Book reviews

February 24th, 2018

After I told Oscar about my favourite book from my childhood, he asked that I read it to him, and so began our nightly habit of reading books without pictures that are probably mostly (but not enitrely!) going over his head. Having said that, even Joshua picks up on plenty, despite falling asleep within minutes of me starting to read each night!

Many fascinating conversations spin out of these reading sessions.

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

It took us about 8 weeks to read the whole thing, and Oscar loved it. It’s a long book, but a fairly straightforward adventure plot. But lots of complex characters and events. His favourite bit is a big battle, where all the groups Lyra has met come together to save the children.

There are 2 more books in this trilogy, but the story and concepts get even more complex, so I’m trying to be patient before reading them!

The B.F.G.

We didn’t enjoy that one as much. It’s a very slow pace!

La Belle Sauvage

Philip Pullman started another trilogy of books in Lyra’s world, and the first was released in 2017. It’s set before Northern Lights. We loved this one, too. Lots of interesting concepts including freedom and morality.

Oscar’s favourite bit is how the Gyptians know the flood is coming, but no one else believes it… and then, of course, the flood does come.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine l’Engle

Apparently this is a popular book in America; often read in middle school. I’d not heard of it, but turns out the movie adaptation is coming out in a few weeks! It was on a list of good children’s books, so we tried it out. We enjoyed this one a lot, too. Quite different to what I expected, and I’m quite intrigued to see how the movie turns out.

There are lots more books in this series too, so I expect we’ll come back to this one at some point.

The Hithchiker’s Guide to The Galaxy

I really didn’t expect this one to go down well, but the kids enjoyed it. They liked the computers and robots with “realistic” personalities (including Marvin the utterly depressed android, and the spaceship’s computer that’s always faaar to cheerful). They were both in fits of giggles at the computer singing during a crisis.

Oscar seems interested in robots, aliens, and various types of intelligent creatures. On reflection… I guess that’s a theme running through all these books so far!

Next we’re trying out I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov. We’ll report back in a couple of weeks what we think of that one.

Our first week in Romania 🇷🇴

February 21st, 2018

Hello from Romania!

We have been here, for Matthew’s work, for a week now. It seems quite a bit longer actually! And staying another 6.5 weeks seems a lot.

It’s been particularly cold most days and the temperature is set to drop to the minuses this weekend and next week! Ah!

Matthews been busy at work, starting the day after we’d travelled all day to get here! We all had a good sleep that night after being so tired. But then, the 2 hour time difference hit us, mostly O and J with struggling to go to bed at 8pm – they had a few evenings of being asleep around 9.30/10pm and getting up at 7am ish. We’re nearly there now.

The boys and I have a mission to explore. This has been a little difficult and we’ve frequented the supermarket 3 times now but hopefully we’ll find some other fun places soon.

I wanted to mention a few struggles/anecdotes that have happened so far…

  1. Getting lost every time we go in the car! Today I actually managed to drive home without going the wrong way. It’s particularly difficult because we live around a couple of one way systems; my phone sat nav does not work properly, and neither does the car’s; it’s hard to pull over and stop to check where I am as traffic is quite fast moving (go fast or get out of the way!) and there aren’t great signs! I’m busy counting streets at the moment and trying to look out for recognise-able buildings.
  2. We went for a walk around our local area to explore and found what we thought was a park. It had a fence around it and a gate but I couldn’t see any signs and the gate was open so we went and had a play. Later on, we noticed that adults were going in to the building and then coming out with children. We realised it was a school that we’d trespassed on! We promptly left and I noticed a sign, on the opposite wall to the way we’d come in, saying education. People were looking at us inquisitively! Although that’s the norm here.
  3. My friend Kate had spoken to her Romanian friend before we came here to pass on some tips. One was that it’s normal to stare and be quite blunt with your words. This has been useful information. I have noticed a lot of staring and I find it hard to tolerate. I guess I assume their judging me and find it quite rude but I think it is just a cultural difference. I would say that I’m quite smiley and if I catch someone’s eye in the Uk I smile or try to look friendly. I love it when people smile back (it actually doesn’t happen that often, most people try not to make eye contact.) So, here I’m just smiling at people and even more so if they stare.. is that the right thing to do?
  4. Our first experience at the little supermarket was stressful! We picked up some fruit and veg and bagged it, like back at home, but then we got to the till and it was a disaster! The shopkeeper didn’t speak English and was disapproving of what I’d done. There was a long queue and luckily the man one-behind could speak English and explained that I needed to weigh all of it individually and stick a sticker on. So, nice and kindly, the lady behind came over with me and did it for me. I was a little scared of the shop assistant after causing a delay but I needed a bag so I asked the man who spoke English and he managed to get me one!
  5. The people here seem very helpful and friendly (apart from the staring and straight faces!)
  6. The soft play was closed and only hosts parties! There might be another one or two but we’re yet to explore. I love a good soft play and because it’s so cold a nice indoor space would be beneficial to us all.
  7. I don’t think we stick out like complete foreigners 🙂 people keep talking to us all at full speed and I haven’t got a clue what they’re saying. I try to say buna (hello) quickly so that they realise I’m English or, try to show my confused face!

Caroline x

A snapshot into our life 30.1.18

January 31st, 2018

I thought I’d write a quick list of all the things we did yesterday… we had a day at home waiting for an Amazon delivery. Most days we go out so whenever we have a whole day at home, I have to be prepared to pop out at any minute if I feel the kids need it- sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.

Morning

  • face painting dragons; Oscar did his own, I did Joshua’s
  • dressing up
  • making a rocket on our beds to go to the moon and looking at the story whatever next
  • drawing
  • looking at their glow in the dark boots and tops
  • imaginative play with teddies and transformers

Afternoon

  • garden play
  • collecting bugs, climbing and pruning
  • magnetic play; finding out things that are magnetic around the house
  • reading eggs on the computer
  • Splatoon on the Nintendo Switch, watching the television
  • building with sticklebricks and Lego

Evening

  • Joshua set the table for dinner
  • catch and hide and seek
  • dancing to music

National curriculum subjects covered at the least: literacy, art, PE, science (biology and physics), music, home economics.

5 years 11 months, 3 years 7 months and 7 months

January 5th, 2018

5 years 8 months, 3 years 4months and 4 months

October 5th, 2017

Homeschooling year 2!

September 23rd, 2017

Wow! I can’t believe that we have been home schooling for a year already. I remember thinking that it might seem like a lot of long days and be hard thinking of new experiences but looking back it seems to have gone quickly.

It was a good year. We got into our own routine each term with different activities and plans. There’s plenty of play in our curriculum which is a big plus for me and the children (one of the reasons we chose to home ed.)

Oscar has matured and in some ways I feel that if he could start reception now, I’d probably give it a good go. We’ve had good fun trying; gymnastics, forest school, swimming, craft groups, theatre groups, library groups, park/forest meets, church groups; and having another child, Charlie!

We have had busy days and quiet days but have mostly been out and about around 3/4 times a week. I think we’ve got the balance right with that one. We always have a couple of hours at home to recharge and play and, we do a good variety of activities/socialising.

This year, again, as we’re in September I feel slightly nervous about our choice. It seems a bit more ‘real’ I suppose this year with Oscar as he would be starting year 1. Last year we lost lots of friends who were starting school and this year, we’re losing another couple of friends who are starting reception. It’s all a bit more scary.

However, we’ve started to get into our routine and flow again and there’s different bits and pieces to be excited about. We have a few ‘school/educational’ trips planned having already been to Legoland; and are planning on trying some new activities such as karate. Here we go.. Bring it on!

Caroline x

Oscar’s questioning!

July 30th, 2017

Oscar has had some fab questions these past few months. I really enjoy seeing the children learning and thinking about things. Here are a few…

What if there wasn’t any colour? Can animals poo when they want? What are the clouds made of? Does it hurt when you die?

And here’s Oscar as a ballerina.

5 years 5 months, 3 years 1 month & 1 month

July 19th, 2017

Thinking

June 9th, 2017

Just a tidbit from our conversation tonight. Oscar says he thinks in

pictures and video, not words. Personally, I think in words mostly.

Times tables with the baby

May 30th, 2017

Oscar is singing songs to the baby. He was making up songs featuring lots of numbers, and then he is literally singing the 2 times table. I didn’t realise he knew it!

2 fives are 10
2 threes are 6
2 nines are … a long number
2 ones are 2
2 twos are 4