous and apprehensive. He got a place in college after a 10 minute interview for which he only had 40 minutes notice with only his two GCSE's (it should have been a minimum of 4). Then within 2 weeks of starting his course was moved up to a level 3 (which should have required a minimum of 5 A-C GCSE's) and so now instead of 3 years at college he will only need to do. This all means he is no further behind than if he had gone through school but he had the added bonus of being able to mature in his own environment, pursue his own interests, enjoy his childhood, spend time with his siblings (not sure how much of that he enjoyed ;)) and spend time with us. Meaning that we have a great relationship with our teenage son, he tells us things, he shares his day with us, he comes and talks to us if he has a problem that he needs help or guidance with. He still has all the traits of a teenage boy-forgets things, is messy and sometimes just generally needs a kick up the bum! But we have a really good bond with him from spending so much of our time together. I'm pretty much 99% sure it would have been a different story if he'd gone through school. I can't say for certain obviously, but I don't regret the decision we made, I only regret not making it earlier on.

As for the girls and Ruben, I've no idea where their home ed journey will end. They have grown and changed so much in 5 years that its impossible to say but I know that I don't doubt myself anymore (or at least a lot less than I used too, I'm a Virgo so I worry a lot naturally!!). Our life looks different to 5 years ago and I'm not sure if this is how I would have imagined it but I'm so very thankful for it and so excited to see where the next five years of our journey will lead us.

I've taken part in lots of home ed blog carnivals/hops before but never been brave enough to do one myself until now, so I hope it works! I'd love to hear what has happened over at your home school in the last 5 years! What big or small changes have you seen? have you any highs or lows? How are you feeling about the future of your home school? How have your children changed? Please join in with the Four Pesky Hobbits Blog Bounce and share your stories and experiences with us.

Here are the rules of the blog share:
1. Write your blog post
2. Use the blog graphic below as a header for your post
3. Copy the URL of your blog post and share it below
4. The closing date for the blog share is 31.5.15



If you have any problems or questions please use the blogger contact form and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Looking forward to reading your posts!


Trans Pennine Trail Killamarsh Station

Catching up first with yesterday! I've been busy with my birthday blog share (see previous post) so spent more time reading blogs than writing mine, most enjoyable!

Anyway yesterday....Minecraft, Skype with S for Ruben. They are getting on so well it's really heartwarming to hear them chatting and laughing. 

Ruben reading the instructions for a Dr Who Time Travelling Tardis board game ready for Saturday Night family game night. 


Just as he was having his lunch the delivery man brought a surprise!


From friends over at http://thegallivanters.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/saturday-3pm.html?m=1


He has hardly put it down since! I got a lovely postcard from S's mum Katie too which was a lovely surprise :D

After lunch, we headed out for a walk as the weather was much nicer than forecast! Lovely sunshine. So we took a walk down the Trans Pennine Trail past Killamarsh Station, this is what it used to look like: 



Quite amazing considering now it's just a path through the countryside with fields on one side and Rother Valley Country Park on the other side! It was opened in 1841 closed in 1843 and then reopened in 1873 until it was finally closed in 1954. The only thing remaining is the old platform which is overgrown with grass and weeds. The train line goes around a different route close by and you can still hear trains passing.

Hubby wants us (without the kids!) to do this walk one day, I looked and its approx 140 miles! Yikes....


We only walked 4.4 miles today much to the relief of the children!


This explains the statues we saw, a local solider who was killed in a roadside explosion, a local steel worker who walked his dog here and local boxer Clinton Woods (who lives not far from us!)



Back home after ice creams :) and Cordelia played in the garden with our youngest cat Bibby who's now 7 years old. Since he was one of our older cat's-Kittyfantastico's kittens, he's by far the favourite and completely spoiled:




Ruben finished the last two episodes of the Dr Who DVD he started watching yesterday "a Rememberance of the Daleks" he thought the special effects were hilarious!

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Dr Who timeline, the Web of Fear and new t-shirt designs!

Its been a tired sort of day, Hubby was up early but let me sleep in and I didn't wake until after 9! He even brought me breakfast in bed #luckylady. I'm glad I slept in because my morning was very full on, lots of different dramas to deal with and not the chilled day I was anticipating for today.

But after sorting all of that out I got Ruben started on a Dr Who timeline. He was amazed at his friend S's Dr Who knowledge yesterday so that and no doubt the Dr Who Experience itself has inspired him to learn all of the doctors and also re-watch lots of episodes. We talked lots in the car yesterday about old episodes and how many of them were lost in a fire at the BBC Studios. Hubby googled on his phone whilst I was driving and found this story about some of the missing episodes found in Africa. One of the episodes found happened to be Web of Fear which features the yeti costume we saw yesterday, here is a photo:


We used a news article to do the timeline and Hubby printed out some photos of all the doctors so Ruben got to work cutting, gluing, sticking and writing down the doctors names and dates they were the doctor.


I wrote on a piece of paper the names and dates and then he copied them on to his timeline


All done! He is thinking of doing a dalek one now too


Meanwhile the rest of the day was much calmer, Hubby took Bailey out to play snooker for a couple of hours, he dropped Piper off at the library to meet up with her friend for a few hours. Cordelia had some time playing Skyrim on the Xbox and Ruben played Minecraft on the laptop. The t-shirts that we are selling on our ebay shop arrived today, they have been designed by Cordelia and are part of an art project that she has been doing recently, she is really into Creepy Pasta and there aren't many t-shirts around so we made our own. Here she is modelling it:


She's very pleased and has just sold her first one!

Dr Who Experience Cardiff Bay

Yesterday we had a fantastic day in Cardiff Bay visiting the Dr Who Experience and meeting up with our friends who blogs over at The Gallivanters. We met them for the first time back In April 2013. Ruben has been so excited and counting down the days, he even had it marked on the family calendar! It was quite a long drive and took us just under 4 hours, all driven by Hubby. The sun was shining and Cardiff Bay looked stunning, we headed up to the Dr Who experience to meet up with S and her mum Katie, Ruben was feeling really nervous but he needn't have they were chatting away within seconds, after they had swapped gifts. S bought Ruben Jelly Babies which we found out today were a favourite with the fourth doctor Tom Baker!

Inside and there was time for some Weeping Angel selfies:


It was a little bit Harry Potter in its approach, you stood in the queue and then went in to an interactive part-which I won't say any more about because I don't want to spoil it! The exhibition area was pretty big and there was lots of costumes, props and monsters. This is Ruben with the very first tardis control:


Ruben and S took lots of photos of each whilst us mums talked and hubby wandered around getting lots of photos, he's a big Dr Who fan.



Ruben took about 10 photos of K-9....its his favourite


He loves the Face of Bo character too:


He is wanting me to knit him a similar long scarf, thankfully I can knit rectangular shapes!



Ruben and S loved this Dalek that you could control..


In the gift shop and Ruben bought a sonic screwdriver, doesn't seem that long ago that Bailey had one too!


David Tennant's costume:


The new doctor Peter Capaldi's costume:


Captain Jack's costume:


Hubby HAD to have his photo taken with the Tardis. Bit jealous now as I wished I'd taken one with the Tardis but I was too busy chatting!


Loved this church the last time we were here in February 2013:


We sat in the sunshine with ice creams and chatted before Katie told us about the Dr Who filming location Llandaff, the cathedral Rory and Amy got married was there along with along with  Amy Pond's house and village green shown in several episodes. As it was on the way out of Cardiff we thought we'd check it out, on the way back to the car we took a few photos outside the Millennium Centre:



We met back up with Katie and S. The cathedral was stunning and the whole village had a lovely feel to it.




Was lovely sitting on a bench chatting whilst Ruben and S ran around chatting and playing with their sonic screwdrivers, very relaxing.



We were so lucky with the weather, it took us around 3 and a half hours to get home but it was worth the nearly 8 hours in the car to see Ruben so happy. He was quite sad to say goodbye so we are already trying to arrange another meet up, its definitely not going to be two years again..

Monday, 11 May 2015

Celebrating Our Home Educating Successes


Linking our blog up with SecularHomeschool.com to discuss some of our recent home educating successes! I'm quite a reflective person so I enjoy looking back on what we have been doing, one of many bonuses of keeping a blog! Whilst our home educating years run differently to those in the U.S. and we don't follow any kind of curriculum I'm going to think instead about what we have achieved since the beginning of the year, since we are over a third of the way through the year this seems like a good idea.

Piper

This year has seen Piper be really creative, she has really enjoyed looking more into her favourite fashion inspiration-Japanese Lolita. She has been to a couple of events now where she has had the opportunity to dress in Lolita fashion, she has made some new friends online and also met up with them in real life. She's been making jewellery and accessories with fimo, her sewing machine skills have come on lots and she has been making hair bows, tote bags and even some bloomers! She has been reading a lot about feminism, chatting with other feminists and developing a keen sense of who she is and how she feels women should be seen. She has really enjoyed her writing over on LokiTheConfusedHorse.com and helping out with the family business.

Cordelia

Her main focuses continue to be art and horses, this year she has managed to get a job working one day a week at the stables, she also goes to Pony Club weekly and has riding lessons fortnightly. Her work at the stables involves lots of heavy lifting, mucking out, taking horses to and from the fields/stables and getting them saddled up ready for lessons. Her work at the stables is paid in the form of an hour's lesson so she is getting 4 extra lessons a month, this makes her very happy and whilst its not exactly like having her own horse, its a close second at the moment. Its very strange (and quiet!)not having her at home for a whole day! Since we bought the bamboo drawing tablet last year her art work continues to develop and improve and its wonderful to see. She would literally spend every waking moment drawing if she could :) She has really got into cosplay since we have been to a few events and is enjoying making her own costumes and props.

Ruben

Has blown us away this year with his reading, years and years of not wanting to learn all kind of tumbled into him just learning in what seemed like no time at all. He got no enjoyment from easy reader books and the book he learnt to read first was a Minecraft Redstone book bought for Christmas. This then triggered reading ALL of The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. So all my worrying was really for nothing! He continues to improve with his reading by messaging friends and playing on Minecraft servers. I feel like I have so much to thank Minecraft for, its allowed Ruben to really be creative, imaginative and has lead to him making several new friends online, one of whom we are planning to meet up with in a few days time! He has created his own gaming magazine and with some other home educated contributions has now created two issues! Both of which have gotten lots of lovely comments. He's learnt how to play a card game called "Yu-Gi-Oh" and now goes to a weekly club where they also play Pokemon cards. 

I think the main thing I'm noticing this year is how grown up and mature my youngest three children are becoming. So our biggest success really is that what we are doing is working, our children are happy, confident and thriving each in their own way. The success for us is that we get to be part of it.