I've not been blogging lately. That's because I've been sleeping. Not all day, obviously, just when I've finally finished being energetic and enthusiastic with the children - or even not very energetic or enthusiastic with the children - I crash into bed and sleep and sleep and sleep.
The fact is, I've had this horrible cough for about two weeks and I'm absolutely exhausted.
So, no updates. But that's not to say we haven't been busy.
Last week we went to see The Ugly Duckling ballet, for one. It was very cleverly done and the children enjoyed it in proportion to their age. Francesca sat, enthralled, the whole time. Elizabeth asked if it was finished every time the lights dimmed for a scene change and Sebastian wanted to climb on my knee and bounce up and down. Too late, I realised that a revision of the plot (could we call it a plot?!) of the story would have been helpful. Elizabeth wasn't familiar enough with the tale to really understand what all the prancing about was in aid of. Francesca got it. And she loved the dancing. But I would have liked to have sat Elizabeth down beforehand and explained it all to her:
The Ugly Duckling is really a baby swan, but she doesn't know it. That's why she's grey and the others are yellow because they are really baby ducks.
The Ugly Duckling realises she's not like the other ducklings so she goes to try and find out where she really belongs. She tries to be a frog, but she isn't really like the other frogs. Neither is she like the other cats. Or the fox...
Elizabeth loved the part where the fox almost ate the Ugly Duckling, she thought it was hilarious!
Later in the week we went to an art session at the Hatton Art Gallery, part of Newcastle University, and made spring collages.
Here they are.
Sebastian's is pretty accurate for the actual weather we've been having this so-called spring:
Elizabeth enjoyed the sticking and drew middles on all her flowers:
Then she did another one:
Here's Sebastian's second attempt:
We'd stopped going to these art sessions for a while because Elizabeth was clingy, Francesca was shy and Sebastian just wanted to run around the gallery the whole time.
This time, Sebastian sat for almost the whole session and was busily occupied. He sat himself next to his friend, a five year old boy, and wanted to do exactly what he did, which was sweet.
The girls were both happy to work independently this time (well, mostly!) and they were happy to be sitting with friends. I even got to chat to some other mums!
And here's Francesca's, a work in progress:
She's added more at home but I've not photographed it yet.
After the session we went to play outside in the University quadrangle and also near the 'heads' (sculptures with benches). It was really great to see the girls playing with older girls and Sebastian being cared for by a 12 year old boy who had him walking all along the benches and jumping off the ends, which Sebastian was super-chuffed about.
It's important, according to Steve Biddulph (Manhood) that boys get to mix with older role-models. In school, placed in a class with peers the same age, it tends to be more competitive than aspirational, but here was Sebastian, with a nice 12 year old boy to look up to. And this after sitting closely beside a nice five year old boy to look up to too. Another benefit of Home Ed.
When we got cold, we moved into a cafe and the big boy shared his shortbread with Sebastian while the girls shared tiny bits of a notepad and did drawings in a game they were all involved in. Nobody wanted to go home!
Friday, I was So Tired that Francesca suggested we go to Caffe Nero (she's all heart! Or does she just love croissants?!) I said we could, if we took some work to do. We dropped Elizabeth at playgroup and took Francesca's story pad with us. Sebastian played with the toys, I had a coffee and Francesca wrote nearly a page of A4 in beautiful neat writing. When it was time to leave, she was still writing and wanting to carry on. This after Seymour was worried that she wasn't writing enough and I was wondering if I should force her into it a little. This week, she's really into story writing with not a word from me. Just shows...