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Saturday, 25 January 2014

Lessons from the Classics

We thoroughly enjoy reading the classics such as Austen, Dickens, the Bronte sisters, Trollope. Just lately we have been watching a few of the dramatisations. Jane Eyre, Our Mutual Friend, and Pride and Predjudice. These are ones you can watch again, and again in my opinion. I will never forget the first time I read Jane Eyre, it was in my sick bed and I was very sick with chickenpox, and also 5 months pregnant with our first child. I was captivated, and have since read loads more. I think all the super analysing in school had put me off. For A level English we had to read Emma, by Jane Austen, and it is tedious to say the least when you are trying to analyse, and read things into the book that probably are not there intentionally, and most certainly do NOT have a hidden meaning.
Anyway, what I like about them is the characters that are developed in the story. Dickens, and Austen especially have a remarkable knack for pulling out various traits, and with Dickens the result can be at sometimes somewhat dark, but oh so true to life.
Take Our Mutual Friend; the schoolmaster is shown to have an obsessive jealousy. In the bible we read that jealousy is as cruel as the grave. In this case it leads to almost murder. The heroes are always the ones with the good character traits, and in John Harmon, and Mr and Mrs Boffin we see how they do not set their hearts upon money, and are shown to have humility. It really is a tale of how jealousy can corrupt, and in different ways.
Pride and Predjudice, is exactly as it says; a story of how our prejudices can get in the way of what we think about people, and how indeed things really are. How silly choices, and following youthful lusts can lead to ill consequences.
They make an excellent talking point to discuss with our children. Discussions about marrying the right person, making the right choices, and how the character's actions tie in with the Bible, and what the Bible outlines as moral, and good. I wonder if people do not wear their hearts on their sleeves these days so much, but maybe hide behind social media, for example. Again, we need to teach our children not to always assume people are who, or what they say they are.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Preparing for a Local Authority Visit

Most Local Authorities like to visit Home educators once a year. If you have never had a visit, it can be a bit daunting, not knowing what to expect. I am writing this post in the hope that it will help, especially having had experience over the last fifteen years of home educating.
Really it is not something you can just do on the spur of the moment. You need to prepare the year's work in a manner that is accessible. The first thing they will want to see is what you have been doing for the last year. They can get overwhelmed if you bring out all of the work your children have been doing, so it is a good idea to get some samples of their work during the year. You can file it in a folder, and then it forms a rather nice keepsake later on.
So what sort of work do you need to file? I would say anything that you have been doing and consider as part of your home educating.
Maths work, stories, science work, paintings, worksheets. It may be a good idea to keep a variety, and file for different subjects if you have a lot of work involved.
What if a lot of your work isn't written though?
This is where photographs can come in. You can take pictures of art creations they have done. Maybe it is just a den in the woods they have built. Maybe they have baked a cake. It can be photographed and logged.
Sometimes I have offered them a written report of my children's work over the year. The workbooks they have completed, and the topics we have covered. They always find these helpful. I don't always havetime for them, but they are useful to me, too, as I can see that yes, we have actually got somewhere in the last year of home education! Sometimes it is so easy to think that we have accomplished little, when we have accomplished far more than we thought, and yes, you can see the children's progress. If they were in school, the teacher would have to log regular reports, and to record their learning targets, etc.

So, make sure you have all this to hand when they call, and relax! They just usually speak to each child in turn, and ask them what they have been doing, interests, and how they like home education. It is so much easier if you have their work set out in neat piles. They like to see order, progression, and age suitable work, and materials. Don't forget to include the stuff you do at home ed groups, and field trips, too.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Change 4 Life?

I was going to write this post, and then forgot, then was promted again by a post on facebook.
Heard of the change 4 life programme? Supposed to be healthy. Basically, you swap high fats for low fats, sugars for sweetners, and sugary cereal for plain cereal.
Sound good? Hmm, on the face of it, it sounds logical......however.......
Sweetners in my opinion are NOT healthy. I have done a lot of research into this, and cannot tolerate any sweetners myself. I tried truvia, and even that affected me. However, you may want to research the natural stevia extract, as there is some promising research on this, though personally I don't want to try that. I would rather cut down on sugar which I have. In fact I was only reading yesterday that orange juice is unhealthy. I knew that yonks ago, and now just rather the fruit instead, pure and unadulterated.
For years I switched to low fats, from butter to marg, semi skimmed, and yep, even lo fat cheese. (aagh, that stuff is tasteless)
Now, what is the point in NOT enjoying food? Nope, I would rather enjoy it. So, I have been embracing butter, and full fat milk, but being sensible, and yes, it really does satisfy.
Now, only one I can agree on, and that is the swapping sugar laden cereals to plain. That IS sensible, and I think you get more energy too. I feel sluggish if I have devoured a sickly sweet breakfast, but give me porridge, with half milk, and water, and half a teaspoon on sugar, and I am raring to go. It has the yum factor too, but thenI am odd anyway, and like wierd things.
Oh, and I forgot to mention for the first time ever, that the weight I lost has stayed off. Funny isn't it? I must admit though, I have been making sure I do serious exercise three times a week. ;-)

Monday, 6 January 2014

When I fall in Love.....

Ever heard the song, ''When I fall in Love, it will be Forever'' ?
With friends celebrating anniversaries in the last month, it has brought it to mind.
Given the number of divorces, and break ups though, what is going wrong, many of them had thought it would be for at least a very long time? Sadly, this is not only non Christians.
I think one of the major reasons, is our understanding of the word love, and the concept of falling in love. Is love a warm, and fuzzy feeling, and does it make your heart beat faster? You may answer yes, to this, but that isn't something that will last. We will be 21 years married this March, and those warm fuzzy feelings do not last, it needs to be built on something stronger than that.
What does the Bible say?
1 corinthians 13:4 '' Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.''
What can we learn from this?
I think first things first, we need to stop wishing our husbands were someone else. Mine isn't particularly the romantic type, he has his moments, but is definitely not the type to write me love notes, and give me flowers often. However, (and this is the extremely practical part) he will clean up sick, poop, and bring me coffee before he goes off to work. So, there you are, love is practical.
We need to focus on our duties as wives, and to meditate on the bible, and what the bible says about women. There are many unhappy marriages, because the wife is domineering, and not submissive. Our husbands are to lead us, and we are to respect that. Not easy though, I have not been good at this sometimes!
We need to encourage, and be cheerful. Sadly, I sometimes fail in this. My daughter sometimes describes me as a negative realist. Something I need to focus on, as no one likes someone who is constantly negative.
Weneed to believe the best in our husbands, and certainly not to be quick to judge their intentions, or actions. Remember, there is often an explanation for misperceptions.
We need to remember both are imperfect, and it is easy to be blind to our faults, and yet able to pick out loads in our husbands! We need to pray that God will show us our faults. Oh, rue the day, when I think I am perfect! If we do have issues, then disscuss, and pray, but never nag. It is so easy to nag. I am afraid, mine often forgets to do things, and I have to gently remind him. He hates it when I nag. I am sure we would hate it if our husband started nagging, but it doesn't seem to bea trait that men are prone to.
I end with this wonderful quote from Matthew Henry; ''that the woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be loved.''

Friday, 3 January 2014

My Barley Grass Experiment

A year ago I was desperate. Desperate for relief from my yeast issues, and my constipation issues, which in turn brought on a very nasty case of haemerrhoids. Not wonderful if you are a mum of any, never mind ten, as I could barely walk at the worst times.
With a friend's advice I started taking barley grass. I bought it in the powder form from I started with just a tea spoon mixed in some hot water, and took it before breakfast. Over the year, I worked up to 1 tablespoon, and to be honest, I think the one tablespoon dose has been the most effective for me.
A year on, and I have lost 1 and a half stone, am mainly free from yeast issues, and rarely suffer with the issues of constipation I had, so yes, I think it has made a big difference, as it is also something I have taken every day.
Barley grass has several benefits, and some reckon it is the best thing you can take nutritionally.
1) It is easily digested- In minutes, in fact.
2) Contains high levels of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and chlorophyll.
3) Has stong alkalizing effects. (Great for yeast conditions, due to this factor)
4) It is claimed it is the only vegetable supplying ALL the nutrients we need.
5) Relieves constipation, and improves digestion.
Some even say it can help with diabetes, and asthma. I can see why for diabetes, as it does help with the blood sugar, as in stabilising it.
There are many other considered benefits, I have just listed the ones I feel are credible in my experience.
It is always best taken first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, for best effect.
If you are reading this, Anne, thanks for the great advice! That is why I am posting this, as maybe someone else can be helped in the way I have.