Posts Tagged ‘pride’

Nyssa’s consultation response

February 20, 2009

Nyssa would like everyone to know her views. There are still some hours left to fill it in!

Consultation Questions


Do you think the current system for safeguarding children who are educated at home is adequate? Please let us know why you think that.


Do you think that home educated children are able to achieve the following five Every Child Matters outcomes? Please let us know why you think that.

2 a)

Be healthy


Comments: I think it’s easier for vegetarians and vegans to be healthy when home-educated.

2 b)

Stay safe


Comments: I feel good and safe in my home.

2 c)

Enjoy and achieve


Comments: I’m very happy and I’m learning much more easily than I did at school.

2 d)

Make a positive contribution.


Comments: In fact, I have learned to get along much better with older people and younger people and unique people than I did at school.

2 e)

achieve economic well-being


Comments: I think happiness and healthy and keeping other peoples’ lives and helping the poor are more important.


Do you think that Government and local authorities have an obligation to ensure that all children in this country are able to achieve the five outcomes? If you answered yes, how do you think Government should ensure this?.


Comments: I think it’s the parents’ job because they’re the reason we’re alive and so they care more!


Do you think there should be any changes made to the current system for supporting home educating families? If you answered yes, what should they be? If you answered no, why do you think that?


Comments: The government should leave home educators alone.


Do you think there should be any changes made to the current system for monitoring home educating families? If you answered yes, what should they be? If you answered no, why do you think that?


Comments: I hate inspections! I don’t think there should be any anymore.


Some people have expressed concern that home education could be used as a cover for child abuse, forced marriage, domestic servitude or other forms of child neglect. What do you think Government should do to ensure this does not happen?

Answer: I don’t know how the government could help abused kids by spying on home educators. All kinds of kids can be abused and you can’t spy on everyone!

(I think it’s funny that the spelling error in the consultation form has mysteriously been corrected..)

I think those were some excellent comments. I didn’t know she had such strong opinions on inspections! We’ve been off our council’s radar for some reason, so we only had the one a few years ago, and it wasn’t in our home. I wonder if she’s putting them in the same category as rental agency inspections–nobody likes those! 🙂

On the topic of having opinions, I’ve started a new blog for the purpose of ranting about mine. If you’re interested, it’s over here…only I bought a domain for it, and it might take a few days to propogate. In the meantime, read it here.


*horror movie scream*

October 23, 2008

Something I’ve never quite gotten over is the whole household cleanliness honesty thing, particularly where in-laws are concerned. I always envisioned myself becoming, certainly by my late 20s, someone who would have the household rhythm down and everyone more or less clean all the time. It eludes me still, but rather than just accept it, I have quasi-panic attacks just before visitors come. OK, admittedly not all visitors, and this all depends on how well I’m feeling (which affects my ‘give-a-sh*t’ levels to a high degree), but generally I try to nurture the fantasy that I’m not a complete slob. So in the interest of evolving honesty, I post the following–the photo of my laundry closet after I gutted the house of all the dirty laundry I’d managed to pretend didn’t exist..


It seems though that I might have a good out for being a bit immature about the housework. A neighbor came from across the street the other day to introduce herself. She greeted me, sort of looked me up and down, and asked, very nicely I should add, if my mom was home. Good god. I sort of feebly replied that I was indeed the lady of the house, tada. Granted, it probably didn’t help that I was wearing camo pants, pig tails, and bright lipstick, but come on. I’m 30 years old.

Certainly old enough to vote–which I did!

I find it fairly charming that they must assume that everyone, from the sorority girl to the old farmer, is going to be keen on getting a sticker. I put that in the mail the other day, so I see no reason why it shouldn’t get home in time. I’m a good citizen, w00t.

Speaking of good citizens, here’s a very good little world citizen, learning about her planet. She loooooves her geography. She cuddles her geography. I suppose that’s one benefit of homeschooling–you can engage with your material in any number of strange ways and there are only a few people who will give you wierd looks for it.

Another demonstration of good citizenship–here are the kids walking back from doing the recycling. I like the ‘No Golf’ sign just on the other side of our wall.

Being a good citizen also involves reusing. What the hell am I doing to this guitar with knitting needles, you ask? This is yet another example of my awesome McGyvering skills. I was reading about lap steel guitars, and decided I need to play around with one. The only reasonable course of action at that point was to take this crappy £5 guitar we got at a knick-knack shop, put a wooden needle under the strings to raise them, tune it, then use an aluminum addi knitting needle as the bar. Do you know what, it worked just fine. The guitar being incapable of holding its tune for more than 2 minutes is what did it in, not my elite instrument building skills. Hehe.

To be a good citizen, one must also support small business. To that end, I just bought some more knitting needles. These are beastly *15mm* addi circulars. Yeah, woah. You know, they’d make mighty fine steel guitar bars…

As a responsible citizen, I also support the arts. Would you take a look at this?

This is a typical example of James’ doodling. That’s right–his doooodling. I finally convinced him to stop doing them on envelopes and I ordered him some proper paper. I don’t think I’m merely husband-proud in saying that he is quite talented. He has an extraordinary sense for forms and lines, and he’s doing all of these with a set of Sharpies. He refuses to let me buy him proper artist markers, and I think that’s a pity. Could be that I use the holidays as an excuse to get around the ban.. In any case, I’ve told him that what I want for Christmas is a huge one in a frame.

Oatso funny

March 29, 2008

Nyssa’s sense of humor is coming along nicely. To backtrack a little, a couple weeks ago I got sick of the kids continually getting cheerios all over the floor and threatened them with a week of oatmeal if it persisted. They must not have taken me seriously (they should know better by now I would think) because, sure enough, cheerios everywhere. So I enacted the sentence and to add insult to injury made them eat the baby porridge that you have to reconstitute. Sounds sadistic? I blame my dad and the Fishstick Punishment of ’93. Anyway, yesterday I took Nyssa to McDonalds to reward her for coming to the vet with me. Yeah, I know, but it’s the only place on the high street that does proper (well..) milkshakes, and she was yearning for one. Here we are also subjected to McDonalds Monopoly, and she got a sticker to peel on her cup. She was an instant winner–of a free bowl of Oatso Simple Porridge. Apparently British people consider that a prize and not, you know, an act of cruelty. Nyssa got the brilliant idea of taking it home, acting all excited and going on and on about winning a wonderful prize but wanting to give it to her beloved brother. The deflated look on his face upon reading his ‘prize’ was excellent.

Another Nyssa food-related funny–she came running to me the other day after a dinner of pasta and vegetarian ‘scampi’ exclaiming, ‘Mum I LOVE the pasta and scabs you made for dinner!’

Oh oh, I passed my car theory test, w00t. 🙂 Now to get my eyes checked, new glasses, and start properly driving.

So, I’ve declared this a house-cleaning weekend, but so far all we’ve managed is one run to Argos and now James and the kids are playing Xbox 360 while eating Ikea snacks, and I’m nursing a headache and thinking I’ll need a nap before anything more strenuous.

It’s always interesting..

March 10, 2008

..the things the kids do pick up. For example, Joseph just can’t keep the word ‘solfege’ in his head. But he’s lived through enough british Christmas Fetes that he has the concept of the obligatory fundraising schemes down. He picked up a toy binoculars that James had attempted to fix but had somehow made so fuzzy as to be unusable. The thing came free with a magazine, so that’s no surprise. Joseph put a positive spin on it though and said he’d put it in his tombola pile. He giggled and asked if I knew that that was, then quickly answered, ‘It’s where I put all the crappy junk I want to get rid of. It’s too junky to give to charity, but too good to throw away, so that’s what I do!’ He’s been the recipient of a few too many rubbish prizes, I think. lol

Nyssa is incapable of saying ‘Rumpelstiltskin’, though her permutations are adorable. She has however picked up on my running commentary on my fellow man (particularly fellow man whilst driving recklessly). She was telling me yesterday that she didn’t want to go out in her ‘home dress’ because it’s quite loudly patterned and people might tease her. I asked her why she thought people might do that, and she sighed and answered, ‘I dunno, some people are just asses?’

Another youtube find–this woman Imogen Heap has a beautiful voice, is a talented songwriter, and…check out her hand/ear coordination!

In the mail today, I got my provisional driving license! Wow, it took *less* than the time quoted by about half. So of course I’m now going to just assume that my passport that is to be sent back separately has been shredded or somesuch.

So, if you’ve always wondered what a UK provisional license looks like..there it is. Sucks, there’s also this piece of paper that you’re meant to carry around with it. That’s right, paper. I’m also a little peeved about the rubbish black and white photo. I actually managed to get a decent photo at the little shopping centre booth, and as you can see there was little point in even putting makeup on. Ah. Well. I’ve scheduled my theory test, I’m securing a parking place for my imaginary car, I’m getting there. After four years, I might just be driving again soon!

I might have mentioned getting a DS. It’s too fun, seriously. The kids obviously love the thing, and Purr Pals has somehow also rekindled their love of their Tamagotchis. Now, I’m as nervous as any parent of the influence of techie toys, but have to say, few toys inspire so much snugglebug time, as seen here:

That, incidentally, is the ‘home dress’.


February 18, 2008 a box of Animal Crackers. Failing that, a bag of them from Jenners that I got for 80% off is just about as good! (*nomnomnom*) That hoity toity department store in Edinburgh sells several items of American foodstuff, most of which are so over-priced that I point and squack. $10 for a box of Lucky Charms? Who is buying this stuff? What I look for are the clearance items hidden throughout the store. Good times to be had. Anyway, Animal Crackers. It finally occurred to me today that the packaging really shouldn’t make me happy. A polar bear, a lion, etc., all locked up in tiny circus cages. I think the cynic has finally consumed my entire person. It’s sad. They still taste like happy though.

So, Nyssa has been having issues taking proper care of her hair. I do sympathize. It has just a bit of a natural wave, and it’s quite thick. So, rather than hack it all off, I compromised and layered it. One doesn’t normally see layers on such young girls, and I’m really not into teenagering up little pickles. I mean, the term ‘tween’ makes me want to sock somebody. But I was trying to be practical given my circumstances. It does bring out the wave, which is cute. I also cut it in such a way that she can still obsessively tuck it behind her ears. What do you think?

A couple weekends ago Joseph and James went snowboarding with the Cub Scouts! I’m so very happy to report that they both had a great time. I was a bit nervous, truth be told. Watch him in action below:

As you can see he developed his own style ;).
(if youtube continues to be a b*st*rd about displaying the video, check it out here.


January 22, 2008

James got a letter the other day from his employer with two good bits of news. The first is that he’s passed his probationary period and is now ‘officially’ employed. This is always good. The second is that he has a very official-looking document on thick paper from Disclosure Scotland saying that he’s not a criminal (according to record anyway :P). Should I get it framed? Hehe.

So in contrast to my productive, tax-paying man, who had to work this weekend.. Poor thing had to get up at 6-something both days and commute into Edinburgh. Did I get up as well, perhaps making a carafe of coffee in commiseration? Hell no, I luxuriated in a bed all by myself. The kids got up at some point, but wisely left me alone. Roundabout noon Nyssa came in to chat or cuddle, I can’t recall exactly. A bit later I sat up. A while after that I spent some time petting cats, still in bed, of course. The absolute lack of energy expenditure was fantastic.

I’ll be paying it for this week though. Joseph has come down with what I suspect is norovirus and James just got a last-minute ticket to skip town, er, I mean a job assignment down South somewhere and will miss what will surely be an eventful few days.

I’m about to hit ‘post’ and Giganto Kitten comes careening in here, does a circuit of the room, and then blasts back out towards the stairs. The carpet-ripping run ends abruptly, there’s a second of silence, then sad kitten meows. Then silence. Then round two of speed demoning. *sigh*

Amazing thing..

November 8, 2007 much time I spend on the internets and still manage to not post pictures. Ah well. They’re sitting on my desktop anyway, queued nicely.

So. Nyssa has been having some strange and even more bizarrely predictable nighttime behavior. First, she’s been needing the bathroom *a lot* recently (we’re waiting for lab tests regarding that, actually), so she gets up once after bedtime to use the bathroom, won’t go into it. She eventually ends up in bed and a bit later will start to scream. I’ll run in to see what the matter is. She’ll invariably be sitting up, but will have stopped yelling. She’ll say strange things though. Last night it was, ‘Terrible, terrible, terrible! Pancakes!’ I lay her down and she conks right out. In the wee hours of the morning, she comes out for the bathroom again and then comes and flops on me. It’s hard for me to tell her to go to bed, because we have some weird and wonderful conversations in this late me and her time. Sort of reminds me of my dad coming home from his gigs. I’ll never forget that image actually. The crappy green carpet, Dad’s grey and black coat and beat-up cowboy hat, the smell of cigarettes and a bit of alcohol, and the hushed and husky voice of someone’s who’s been up into the wee hours of the morning. Ah. Anyway. Nyssa is mellow and slower in speech late at night. In fact one night she woke up because she was all wet. I found her in the bathroom with copious amounts of blood pouring off her face. I was shocked by the blood, but more so because of how composed she was. She commented in an offhand sort of way that she was concerned about getting her bedding stained. Bemusing little girl.

I’ve found a brilliant item to have when waiting at a train station longer than I intended. The kids were at a birthday party and got wee bottles of bubbles as favors. Apart from when they were being told off for venturing too close to the platform when chasing the bubbles, it was excellent.

People who don’t know James very well will probably be shocked to know that he is, in our vernacular, full of squee. That is, he gets all hello kitty cute at times. It’s true! You just have to involve cats somehow. For instance he is a very proud and doting father to his naughty kitten (hugantic, as Joseph says, 2-year-old cat) Mittens. He even has a painfully adorable song, the lyrics to which go: “Fishie time is here! Come and celebrate!” The singing of this is then followed by James going off into the hall with Mittens’ fish-on-a-stick toy with Mittens happily trotting along behind. The cat really is James’. He’s learned to fetch–on his own terms, but I can’t for the life of me train him to stay off the kitchen table. And he doesn’t just daintily hop up to sit, oh no. He jumps up, stomp-stomp-stomps about, knocks all the spare change and other kitty annoyances onto the floor, then nestles down in a bag of recycling. To top this off, when I come in and chide him, he looks at me like ‘what’ and somehow plants his huge rear end down to make extracting him as awkward as possible.

I finally got my invite to ravelry, woot. Sort of a myspace for yarn floozies. Check ‘er out here.

Nyssa was looking at the news and wants to warn you about this: apparently Gap hasn’t cleaned up its act.

Speaking of the Gap and its affiliate companies, I found Joseph an excellent coat in a charity shop yesterday. It’s reversible, red (awesome for Joseph), down-filled, and from the Old Navy. You find the odd and end American items second-hand here, it’s sorta funny. I have a strappy top from Banana Republic that I found in the Oxfam shop. Anyway, I paid a whole £1.25 for the coat. That’s $2.50, y’all. Yesss.

Hehe, I might have mentioned how huge of fans the kids are of High School Musical. It’s sick how the kids in this country love it. Nyss and Jos were even eyeing matching sequined tops with the HSM motif the other day. At some point I would have told the kids that someone had found a naked picture of Vanessa Anne Hudgens and put it on the internet. Femi-nazi Nyssa was appalled. Joseph said, ‘I wanna see it!!’ Nyssa was shocked, and chided him as he is her fan. He told her, ‘yeah, and if I see it I’ll be an even bigger fan!’ So so so wrong, but I could have died laughing.

Nyssa had a wee moment in the spotlight last week. We went to a schools showing of Meet the Robinsons and Nyssa was picked to radio the dude in the booth to start the film. She did a super cute job, but was a bit embarrassed about it because she was in her Halloween costume, being a home-schooled kid and having no dress code, and none of the other hundreds of kids aside from Joseph were. This year she was a little devil, and as is typical for Nyssa, the main features of her costume, i.e. horns and pitchfork, had become bothersome early in the day and were in my bag and her hair which had been spray-painted red wasn’t noticeable in the subdued light of the cinema. Nyssa needs her complexes I guess. That reminds me–for the love of wash’n’wear, do not buy the spray hair color from Boots. After drying it stained her clothes. It stained her scalp (a week later it’s still red). It stained the tub, it stained her jammies, it ruined her jacket because even after the hottest wash (or three) and the most caustic soap, the color wouldn’t completely come out.

And smoothly segueing yet again, Joseph was in the tub the other night and calls for me, sounding fairly urgent, to come to him. I find him with his hair all lathered up and a goofy grin on his face. ‘Mom look!’ he says then leans his head back sensually and running his fingers through his hair says, ‘yes yes, ohhh yes!’ I quirk an eyebrow. ‘I’m like the herbal essences commercial, get it?! Ahahahaha!’

One thing I like about homeschooling is that it halted the self-consciousness that was starting to impede their personalities. They were born whimsical, surreal creatures and I like that. Yesterday we were in Tesco, and I asked them to step aside to the seats by the window to wait for me to pay for the groceries. By the time I turned to look at them Nyssa was engrossed in a reflection of herself in the window doing a crazy hula dance. Joseph was trying to get out of an invisible box. When I walked to get them so we could leave, Joseph wordlessly opens a ‘door’ , gets into his ‘car’, motions for Nyssa and me to get in, and ‘drove’ us home. He’s an excellent chauffeur really. 🙂 And apparently he considers miming to be on his list of occupations for serious consideration. That would be very excellent.

Oh oh oh, we actually got an NHS dentist for the kids. Woww. James and I can’t get one of course, but the dude’s private rates aren’t too extortionate. This is considered better than average provision over here. Eh.

Guy Fawkes night was Monday, which as you might know is Britain’s bonfire/fireworks night. Wikipedia it if you’re interested. We were going to go to Burntisland, and indeed were on the way with our picnic dinner, when Nyssa was just feeling too unwell to be far from a bathroom, poor bean. So, we walked down a couple blocks to the waterfront in our own town and had no trouble finding a place to sit as the place was fairly deserted. It wasn’t actually bad for firework-spotting because even though they don’t have the sense to have anyone out on the forth shooting them off from a boat, lots of random folk were having their own little shows in the area. James confirmed for me a growing suspicion–you know those fireworks that back home in the States we can only get on the reservation? Yeah, apparently you can get them at the local supermarket here. Maybe they figure, ‘eh, it’s going to rain soon enough anyway.’?? So, we ate our picnic on an empty promenade, strained to see stars through the clouds, saw a few decent fireworks, and went home when we were too frozen to remain outside any longer. Then James made a fire and we played games. Pretty dorky, but for us it was a family night out on a week night. Wow! 🙂

Such a week (or three)!

September 29, 2007

Some recent photos:

People who live and shop on our street may be lucky enough to see these cute, happy little things popping out their front door.

We tried this photo about a dozen times before we managed to get all three people in the frame.

Dalkeith Country Park was amazing. It was the anti-Health and Safety. Wobbly sky walks, unfinished splintery wood, 2-story high slides..ahhh, that was a *proper* play park. And it was set in the trees!

Two lovely little maidens in the trees.

I love this photo.

I also love highland cows.

At the country park, this massive bridge was apparently a wedding gift. Is concrete not traditionally the 15th anniversary gift? 😉

This is Nyssa when I was trying to capture her Aunt Mo face on camera. Pretty good actually, hehe.

We went to an animal-themed birthday party. Nyssa was adamant that she didn’t want to dress up, but she did do an interpretation of a parrot with her normal wardrobe.

Joseph’s concession to themed dress was a dinosaur shirt.

I found this poor little child in the luggage rack and decided to keep him.

When our kind friend gives us a ride to events in the Edinburgh area, this invariably is the place we go to escape rush-hour traffic.

One big event of the week–Nyssa turned 8! This, of course, Joseph will be bemoaning until he turns nine. This incidentally is Grandma R burning herself.

It never fails to be the case that each holiday there is one small and seemly insubstantial present that the kids go head over heels for. The squeal-inducing gift this year was a Hello Kitty pez dispenser.

The other news of the week is that my son is famous! He was in no less than two papers, The Scotman and The Herald. I thought Nyssa would play to the camera, but apparently Joseph has more of an inner model. Whoulda thunk?? The other child is one of our little home ed friends. The shoot was for Historic Scotland and was done at Edinburgh Castle. Cool beans, eh?

With spouses like James..

September 28, 2007

..who needs enemies? I’m kidding of course, but sometimes he’s not just unhelpful, he strives to be The Anti-Help. Case in point: some days ago Nyssa comes up to ask what antioxidants are. I sputter for a minute with words like ‘free radicals’ and ‘oxidation’ whilst speed-googling for a kid-friendly response. James jovially takes over at this point. He shows Nyssa this picture:

He explains that antioxidants are something one takes to get the oxen out of ones body. (Nyssa, by the way, was savvy enough to know after a few nanoseconds that Dad was feeding her a load.) He points to this fellow in the cart:

He tells Nyssa to note how not only had this man expelled his inner oxen, but had made them into a useful resource. At that point I believe I wryly asked something about whether or not James had been taking his antioxidants, since he seemed to be so very full of bull****. He *then* tangents over to a map of Oxford (see here), where people had, apparently, historically always been good about ridding their heads of oxen, so much so that the town was named after their need to ford them across the river. I pointed out that that was perhaps telling, given the academic lot that gravitate towards the place. He was quick to agree, and I think the lesson ended on some grandly positive note along the lines of getting proper nutrition being the smart way to live.

Hehe, seriously, I wonder sometimes, with all the teasing the kids get from both of us, if all they’re really getting from their home education is the ability to tell whoppers with a straight face.

Hmm. Anyway, the kids are gone now with the grandparents (*sniffs sadly*), but they’re having a brilliant time. They called me a couple days ago (aw), and the first thing Nyssa said is that she was so glad to hear my sweet voice (AW!). The older we all get, the more I’m convinced that they took not just my brains and looks (if I ever had any to begin with) but also any sweet-temperedness. I’m a right hornet these days, but I seem to remember being such a nice and unassuming little girl..

For those concerned with Joseph’s wierd head happenings, I think the bumps resolved themselves. Joseph was *brilliant* and took every one of his doses, every day, three times, without having to be told, even though the taste was apparently appalling. If we did star charts, he’d get a huge one.

Nyssa has developed an itch to learn about the Tudors, in particular Henry VIII (why???). I’ve got books coming, but any ideas for creative projects would be most welcome.

I think Joseph has reached a new place in his cognitive development, in that when I explained what ‘metaphorically’ means, he could conceptualize it. One of the more interesting things about parenting is observing abstract thinking slowly awaken. One of the more humorous is when Joseph picks up a new phrase like, ‘That was *insert adjective phrase with multiple meanings of choice*–literally *and* metaphorically!’ followed by Joseph-style absurdist laughter. Ahhhhh I love my kids. 🙂

Speaking of children robbing me of brain cells, we went to Ikea and I couldn’t resist raiding the candy section. One of the bags has these fabulous fruity little fishes. ‘Wow,’ I’m thinking, ‘these taste just like Swedish Fish!!’ There’s an audible groan as my brain grinds to a start… ‘Oh yeah! Ikea! Swedish!’ *headdesk*

It’s alright though, since my position in life doesn’t necessitate much brain activity apparently. I would have been dejectedly washing dishes one night, and Nyssa comes in. She sees my plight, touches my arm gently, and says, ‘Mum, I’m so sorry you are the scullery maid.’

Someday soon I’m going to need to start driving. Things happen sometimes to put me right off it though, at least where other drivers are concerned. Joseph and I were walking home from scouts one evening, and come to a zebra crossing (non uk people: that’s a place that is super well-marked, lit up, drivers are obliged to stop, etc.). We stop because this jackass is actually speeding up to the stop from about 100 yards away. They screech around the corner, and as though that weren’t enough, the passenger leans out the window and barks at us. That’s right, like a dog. At a mother and a small boy. W. T. F. I’ve about had it with living downtown.

Couple things to note:

The holidays are coming up, and there has been some confusion as to customs on this side of the pond. For items marked as gift, a stated value of £36 or more could end up with me having to pay customs, VAT, etc. I’m sure you can read between the lines. For my part, I’ll keep that in mind when sending stuff home. Actually, I’ve had a bit of luck with because they take our uk bank card, so I might just stick with them again this year and avoid that nonsense altogether. Also note that if I seem like I’m spending lots of money on gifts in the US, I’m really not. The dollar is just so weak that my money goes twice as far. If I move back home, don’t be surprised if I’m suddenly really cheap, hehe. Seriously though, I do hope if anyone ever has a negative experience with getting mail from over here or a company I’ve chosen that they’d say so.

I updated my knitting blog with various things, including my awesome (*guffaw*) homemade spinning wheel. That is linked at the side I believe, but here it is anyway: fibre, fibre everywhere

Various updates

May 16, 2007

Hello, I’m sure everyone’s given up on regularly checking here as I never update, but the weather is improving and so seems to be my vitual chattiness. I did check the digital photo folders, but it seems that neither James nor I have been doing much in the way of visually documenting our lives. Shall have to remedy that.

So. The weather is pretty on and off, though the on days are almost warm, which is nice. I have a weather icon for Moscow, ID as well on my desktop which shows it to be 76 right now, about perfect. Sods.

The kids are developing their own styles of learning things, it would seem. Joseph has an interesting bias against spelling, which I can’t even manage to budge giving him the example of his writing dr who comics requiring basic spelling skills. Nyssa confuses me–she has to be reminded how to approach subtraction word problems but can mentally add fractions with differing denominators. She also needs a lot of positive energy from me or she’s likely to get down on herself and go into hopeless mode. That’s fine, but I can see why she was having trouble in a classroom.

Nyssa has a dance exam coming up, and she’s getting quite anxious about it. She had a bad rehearsal this week and wanted to quit, but I don’t think I’ll let her at this point. She doesn’t have to do an exam, but I think the kids need to experience perseverence paying off. Particularly if they feel that not going to school anymore was an escape from something they found unpleasant. They don’t tend to remember anything nice about it, so, rather perversely, I find myself recalling good things that happened. This will kick me in the ass of course when they start pining for the classroom.. Anyway, it’s hard to know when to press things and when to let the kids self-determine. To James and me, the ‘three r’s’ are non-negotiable. Could be because I’m a writer (well..) and thus see being able to communicate with words as a vital part of living, and a person needs to be able to do their taxes. There are essential skills, right? But then what other things do I get to push? Music, since my personal sense of aesthetics demands it? Social science, since I think humans benefit from studying themselves? The list goes on and on. It’s said that the home-ed parent’s job is to expose and facilitate, but it’s often not that easy. I also have to remember that the vast majority of my academic interests were not pursued meaningfully until university, and that as a kid the things that served me were, yes, the three r’s and the pleasure I got out of my own chosen hobbies. So maybe I should mellow out and let Nyssa draw her fairy people and Joseph act out his Doctor Who fantasies while they’ve still got the leisure and active imaginations to do so.

Lessee..oh, for those who might have been concerned Mitten’s tummy issues seem to have resolved themselves. With the help of hella expensive catfood.

I found a splendid new online diversion– I shan’t tell you which commenter I am in order to retain some dignity. It’s good to go a little ‘squee’ now and again.

Oh oh, I succeeded in sticking it to the manufacturers of expensive spinning wheels and made one myself. I mean, seriously, it’s ancient technology. If I couldn’t put one together with some crap I found at the DIY, then what good were all those years I spent in the jr. high shop room? It even works fairly well, though I need to find a properly-sized long bolt. The DIYs here are rubbish. I need those excellent places I went to the in the States, the ones with the huge tubs full of nails, screws, bolts, etc. etc. for aisles and aisles that you could happily stuff into little paper bags. It’s like pick-a-mix lego for grownups! Well, certain kinds of grownups. I might be a little odd..

Joseph was relating to me today what he and Nyssa read in Matilda. He said that she had read the entire children’s library collection at the age of 4. I asked him if he thought that was likely. He mentally calculates for a moment, considering the fact that she had several months, and concluded that it was indeed ‘definitely plausible.’ He’s been watching too much Mythbusters. 😉

Last week we finally made it out to Craigencalt Ecology Centre, though the weather was so miserable that the kids whinged more than they learned. It would have been so fantastic had the weather been good, the people there really had their stuff down. Joseph injured his leg a bit, and Nyssa took her coat off in the rain, soaking her t-shirt *and* her coat, apparently having forgot that we had a wee journey home.

Tomorrow the kids are having friends over to watch Jump In on the Disney Channel, the latest teenybopper movie. When I was 7 was I so interested in what teenagers did that I would actively seek out shows and movies about them? I think back then a teenager was someone who babysat you, and if you were lucky managed to be somewhat interested in what you were doing. I blame all this on Bratz (even though we’ve never had them) and whoever coined the term ‘bling’ (though, now that I think about it, I’ve never actually heard the kids say it). I dunno. I fantasize about giving the kids a proper ‘traditional’ childhood, with Nyssa in pinafores (to muddy up) and Joseph having a tree (to get stuck in) and no media influence at all, just family-friendly radio stories read in a lulling voice in the evenings in front of a fire. Maybe a bit hokey, but only as much as my current situation is not. Hard to avoid consumer trends when you live just off the high street. Hard to savor a peaceful evening with drunken wierdos shouting outside. Don’t even get me started about the yard, or I’ll pitch headlong into a rant that starts ‘back when I was a kid in Idaho…’ Ah, but I whine. We have cats! I didn’t used to. Life, therefore, has improved!

Well, no eye candy, but I do believe I’ve written enough for one entry.