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Friday, 29 April 2016

SATS and Home Education

For fun I decided to try the SATS tests given to 11 year olds. I managed to fail the Maths one (despite having Maths GCSE, and being good at Maths) I got 50% in the English one.
Why such low scores? Well, to be honest the English one was a whole load of English terms I was not familiar with. How soul destroying to have to label words and phrases with such ridiculous terminology! With my 11 year old I am working with her to be able to write in a coherent, grammatically correct and thoughtful way. Who the heck cares if what she has written is a conjunctive clausal phrase blah blah?! Yes, they know their adverbial phrases etc, but to go into even more technical detail at this stage is unnecessary.
Maths? Well, finding missing factors baffled me. Probably more awkward trying on a tablet. I have done it before on paper, but the point is; what good will that be in everyday situations? More importantly though, it seems school are ever focussing on testing, and performance in those tests.
Learning should be fun. When I enjoyed what I was learning I learned more. I still do! We seem to be going back to Victorian ideas of learning. The mere knowledge of word labels, and significant dates are not enough in themselves; we need to be able to apply that knowledge, and use it!
If you want to test your children in home education, then I believe the Richmond tests are still available. That is what we did with ours. However, not ALL of them did it. That is the beauty of home Ed,you can treat each child differently, and tailor their education. No such thing as a ' one size fits all' especially not in education!

In the meantime, we are reluctantly sitting IGCSE's. Above is a picture of Israel's bedside charts. Bad enough having the stress of it at all, but it isn't every year! I think Israel's enthusiasm would have left him years ago.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Enjoying your Kids

If we can't wait to get rid of our children, then that is a sure sign we are not enjoying them.
Of course, they don't need to be entertained every second of the day ( that stifles children's natural creativity). However, it is important to have fun with them. I remember my mum; she was always willing to play games with me, (well, nearly always)and we were always going for cycle rides, and walks together. I can remember she was never too old to explore places and have a go on river swings.
Spending time with them builds bonds, and memories. This week we have been on cycle rides, and played Scrabble. We enjoy doing badminton together, and snooker, or maybe just reading a book. Tomorrow, I will do some baking with our recent birthday girl. I guess in a large family there is always someone to do something with! I hate being alone; it's too quiet, too boring. I am left wondering what on earth to do!

Friday, 15 April 2016

Pasta Sauce Low Added Sugar Cheap Healthy Option

Following the war on sugar I noticed on the news they were highlighting pasta sauces,which are high in sugar. Now tomatoes have sugar, but the sauces have loads of added sugar. A few years ago I ditched these, and decided to make my own. Simpler than you think, and at least a third of the cost.
Just sub for a carton or two of passata, or chopped tomatoes then add herbs.
For pizza just a thin spreading of pasatta to make the tomato base.
For bolognaise add half a teaspoon of sugar, basil, garlic, and dash of lemon juice. Do the same for lasagne,and consequently the white sauce is easy peasy: just heat some milk,and in a jug add some cold milk and cornflour. When the milk is boiled combine the two and return to the heat gently stirring till thick. I like to add a little cheese and garlic.
For chilli exactly the same,except the spices will be garlic, chilli,and for extra tasty bite smoked paprika.
This will also cure your storage problem, as no more bulky jars!

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Those Bad Days

We all have them,but today has been particularly bad. Having a freezer full of organic lamb defrosting is somewhere at the top. Other things too, including preparing for a Maths exam next month and one child thinks the exam is written in a foreign language. Having to explain that, yes you do need algebra to solve problems with an unknown number.
Not feeling particularly well on top of everything else. Hard to find a reason to remain positive....but, as I have been learning in proverbs; there is a season for everything.
I love the part in Ecclesiastes which states:"He has made every thing beautiful in its time: also he has put eternity in men's hearts, so that no man can find out the work that God does from the beginning to the end." Ecclesiastes 3:11. That sums it all up. We are on this earth for a brief while, and it is eternity that we are aiming for. Thus ( and I sigh) these things seem so..*gulp* trivial.