I’m beginning to understand what people mean when they say they are worried about the social side of HE – too many social opportunities and not enough time spent at home with each other!
On Thursday, P. went for a tryout session at a new HE group for kids over 6. There is a paid worker there, and one parent stays to help out each week. They are working on a long term theme of ‘media’ and last week began a new project to make a short film. P. knew most of the other kids already, and seemed to settle in fine. She is keen to stay involved, and I think she’ll really enjoy her time there.
On Friday, I took the kids to another HE group at lunchtime, and then P. went to an after school birthday party and cinema trip with a gang of her old school friends.
On Saturday, both kids did trampolining, which has now become pretty much an entirely HE class, after we prompted a bit of an influx from our regular Monday group. They then went straight over to their friend J’s house, where they had a lovely time and bravely stroked the family dog.
Later, we all went round to the house of our local cousins to see fireworks from their upstairs window with a spectacular view across town. P. and L. stayed there for a sleepover, and we went home. We were fully expecting a call to say that Leo didn’t want to stay, but for the first time ever, he did! This was our first night without a child in the house for eight and a half years – which was nice but a bit strange…
All the kids insisted on following the sleepover with a swimming trip to the local pool, so they and Dani trudged through the rain to get there on Sunday afternoon, accompanied by our other local cousin and his dad. P. bumped into some people she knows from her school days at the pool, and had a splendid time jumping in and diving to the bottom.
And Monday was our weekly HE group, followed by Woodcraft Folk in the evening. Dani had to go to a Woodcraft parents’ meeting, so Leo played at his cousin B’s house.
Whew! It’s no wonder we’re all a bit tired. We’ve decided to pull our horns in a bit, but we are pretty much committed to 5 weekly groups, so it’s not going to be easy.
A day at home
Tuesday we decided to make no social arrangements and try to relax and do things at home. This worked wonderfully as the morning began with the delivery of some small pulley blocks from Dani's dad. Pearl fell on these with joy and set about devising a pulley in the stairwell. She tried several designs and the final one was used to carry her book and drink upstairs at bedtime. Unfortunately it was not strong enough for her hot water bottle, but no doubt she's planning modifications.
Leo was interested for a while too and using a pulley to move some wooden building bricks led to building a nest of bricks on the stairs.
Leo watched quite a lot of 'Discovery Kids' programmes during the morning. At one point I wandered in to the kitchen and he looked a bit comatose.
Allie - "What's this about, Leo?"
Leo - "Jus dis" (face fixed on tv)
Allie - "What is this? What is it about?"
Leo - "Jus dis"
Allie - "Leo, if you really don't know what it's about then maybe you should do something else instead of sitting there staring at it. I mean, you seem to have no idea what it's about." (Autonomous home edder status rapidly slipping here)
Leo - "I told you what it was about. JUSTICE! Trial by jury and things like that!"
After lunch we went to the library. Pearl was on a roll so she brought her inventions notebook, as well as her current Roman mystery. Leo settled down with a Dav Pilkey book and read it with great dedication. (I think he is being influenced by Pearlie's reading of the Roman mystery books as he seems intent on finishing it tonight!)
Pearl went to the science and technology shelves and found a book to explain how electricity is generated from solar power. This was necessary because she had moved on to a design for a pulley system to get people up the steep hill on which we live. She took this all in, incorporated it her in plan and drew her design in her notebook.
We borrowed some books and toys from the library and went home. We were pleased to have a surprise visit from the Brighton grandmothers, on their way home from the fracture clinic. My mum doesn't have to have surgery but she has to keep her arm in a sling for the next five weeks. The doctor got her to do things with her arm that hurt a lot, but I think she was relieved to hear that metal pinning won't be necessary. The kids gave her very gentle kisses and cuddles.
P. is rattling through the Roman Mysteries. She is on the 9th book now, and may then have to wait for her cousin S. to finish reading the 10th and lend it to her. She reads at every possible moment – on the bus, walking down the street, during HE groups, etc. I don’t think she has ever been grabbed like this by a book/series of books before.
L. got a free book with an RSPCA magazine in the local newsagents. He has been reading odd pages here and there, which is pretty hard going for him, but he seems to be following it OK. We have been helping out by reading it to him in bed, too. He's also enjoying reading Dav Pilkey again, and often asks for Dr Seuss favourites at bedtime too.
- The RSPCA magazine had a competition to design a new Sylvanian Family. Both P. and L. decided to enter, and produced these lovely pictures:
- P. made a creditable sound with a didgeridoo one of the dads brought along to the Monday group.
- Somebody else brought along a giant stick insect that lives free in their house – both kids stroked it.
- P's Christmas list, which includes "wood, tools and stuff" and "a good strong ball of string".