Getting outdoors and tempting fate – Living Arrows Week 17 2020

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

Each week I like to (try and) link up to a series called Living arrows which is about celebrating childhood. You can find out more here

The first photo this week is from one of our walks this week. We haven’t been getting out as much as we really ought to. I am trying a bit harder to make the most of our local area. It’s hard though, when you have 1 child at primary school and another at secondary. Their workloads are completely different and it makes finding a time to get out as a family a bit tricky.

We did manage to get out though and the children and I explored a local woodland. We are quite lucky to live so near to such a space. Inside the wood, Moose found a great little den that another family had started creating so we added some branches to it.

The second photo this week is of my beautiful Bess. I am so proud of how she is conducting herself throughout this lock down. She is 14 and I know she is missing her friends like crazy but she hasn’t complained about having to stay at home even once. She has lent a hand by occasionally watching her little brother so I could get work finished and making up games for them to play together. We have had the occasional day of bad moods but frankly, I think we are all allowed those at the moment and children/teens really are no different. As a treat and to tempt fate I said yes to her dying her hair with an Ultra Violet packet dye we found in a cupboard. She LOVES it!

 

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Social distancing? No spend ideas for families stuck at home in isolation

Hands up who has no idea how they will cope for the next ( number as yet undisclosed) few weeks? I am facing the prospect of school closures with massively mixed feelings. All I have wanted since Moose started school last year was just a little more time with him. I have missed our days together so much.

However, I also have to think practically. I am lucky that I work for myself from home but I work in the wedding industry and the CofE limiting wedding gatherings to 5 people and nobody having the dosh to plan weddings for next year means I am a bit stuffed financially. I’m 99% sure you are probably in a similar boat. Buying an endless amount of toys and games is absolutely off the menu for us. Whatever we do is going to have to be either low or (preferably) no spend.

We all know that bored children equals headache stricken parents so I thought I would chuck together a few ideas to (hopefully) get us through. Obviously my ideas are based on what we have laying around (hello to my fellow hoarders, this is what we have been training for forever – not hoarders of loo roll though. You can gtfo)

Log on

  • Visit the zoo from your sofa! Remember when we all watched the baby giraffe being born a while ago? Zoos still have web cams installed and you can log onto them for free. I think this will be a favourite for Moose and I am hoping we will spot an animal that we can follow for the duration of the school closures and maybe write about? The great thing is that you are not confined to UK zoos!
  • Let your child be the teacher. At Christmas I bought Minecraft for our Nintendo Switch. I really don’t get the appeal but Moose LOVES it. We have agreed that if he tries his best with learning at home then sometimes we can swap roles and he can teach me how to play Minecraft. If there is something that your child loves why not do the same? If nothing else it will give you a chance to have some bonding time on their terms.
  • There are a LOT of websites offering free downloadable or printable resources for learning from home. The Knight Tribe has created a great post illustrating this. I have a feeling I will keep coming back to this one!
  • Get moving indoors. Moose has recently been practising yoga at school. He loves showing off the poses he has learnt and so as part of our “school day” I have decided that we should start with this. We will be using Cosmic Yoga on You Tube. Their channel is great! I have promised Moose that I will do it too and I think that starting the day like this will be really good for the both of us.

Use what you have

  • Just lately Bess has developed a keen interest in sewing. We had a mini sewing machine buried in the shed and I just sorted out our airing cupboard and my wardrobe and instead of throwing out the stuff I no longer wanted, I gave it to her to play with. I can’t wait to see what she decides to do with it all. I wish I could sew and I love that she is teaching herself via You Tube and blogs!
  • Go through your child’s bedroom and find all of those craft kits they got for birthdays and Christmases. If yours are anything like mine you will find a fine array of paint your own money boxes, scrapbook kits and more.
  • Have your child keep a diary. It will be nice to show their teacher and classmates when they return to school.
  • Create a treasure hunt using clues. You could use learning questions as clues perhaps?
  • Make pasta collages. I’m kidding, who has pasta to spare right now?! But I bet you do have things you can use for crafts. Make salt dough, create street art with chalks on your patio, upcycle something old, decorate plant pots.. and if you really cannot think of a single thing then go and visit Kiddy Charts for some inspiration!
  • Get the kids in the kitchen! If you happen to have baking kits then great! If not then teach them age appropriate kitchen skills. You could have your very own sous chef in the making…

boy making chocolate cakes

Garden fun

  • You know the phrase “jumpers for goal posts”? Well, er that! If you have an outdoor space then get out there, create a makeshift goal and have a penalty shoot out (or if you have enough children start coaching your own team)
  • Create a crazy golf course using plant pots and toys.
  • Time to clear out the shed. I have just remembered that we have a Swingball somewhere in the back of ours which I will definitely be digging out!
  • Start planting. I know absolutely nothing about gardening but I think that we can learn together. It would be great to have a nice garden by the end of all of this that we can enjoy over the summer. Plus it is great exercise! Check out this post from Whinge Whinge Wine for some great tips for how to get started.
  • If we get some nice weather you could move your learning outdoors. A makeshift outdoor classroom (Pimms for the adults is optional), create a bug hotel or a hedgehog house. Unless like us you have a dog who has decided that hedgehogs are her nemesis. Your dog is probably not as twatty as ours though so you should be good to go.

Remember what is important

  • You are not a teacher, you are a parent. Be a parent first and don’t be too hard on yourself when you or your child hit the proverbial wall. Very few of us have received any kind of training for this sort of an event so a lot are winging it. There are Facebook groups out there to help. Go and look them up!
  • Connect with friends. One of the worries I have about Moose missing so much school is the social factor. I am quite happy to play the hermit for weeks but he will miss his friends. I am hoping that I can organise regular video chats for him and cousins and friends.
  • Have a Netflix party! I think this is quite cool. You can install it for free and it allows groups of kids, teens or in fact middle aged women to watch tv and chat together without having to leave the house!
  • Write a letter. You could have them write it to a school friend or maybe someone elderly who otherwise wouldn’t have much interaction socially?
  • Take some time off! School at home doesn’t have to be rigid so if your child wakes up and neither of you are in the mood to do any formal learning then delay it. Reshuffle your day and don’t feel bad about it. You are in charge! Your children probably won’t have much of a memory of  why they had to be out of school but they will remember how they felt when they had this time with you. Make those memories as good as they can be but don’t feel pressure to be ON all of the time.

 

I hope you get something from this post but I will be adding to it as we go and if you have any suggestions then please do comment below – it takes a (virtual) village after all!

Good luck x

 

 

 

 

Camden and a new homework project – Living Arrows week 10 2020

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

Each week I like to (try and) link up to a series called Living arrows which is about celebrating childhood. You can find out more here

Last week I took a trip to London with Bess. Don’t get me wrong, I love to spend time with all of my children but having a bit of girly time with my daughter was just what I needed. London was great and we got to have a wander around Bess’ favourite part, Camden. She even posed for a couple of pics – is it a trip to London if you don’t get a photo of one of the underground station signs?

Last week Moose got new homework. At his school they don’t do weekly homework. They have projects – this can be a blessing and a curse if I’m honest. I do quite like his latest homework project though. The children are supposed to plant seeds and then keep a diary and update it. It feels more like an assignment for Moose rather than me this time around!

Moose is growing radishes. So far he is enjoying it!

 

Living Arrows

Krispie Cakes and Curly Locks – Living Arrows week 3 2020

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

Each week I like to (try and) link up to a series called Living arrows which is about celebrating childhood. You can find out more here

boy making chocolate cakes

Moose has to wear a patch over his good eye everyday at the moment. It’s only for a couple of hours and we try to get it out of the way by applying it in the morning but it can be difficult. He dislikes having it on and of course not being able to see well really limits the kinds of things he can do.

Last weekend I decided we should go old school and make some rice krispie cakes. Moose loved making them and it was a great way to fill his patch time.

 

teenage girl close up with very curly hair

Also this week, Bess turned 14. This is not the best photo I have ever taken, the lighting is terrible. However, it makes me smile. The night before, Bess had asked me to curl her hair using one of those chopstick style hair curlers. It looked really cute when she went to bed!

This was what she woke up to. In fact, this was after I had tried to tame it a little! As you can see from her gorgeous smile, I wasn’t the only one who found it amusing. That’s why I like this pic, it is a proper snapshot and one I am sure I will enjoy when it pops up on timehop every year for the next decade.

 

 

Living Arrows

Living Arrows week 36 2019

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

Each week I like to (try and) link up to a series called Living arrows which is about celebrating childhood. You can find out more here

The first photo this week was taken on a trip we made to our local farm. Moose had a real issue with his nerves (or so I thought) and always seemed to hesitate when trying new things – especially physical things. Since he started wearing glasses to correct a lazy eye he seems to have become a bit braver. Maybe it wasn’t his nerves after all!

The second photo is of Bess and Moose on their first day back to school. Summer flew by and now I have a little boy in year 1 (which seems so much bigger than having a little one in reception somehow?) and Bess is starting year 9. Year 9 means the beginning of GCSE’s for Bess. GCSE’s! Already! The school has decided to stretch what was a 2 year course in my day (aka eons ago) to a 3 year course. I think it will be a good thing for the students but time will tell on that one..

 

 

Living Arrows