Ok firstly, violin. I know, I vowed, through gritted teeth, never to mention it again, but it's got better. Much much better.
I found the accompanying book for Francesca's Eta Cohen violin method and it has piano accompaniments for everything, even the scales and even those boring bits when she's just twanging away on one string.
The piano accompaniment suddenly makes Francesca's little wavering line of music sound like really something. She feels as though she is in a concert, rather than just slogging away at home.
It also has the added bonuses of requiring Francesca to keep in time, whilst starkly accentuating any wrong notes by their discordance with the piano.
The best thing is, it sounds great! We're both really enjoying playing together. I think Francesca loves bossing me around too: "Now we'll play just this line 5 times..." etc. I am delighted to be bossed around in this way, of course, because it means she is actually working. There's hardly any procrastination at all and we could practice longer if it wasn't for the growing frustration of the waiting siblings (who cannot even be pacified with TV any longer, since the lounge contains both TV and piano).
So after violin I did phonics with Elizabeth. We've covered all the Jolly Phonics now and are following up with reinforcement work and more practice. She loves it.
More story tapes were listened to. I'm pleased to say we've now got some new ones from the library. I was starting to know some of the other ones off by heart.
And we did some work on germination.
Mum had made us a little greenhouse out of a pepper-corn jar. It contains some beans and peas which are germinating. She has also made us some recording sheets and information sheets, so we know what to look out for as germination occurs. The girls loved filling in their sheets today, showing that the radicles have grown on the peas but, on the beans, "Nothing has hapend."
Sebastian asked where his sheet was! I gave him some plain paper and he did some 'work' then got out his jigsaws.