Little Star Homeschool

"Do not train children to learning by force and harshness, but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each." Plato

Went into town today to fetch some new trainers to wear for work mostly because I discovered my boots leak when I went out in the snow the other day! Popped into the RSPCA charity shop and the sales woman asked Robert "not in school today?" I just quipped back without thinking really "he's home educated" and started a quick conversation concerning the legal ins and outs of home ed. I could have made an excuse and said he was off sick but why shouldn't we be proud of what we do?

Roberts learning to read new words from The Cat in the Hat Dictionary by Dr Seuss. He can read a lot of stuff from this book however its still filling in a lot of gaps in his reading knowledge.

Robert and Daddy spent the rest of the afternoon playing Harry Potter on the playstation while I made a curried shepherds pie for dinner.....experimental cooking using Indian spices to cook from scratch rather than buying ready made curry sauces to reduce our intake of trans-fats, sugars and artificial additives.

I'm off work this week...a much needed break because in a couple of weeks I will be covering my colleague when she goes into hospital for an op. More shifts : ( but the extra money will be useful.

I'm thinking of growing some veg in the garden this year, I read an article by Monty Don in last Sundays Mail and he claims it can be done in a small garden and we have a small garden lying fallow after the winter. I like flowers a lot but veg somehow seems more progressive towards a healthier lifestyle and when I was little gardening with my dad we grew some amazing stuff. I can still remember how good home grown runner beans tasted.

We had some snow on Friday, now the sun is shining and its looking more spring like. I better get the vacuum cleaner out now and try to find the carpet lol

I woke this morning with the 'lurgy' sore throat, fever, lethargy...yuk! Still, there's no lying in bed feeling sorry for oneself when kids are around and on pancake day? Never been known! So guess what we had to eat today : )

Robert is asking what day is it again, hoping for the answer to be monday so he can go to the Muddle Puddle group again. I have marked the next meet on the calendar so he can keep track of the days.

Meanwhile he is expounding on his theories regarding plumbing and sewage, he reckons toilets must like what goes into them (I think this is because he doesn't consume things he doesn't like.) Then he chattered on about the consequences of not having a bottom. Cats do not have bottoms I am told "only tails."

Yesterday Robert and I went to our first Muddle Puddle Group over in Sheffield. After initially sitting on the sidelines with his coat firmly on, Robert soon joined in. Its the most relaxing afternoon I've had in ages too. When we got home he was quiet and reflective, he gave Daddy a rundown of the main happenings such as who cried and such. He wants to go again. Yay!

Its worth commenting on the difference I noticed in home-ed kids when compared to school-ed kids, John's first two children (now 20 and 21) were school educated and they and their peers were very different in their treatment of adults and class-mates. Yesterday I was watching mixed age kids play without conflict and talking to adults in a completely confident and relaxed manner. There were no 'crowd-control' issues that overwhelm the classroom and children used their initiative to develop games. Older children naturally shepherded the little ones, this wasn't just a group of kids but a team of like-minded individuals working together. Now that's something you will be hard-pressed to find in the adult world.

Home-ed kids do not learn the adversarial attitudes bred in schools, there's no 'them and us' divide between kids and adults, yet they understand who is in authority should they need help or a child is getting into danger. Now then, if they do not need to defy authority because it is not eroding their self-esteem then these potential teens will not need to rebel against authority in order to build the false ego and will grow to become well-rounded adults comfortable within themselves and their place in society.

We bathe under the midnight starry sky
and sweep careless drops of mik from our hair
We sigh and marvel at creation every day
and in our wonderings create so much more
Are we godesses woven from aphrodites loom
More than that we are daughters and mothers
This silent sorority who sit with our cheeks pressed
staring listlessly at the rain watching the window cry
And chase away the shadows with a song
We share our dreams and delights for the days ahead
Whilst innocently dabbling in water, earth and ink
Wiping away the heavy dew pressing us down into slumber
we are fond of this life with all its passing drone of hectic noise
We are pleased with who we are.

Circles, stars and fire by Robert

If you've got a new matress don't show this to your kids. Our mattress is ready for replacing, when we get a new one it may have to be combined with the purchase of a trampoline. Incidentally I would have given my right arm to do this on my parents bed.

Robert created this on Ulead PhotoImpact after watching me use it countless times. He built the image up from set shapes coloured with bucket fill and multivision and defraction filters added last. I think its stylish and shows he has a a good eye for colour.

This afternoon Robert and I tidied the master bedroom, well...I tidied while he bounced on the bed. Later I attempted some Soduko - I've only been doing them for about a week so I am a bit slow and I get stuck. On commenting that I was indeed clueless Robert came out with the broad statement, "6 is just a 9 upside down." "yes it is" I replied adding the ubiquitous "very clever." Not to be outdone he continued, "they are both actually curly numbers. Thats all." He wandered off, I went back to my puzzle.

What can I say, is fantastic, totally addictive. Spent the morning taking a virtual cruise of the Norfolk Broads. Chesterfield is a bit blurry though but they are working on it apparently. We can't see our house : (

John is a great fan of hypnosis and spotted this rather garish book with its red and yellow cover while shopping in WHSmith. It was a rare impulse purchase and one which has changed his life. He was a 20 - 30 a day smoker who had made many attempts over 30 years to give up the habit. He tried patches, gum, willpower, herbal cigarettes, Skoll Bandits (remember them), snuff and even Fishermans Friends (throat lozenges).

The book is 123 pages long and divided into two parts with a hypnosis CD. The idea is you read the first part of the book, listen to the hypnosis CD then read the rest of the book. The first part makes sobering reading, it is full of facts and figures of what smoking does to the body and the mind. Statistics abound on the number of people who die horribly from the dreaded weed and also for good measure includes a nice statistic on the number of people who need to have limbs amputated as well. Pretty shocking and the old smokers addage "it won't happen to me" is exploded once and for all. Susan Hepburn does insist that you really must want to give up smoking. This is the most important point of the book. Without this commitment you will not stop smoking. The CD follows a pattern which is common to many hypnosis CDs that is the "talk down induction" where the subject is put into a deep state of relaxation which calms the conscious mind thus allowing the hypnotic commands to be delivered straight to the subconscious where they will be acted upon without question. After this the induction is reversed to bring the subject back to full awareness. I should mention that whilst under hypnosis one is still aware of what is going on around them and should an emergency arise one can wake up instantly. This is mentioned on the CD and is one of the things one must look for when purchasing, although it is fair to say that any professionally created hypnosis CD will have these instructions.Suprisingly on first using the CD John wasn't impressed, it seemed to simple. He had previously given up smoking for two years using Paul McKenna's method but obviously lapsed. Pretty soon however he began to realise that the beauty of this CD lies in its simplicity. No jargon or age regression which in effect takes you back to before you smoked, just the author telling you that you will not smoke again. He used the CD late at night and read the rest of the book before going to bed. He woke next morning with no desire to smoke and hasn't smoked since. After two days he picked up a cigarette put it in his mouth then put the cigarette back in the packet and said "what is the point of that, I don't know why I ever smoked in the first place." Its been 4 weeks now since he quit and he is quite happy to sit with smokers, never feeling the urge to ask for a cigarette and has no desire to 'borrow' cigarettes if they are left lying around. He has not compensated by snacking, munching on mints or any other habit replacement 'therapy.' The second part of the book reinforces the first, continuing in a similar vein. It is now two weeks on and he has not had a single craving for a cigarette, cigar, pipe, nicotine gum or patch.

He says that he has forgotten how to smoke. I guess its my turn next.

Yachts moored up near Potter Higham, Potter has the best chip shop I have ever visited, the fish is fresh straight from the catch.

I snapped this boat as we were cruising down to Coltishall, the water here is crystal clear. Although we did have a bit of a squeeze getting our boat under Wroxham Bridge, there isn't much clearance.

Robert's favourite - carrot cake.

As you can see this cake is so popular in our house that some of it has gone before I got the chance to photograph it.

Look what I made Daddy!
Robert's first try at making a home-made loaf, wholemeal and absolutely scrummy buttered whilst still warm from the oven. I got the recipe from Delicious magazine (I'm a subscriber) and its so easy to make. Just put 500g strong bread flour in a bowl with a pinch of salt and 14g easy blend yeast, 50mls olive oil and about 300ml cold tap water - yes I did say cold water. Apparently it's an old wives tale that says you need tepid water with yeast and its not that fussy about being kept warm either! Blend ingredients and knead for 6 minutes then leave to rise for an hour. knock back the dough to get rid of the air then shape into a ball. Flour and cut a deep cross in the top and bake at 220 degrees centigrade for about 30 minutes. You can tell when bread is cooked because it sounds hollow when tapped on the underside. Quick, easy, yummy and not an E number in sight.

'Sis' has come to visit...this is Roberts step-sister by John's previous marriage. Robert waited for "one hundred hours" and now she's here and he's happy as a sandboy. Since sis moved to Wales to live with her boyfriend she has been sorely missed by her brother. Its been a good year since he saw her last and has had to make do with brief chats on the phone. All is well.

I actually remembered to get some meat out of the freezer for tomorrow's dinner. We had to make do with pasta tonight. I get so tired with the extra shifts at work, we are short-staffed as it is and because I am the reliable one who never goes off sick I work when the others are off.

Will do baking with Robert tomorrow, he's took to liking carrot cake. I am a sneaky devious person when it comes to getting him to eat his veg. You'd be suprised what I can hide in a muffin!

Your 2005 Song Is

Feel Good Inc by Gorillaz

"Love forever love is free.

Let's turn forever you and me."

In 2005, you were loving life and feeling no pain.

Wind pump at St Olaves, Robert adores windmils and windpumps. I explained that the ones with sails had been restored and all week he pointed out the restored windmills and the not restored windmills.

We had a gloriously sunny day on the thursday and went to the beach at Lowestoft, not bad for early october. Robert and Daddy paddling in the sea.

Stopping off at St.Olaves for lunch and Robert actually wore his life-jacket all week.

I really don't do winter all that well, all i want to do is hibernate with a good book and then I get loads of extra shifts at work. Its been an absolute nightmare since I got back off holiday in October and this blog has really suffered as I have tried to maintain my other e-interests. I am back, I think.

Well, to catch up...Robert's reading has come on in leaps and bounds. I picked up 5 Dr. Seuss books in my local remainder bookshop, the cat in the hat, the cat in the hat comes back, fox in socks, hop on pop and green eggs and ham. His reading age is now about 7 years 3 months. Reading words like sometimes and phrases such as upside down with ease. I can recommend Dr. Seuss wholeheartedly.

Now we are 4 we are seriously into Charlie and Lola and have added the word 'ablsolutely' onto the end of every sentence *sighs*

We have 'fessed up to being home schoolers among some of our friends who have asked if Robert is 'in school yet' reactions are varied to say the least from pure joy to downright sarcasm. Some people seem incapable of greeting the unknown with positive feedback.

I've also been working my socks off for some cash to fund our next holiday on the Norfolk Broads doing consumer reviews on Ciao and surveys. Ipoints have funded some more Dr. Seuss books from Amazon and a new DVD player. We've had a horrendous couple of months for electrical breakdowns, first the washer/dryer and thats essential equipment, then the DVD player followed by the printer.

If you are interested in joining Ciao and earning a few bob reviewing consumer goods click the banner plus if you sign up and get going I earn a bit more cash for books!

I will upload some holiday pics later because blogger is having an off day today.


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