Thursday, 6 August 2009


I never did get to chill out like I wanted to. The joy of genuinely choosing when I went to bed, rather than feeling the need to keep someone company or wait for someone to fall asleep, was somewhat lost as on the Monday dd2 wanted to watch tv downstairs until later than I would have liked, and on the Tuesday she was ill and I was cleaning, tidying and packing until later than I would have been if she'd been fit to help me. Also discovering that my bedding was damp in the dryer when I was intending to go to bed didn't help. There was much more cleaning and tidying to be done than I had thought and it didn't all get done, not by a long shot.

We got away safely on the Wednesday morning to catch our train. We had plenty of time in the end so I wished I hadn't rushed quite so much at home, as I accidentally shut a cat in my bedroom, doh. They had all been seen outside shortly before, but I'd gone back in to sort out an order. Thankfully she was found the next day so we didn't come home to a disaster. Meanwhile, as my Facebook friends will know, our first train of two was late, and we missed our connection by a bare handful of minutes. This was doubly frustrating as the platforms were back-to-back, we could have simply stepped off one and more or less onto the other without having to cross any tracks. (By the way, if anyone needs to know for some reason which platform a train is arriving at or departing from, try the National Rail website, though not all stations give platform information.) We waited for the next direct train, which was two hours later, in the Costa coffee shop (I do like Costa...) which at York station is in the old waiting room, a brilliantly-situated space at the end of the bridge, with a good view across the station. Fantastic for people-watching!

By missing our connection we also lost our reserved seats, and the next train was quite busy. We got two seats together, though not at a table, and also we were between windows, and settled in. At Newcastle we had a delightful addition to the carriage, a woman who proceeded to announce loudly over the phone that she was on the train with a can of beer and then spend most of the journey swearing down her phone. Thankfully that was the limit of her obnoxiousness so I read, and dd2 occupied herself, and we occasionally looked out of the bits of window that we could see. The view of Alnmouth in full sun from the train is stunning.

We did a lot of the same stuff we did last year at the same place but some was different... In the couple of days before we joined them, dh had taken the kids to shiver on North Berwick beach, and to pick fruit at Belhaven Fruit Farm but they mostly seem to have enjoyed the Burns' wii and trampoline, and the unfamiliar toys in the house.

Posting this now before I go away again! Will come and post some more another time...

autonomously learning to read...

This is prompted by another blog: Home Education Heretic - Real Books- learning to read autonomously

See what I did with the title? I think that I've just said what he meant to say. Or maybe not, it's hard to tell. I guess I could go and ask him but, well, as an autonomous educator I am clearly far too sloppy in my thinking to go "Hang on a minute, what did you actually mean here?" If Mr Webb means to discuss the process of an autodidactic child learning to read, that's one thing. If he means to discuss how a child learns to read and then uses the skills autonomously, that's something else. Isn't it? Let's be precise about this now.

Anywho. If I can rise above the snarkiness that such uneducated polemic produces, I'll try to get my words out straight...

Here's my problem with your supposition, Mr Webb, that learning to read by 'osmosis' is the preserve of the supposedly very special conditions that are described in that blog. The conditions required for such learning are supportive, interested caregivers and a written-language-rich environment that the child can explore more-or-less at will. Visible examples of the use of reading, for pleasure or for the benefit of the reader in some other way, will contribute to the child's interest and desire. These conditions are not, or at least should not, be that special in our culture, and they are not related to the education level or wealth of the parent(s.) I was one such child who does not remember learning to read, could certainly read before the age of 5, my parents are very averagely educated. I left school at 16, have a little bit of further ed under my belt, not what I would think Mr Webb would consider 'well educated' and my self-taught readers are doing just fine, thanks.

The real problem with 'Real Books' in the classroom setting that Mr Webb appears to have overlooked is that the conditions are so different to the individualised learning of home-ed, whether intended or otherwise, that there is no starting point for the osmosis of reading to spread from. The group setting is too large for the random 'what does this mean?' and the passive learning from watching someone read instructions or labels or directions because they need to understand something cannot occur. The teacher-pupil relationship and the scale of the setting is the problem, not the method.

Having got that out of the way, now I'm left wondering what prompted the blog in question. Because I can't imagine any autonomously home-educating parent suggesting that leaving a child completely to their own devices will automatically result in their learning to read. So who, exactly, is promoting this without the understanding/assumption that autonomous ed. is about facilitating when required? And what parent would deliberately say 'I'm not going to tell you what that word says, you'll have to learn it by yourself'?? It makes no sense. Perhaps I'm expecting too much clarity of thinking.

Monday, 20 July 2009


Dh has gone today to Scotland with 3 of 4 offspring. Dd2 and I are travelling up by train on Wednesday, which gives me a couple of days of not having to cater for small people's demands, being able to do jobs and tidy up without interruption or it being undone as fast as I can do it, and having a bit of genuine help. I've been looking forward to this for ages now, this is my holiday.

Since they left I've tidied a bit, made tea, walked to the shop because I didn't have any breakfast cereal, watched Twilight with dd2 (I really need to watch it by myself, or perhaps with someone who won't start commenting on the bits that don't mesh up with the book, lol, to properly let myself get into it and enjoy it, I think, but it was still nice) and sat and listend to 1 and a half (so far) Muse albums.

Tomorrow I plan to do as much cleaning as I can, do some reading, maybe play Lips or Singstar with dd2, watch some more telly.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

toooooo hoooooottttt

Melting. Brain is melting.

Reminded myself to blog by following link on my twitter page (I'm trogglicious on there)

Not sure what I'm going to blog about, other than being too bloomin' hot to think. Heartily sick of small people whining at each other today, a general air of niggle going on... dd2 being greedy and using xbox and my laptop, which she needs for the walkthrough. Apparently.

I should talk about fun stuff like booking tickets to see Muse in November but it's such a long time away... I did just book tix for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, on the Thursday rather than the opening Wednesday because the premier seats are all gone (well, there was one left, not much good when there are three of us going) for the 8pm showing. And also I've booked train tickets for our housesitting holiday in Dunbar, dh is taking dd1, 3 and 4 up in the car on the Sunday and I'm going with dd2 on the Wednesday, giving me a couple of days of relative quiet at home and saving the massive sum of £4 on the train fare, getting a little bit of use out of the free Family-and-Friends Railcard. Must remember to get the half-price offer this time.

I've been posting on TwilightMoms, enjoying the analysis of the books (oddly enough, as I'm not usually that keen on analysing art, it's too personal a thing IMO, but discussion with enthusiasts for the fun of it is decidedly better than having to do it for grades!) and making new friends, I hope :-) There doesn't seem to be anyone very local to me, which is a shame because really I'm looking for someone to go to see New Moon with who won't be surprised if I'm a weeping mess throughout.

Right I must away, to let dd4 use a puter before she explodes, and to make good on my promise to myself that I would make a start on my dress this afternoon. Need to clear a patch of floor first!

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

more dreaming

I'm blogging this because it was fun! lol...

So I ended up, at the end of this long rambly dream that I can't remember, other than needing to change my clothes at some point, and Sarah of Ethics Trading was in it, snogging Will Greenwood. Anyone who doesn't know who he is, well you can utilise your favourite search engine, lol, but he's not exactly pretty to look at. But he could talk rugby to me for hours and hours...

Not going to think about analysing this one beyond remembering that I was going to sleep thinking about the idea of embracing one's other half's interests. Think I took it a bit too literal somehow!! lol

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

accept, adapt, move on?

I woke up early this morning, it was about half past 6 when I was conscious enough to remember to check the time. I'd had a dream, and it's stuck with me, unlike most dreams. Well really it's just the ending that I remember. I'm guessing the dream was sparked off to a degree by reading Rosalie's story in Eclipse, as I was part of some royalty and there was a big do, I think it was my wedding, so there were loads of guests and preparation and it was all really weird (well duh, it's a dream! but anyway...) I was going to wear a certain outfit, it was a bit Barbarella I guess, or perhaps original series Star Trek (hm, could I be Spock's bride, the new Spock that is? That would work for me, oh yes.) but when I came to wear it, it was too small as I had put on weight since I wore it last, and I had the court dressmakers fussing around me trying to sort it out.

And then I woke up, so I never got to see the finished article. But a mantra's been stuck in my head all day, the title of this post. On the surface it sounds healthy, to accept the current situation as being how it is, how it's going to be, adapt to it to make the best of it and move on from stressing/obsessing about it. But that unfinished dress is bugging me too. If I accept the status quo, will it all come back to bite me on the arse the next time I lose the plot like I have this Winter? And what part of the status quo was the dream about? My size? My home-life? My marriage? All of it?

If the thing that's really bugging me right now, which is my lack of time at home alone, is just how it's going to be, am I letting dh off? Can I really accept it or is the resentment going to build up and explode later on? I guess it feels more like admitting defeat than accepting the inevitable.


Sunday, 26 April 2009

forgot a couple of things...

This is what happens when dd4 doesn't get to watch a dvd in bed. Clearly it's the only way, still, that she will lie down for long enough to go to sleep. So if I can't persuade the bugger to work today we'll have to get a new one :-| Still, cute pics though eh?

Some of the things distracting me from blogging and fanfic-ing this week... New Moon and Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook