So, it’s the end of another summer and it’s been a great one!
Lots of lovely hot sunny days spent with people I love, lots of fun days out and some pretty big changes too!
We moved house in the middle of August, we’ve got a lovely old house with a huge kitchen and a lovely cellar that Kia has turned into a cosy bedroom for herself.
Evie has a huge double bedroom to fill with her Xbox and various other bits of geekery and as always Scott and myself have drawn the short straw and have the little bedroom, which is currently filled with boxes and boxes of craft supplies including 10 very large boxes of wool!
We had so much help from our lovely friends and family moving house and Scott’s brilliant parents came all the way from Inverness to clean and decorate the new house before we moved in.
So we’ve been here a month and still not finished unpacking or putting up furniture…but otherwise its perfect, we’ve already had guests to stay.
Kias friend Penny came for 5 nights before heading home to Denmark and then Mica and her boyfriend Danny were here last week when they came home from Cheltenham for a few days.
Hopefully we’ll be unpacked and organised sooner rather than later as I’m planning a house warming party in a few weeks!
Other things we’ve enjoyed this summer is a new found love of geocaching , if you not know what geocaching is…it’s a worldwide treasure hunt, looking for containers holding one times nothing more than a teeny roll of paper on which to sign your name. You get the GPS Coordinates from the official geocaching website, and use your phone with GPS enabled or another handheld GPS device to track down the geocache, be warned if you give it a go…it’s pretty bloody addictive!
http://www.geocaching.com/ is where to look if you’re at all intrigued by it!
And finally to end our brilliant summer…we had lots of music recently in the form of a very very muddy weekend at LeedsFestival, I went with Kia, Evie and my little sister Hermione. Even though Evie and Hermione have been to festivals before, this was the first time they were really into the whole thing, the music, the silliness, the general festival spirit and of course the never ending MUD!
We saw some amazing bands including Nine Inch Nails, Fall Out Boy, Villagers, The Lumineers, System of a Down, Green Day, Foals, Is Tropical, The 1975, Chase and Status and the absolute high point of the weekend Eminem!!
And following closely on the heels of Leeds Festival was a musical evening at the bisque painting studio Les Cadeaux in our village with our very talented friend Kayla Kavanagh playing there, in the break between segments of her set Evie payed ‘Yellow Submarine’ with Neil the owner of Les Cadeaux and Evie’s guitar tutor, it was a wonderful night, Kayla is talented and funny and a lovely person too and seeing my little girl sat playing her guitar in front of a roomful of people was the icing on a big fat cake!
So, we are well and truly into September now, the weather is much, much cooler already and the nights seem to have drawn in super fast.
We are back on track with our lessons and Evie has the LEA assessor coming to visit us next week.
Our current topics are The Romans for history, Australia for geography and The Solar System for science, so lots of fun coming up with those!
That’s all for now
Evie’s project this week is Saltaire and Sir Titus Salt, the wool manufacturer and philanthropist from Yorkshire.
Sir Titus Salt built the model village Saltaire on land he had acquired near to Shipley, he decided to relocate his mill and workers out of the it’s of Bradford after a cholera outbreak killed over 300 people in Bradord.
Salt built houses for his workers, a church, school, hospital, an educational institute and almshouses for retired workers as well as his magnificent mills.
Saltaire had everything a good village in the mid 19th century should have except a pub! Sir Titus Salt was a strict teetotaller and insisted that his workers remain sober as well.
The streets of Saltaire were mostly named after members of the Salt family and two architects who contributed to the design and building of Saltaire, a few notable exceptions include a trio of streets named after flowers popular at the time and some streets named after royalty.
These days the mill hosts an exhibition by local artist David Hockney and some excellent historical information.
A brilliant restaurant and some rather lovely shops!
And the houses once occupied by mill workers are now highly desirable properties and the shops are mostly either speciality shops or sadly empty, although we did see one, ‘Salts Village Bakery’ where my Grandma worked a long time ago, and where they make and sell the most deeee-licious spinach and feta pasties!
We also found the street where my Dad lived when him and Mum first met and where my Grandma still lived when I was first born and we spotted houses where various relatives have lived over the years.
We had a yummy picnic in Roberts Park and a good walk around it, culminating in a run around (for the kids) in the playground…although I had a quick bounce on a trampoline and our friend Helen slid down the slide a few times, looking out over the river Aire from the playground we could see a weir in the river where as a child I begged and begged to be allowed to play with all the lucky kids who were allowed to play in the water…I was never ever allowed though!!
The weather was on our side yesterday too which helped make it yet another lovely day out!
Until next time
I know I’ve only been writing this blog for a week but I want to review the whole month of June because its been a great month all round.
We’ve had some great days out, The Magna Science centre in Rotherham, Experience Barnsley, the open studio and walk around Skipton and the end of year exhibition at Batley Art School.
We’ve crafted loads.
We’ve started our homeschool adventure and completed a very successful first week.
We’ve had five amazing days in Portugal, we lost a day and a half because of the French air traffic controllers strike.
We’ve eaten some lovely food and I’ve drank endless good coffees!
We helped out at a local litter pick to make our village a nicer place for everyone and we met Dan Jarvis our MP when he unveiled a plaque commemorating the Queens coronation.
And most importantly we’ve spent lots of time with our amazing family and friends, we celebrated a 71st birthday, we had a goodbye party for my sisters mother-in-law and my good friend as she’s just moved to Exmouth, and we had a visit from our middle daughter Mica.
All in all Junes been a brill month!
Evie has got off to a flying start with her home education. We decided that as there are only four weeks left until the end of the school year she could do a project a week for each of the next four weeks.
Shes going to include research into each subject, facts and figures, art work and creative writing.
Saltaire and Sir Titus Salt
As well as this she’s going to do some maths and read for at least half an hour a day.
To keep healthy we walk a lot and Evie has joined a karate class with her cousin Elliott.
We had a fun trip to The Range today to stock up on books, paper, pencils, pens and the ever elusive pencil sharpeners! After getting home and unpacking this lot Evie was dying to get down to some work using it all…she has never had correction fluid before until today, and she managed to make at least one mistake that needed correcting on each line of her work!
After all Evie’s hard work we spent a pleasant hour painting at Les Cadeaux, the new ceramic painting studio that opened recently in our village.
Then we were back there again this evening as it’s the new venue for our weekly craft night. Lucky us…we had a trainee masseuse giving us ‘tester’ massages tonight! Almost everyone there had one and thoroughly enjoyed it!
Until next time.
So today is the start of Evie’s home education.
We decided home education was the way forward for a number of reasons, the most important of these is my complete lack of confidence in the current UK education system.
I want Evie to grow up into a well rounded, free thinking, individual and independent person, I really don’t think any of these traits are encouraged in schools today.
Learning in schools seems to consist mostly of memorising facts for exams and learning to comply without question.
Aaaaarghhh it sounds horrible, I want my daughter to learn that there’s more to life than this and I don’t want to bring up another little robot to be ground down by which ever oppressive government we happen to have in power! (Mini rant over!).
Another reason we’ve decided to home educate is that my 12 year old sister Hermione has been educated at home since march of this year and I am very involved in her learning.
I really enjoy my time teaching Hermione and I’ve found it a huge learning curve for both of us.
Hermione was consistently let down by the education system, she missed some school after our Dad died in 2009 and slipped behind in some of her lessons, sadly the school she was at didn’t do anything at all to help her catch up, making poor Hermione feel stupid and ultimately losing all her confidence in herself and her ability to learn.
Three months down the line with her home ed and she’s blossoming into the clever kid she always has been, she asks questions about what we’re studying, she’s genuinely interested in our lessons and most importantly she really enjoys learning!
The time I’ve spent with Hermione has boosted my confidence enough that I feel I’m well able to give Evie a fun and interesting education at home now.
And the final reason I’m going to home educate Evie is the amount of pressure I saw put upon her year at school recently during their year 6 SATs, from the beginning of January onwards her lessons at school consisted almost exclusively of preparation and revision for these useless exams.
Their French lessons stopped, arts and crafts, which was practically non existent beforehand stopped altogether in the run up to SATs.
I saw how worried my little girl was about doing well and getting level 5’s and I wondered how fair is it to put so much pressure and expectation on 10-11 year old children?
So after much discussion as a family we’ve decided this is the way forward for us all.
We took the first step today and delivered a letter to Evie’s school advising them of our decision and asking them to remove her from the school register and confirm this in writing to us.
The school also have to let the local education authority know of our decision so that Evie’s progress at home can be monitored by the local assessor.