Mon 26th January brought a break from routine in the form of two Christopher Lloyd talks back-to-back: What on Earth Happened? History and Science. He started by telling us about the development of the What on Earth series, which came out of his own experience of home educating and wanting to join up topics. As a presenter he was really good and very engaging and the children particularly liked his coats of many pockets with visual and physical clues to the next topic. We bought a Shakespeare sticker book for Afish as her choice of birthday present and then went down the road to the excellent toyshop run by a local home educating family and spent rather too much money on a birthday present for Kfish and some for the presents cupboard. Home in time for a French lesson, then the usual Monday evening English, football, Guides.

Tues 27th began with normal and another saxophone lesson, then Lfish, Afish and I went to the local hospital where Afish had an appointment to check that the odd results from the ECG she had as part of the metabolism study a few months ago were nothing serious. She was pronounced to be a perfectly healthy example of the “tall skinny variety” 🙂

On Wed 28th Kfish had his first piano lesson with a new teacher we are hoping will get him started with some music to take to France and practise, ready for moving on when he comes back. It went well and it looks as though he and this teacher will work well together, but it will be a question of finding a regular slot in two very busy timetables so we’ll have to wait and see how well it works in the long run. The afternoon and evening had the usual choir, Italian, choir sandwich.

Thurs 29th found us driving to one of my least favourite places for navigation so that we could go ice skating. Fortunately getting lost only delayed us by a few minutes and the skating session started late anyway so we were fine. It was the first time we’ve had any contact with a teaching for skating and it made an immediate difference, most noticeably for Afish. The teacher made them practise falling over and getting up, which dealt with one of her greatest fears and the thing which has been most holding her back, so that was an excellent start! Hopefully this will become a regular session and we’ll be able to attend fortnightly when multisport isn’t on. We were back safely in time for trombone, gym, judo and band – although we then found we should have been there at 6:30 rather than 7 but an email gone astray meant we hadn’t known. Timings are going to be really tight! Lfish was a bit thrown at first by being presented with music in treble clef when she’s been learning in bass, too, but has decided it will be worth the mental gymnastics to be (eventually) able to play trombone in both orchestras and brass bands.

Fri 30th was Kfish’s birthday – a teenager but fortunately no Kevin transformation! He was not overly impressed to have a cello lesson, moved from Monday, but Gill only gave him nice scales as a concession to the occasion 😉 The afternoon was the usual library, violin, choir, music, choir combination, but with added cake.

Sat 31st had the usual music school and gym, but in the evening we celebrated Kfish’s birthday with a visit to a pizza restaurant – thank goodness for Clubcard vouchers!

On the Sunday I took Kfish to eucharist but the rest of the day is largely a blur thanks to a nasty migraine. At Bob’s suggestion I cleared the following day to allow for extra recovery time, so we cancelled XYZ and moved cello, which turned out to have been a good move because I was distinctly wobbly and groggy in the morning. Jfish and I drove to the next village to collect the euphonium and bass trombone he is renting from county music, which gave me a chance to gauge pain vs grogginess vs driving and after a rest and some lunch we decided that it was probably safe to drive gently to rollerskating, which gave L and Kfish a chance to see some more distant friends to say goodbye. We were back in time for football, English and Guides, but I was pretty much wiped out despite just sitting quietly nursing a cuppa while they skated.

Tues 3rd was a rush of music in the morning: the postponed cello lessons and then L’s last sax lesson with Stephanie. She showed him her collection of different saxophones and he tried lots of different sizes, particularly enjoying the larger ones. She also gave him copies of the music he’s done from her books and a saxophone and clarinet magazine to which she regularly contributes, so he’ll have some interesting things to show his teacher back in France. The most important thing about Tuesday, though, was the SNOW! Kfish had an eye test booked, which was handily near to one of the few hills in the area, so we called to collect his friend B and his mum on the way then spent some time sledging down hills and were able to leave the other children with B and his mum while Kfish and I went for his eye test (which was all fine, no glasses needed).

This has been a week of lasts, or last-for-nows and Wed 4th was the last(-for-now) WedEd. It was HH’s turn to have a migraine so we started with Art – or perhaps more properly literature, as we learned about Apollinaire and his Calligrammes then had a go at making our own word pictures. SB and Jfish did some maths with theBabs, then joined us and did their Calligrammes in French for an added challenge 🙂 Em led an ensemble of recorders and flutes, giving L, Afish and BB a chance to play in the remaining snow, then for Science they made atoms from wire and beads (a hot glue gun opportunity not to be missed!) and by the time I left with the choir and Italian contingent L was busy with what he likes to call the Minecraft party.

Thursday 5th should have started early with Kate History, but it was cancelled so we did History at home instead, trying to get up to the Norman Conquest before L goes home (I’m not sure we’re quite going to make it, but if we do then it will bridge the gap between the early stuff we’ve done at home and what we’ve been doing with Kate). Multisport was indoors, thanks to heavy rain, then the afternoon and evening was a hither and thither dash of trombone/euphonium lessons, gym, band and judo.

Bob worked from home on Friday 6th, which meant that after a morning of good solid normals, L and Afish able to stay at home with him while we did violin and choir/music/choir run. We experimented with fudgy aduki bean brownies (no gluten, dairy or eggs!) – but sadly Bob forgot about them in the five minutes between our leaving and their needing to come out of the oven, so they were a little burnt. Still tasty though, and worth another try, I think.

Last music school on Saturday (with added biscuits as a goodbye gift) while Jfish went to visit an old schoolfriend for the day using the guided bus and the train. He came back rather late and tired, having apparently got lost between L’s house and the station – oops!

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