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We’ve been doing maths workbooks with stickers, and they are very popular. It’s interesting how mathematical interest and ability aren’t the same as workbook-filling-in abilities. Also we are again working on confidence in reading, and elegance in handwriting, and those are both quite hard. Why do my children become competent readers who swear they cannot read and are not readers and will never be able to read? And why is legibility not quite enough for handwriting?

Painting and cooking are far easier. We’ve even graduated to the advanced course: cleaning up the mess we made afterwards.

Summer’s over. And school is starting. Soon the playground and galleries and museums will be quiet and we can go play in them.

Today has been a little odd. We’re looking at school applications (we always consider applying because one day it might be the best thing to do) and using computers. Mathletics, Reading Eggs, DuoLingo and they’re lobbying for MathSeeds as well.

I’ve been using DuoLingo myself. I’m starting as a beginner in French and German and keeping slightly ahead of the children.

The eight year old is still adamant that she can’t read. It’s just that sometimes she knows what a written word is. And another one. And maybe sometimes all the words in a book. And she says them aloud. But she definitely can’t really READ. Nope.


We’re heading into autumn now. Everyone has had their birthdays and we’ve been to the Discworld Convention and read almost all of the Borrowers books and signed up for the new subscription for Aquila and here we go…

Conkers and leaves and calculating daylight hours for the solar panels and watching the stars and the ISS and harvesting the apples and figuring out insulation and heat transfer and… !


My eldest is away at a summer camp. My middlest is away at her second home, a friend’s house down the road. My youngest is feeding me fuzzy felt.

Education continues as it always has — they haven’t stopped learning yet. The policy of sex education starting as soon as they can understand how to name a body part has paid dividends — all sorts of questions have arised in the normal course of reading normal books or listening to the radio, and they are easy to answer briefly, fully and without embarrassment on the part of parent or child.

I’ve been mainly doing housework for… months now… but I’m taking occasional breaks for gardening (housework with scratches and itches) and painting (not housework on any axis).

I think I need to get my old Focus on the Past Junior Cert textbooks for my eldest soon.

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I think that’s beautiful.


No problem!


I’ve been using the TV more and more lately; it’s part of managing my lack of wellness. Also I’m trying to balance the introduction of the children to not-for-children telly with the general wellbeing of the children, who are more sensitive than many I know to the gross injustices of the world. No they actually are.

The ten-year-old (she said casually, as though she’d had a ten-year-old for AGES) has watched a little of the BBC’s “The Story of Women in Art” and it’s only moderately distressing (once upon a time, there were loads of women doing art, and they were marginalised and excluded and written out of history and they still are, is the basic story, but the bit where they show the actual art is amazing). She’s watching it in the early parts of the day and processing it in the afternoons, which involves a lot of thinking and a bit of growling.

The seven-year-old was given a carding comb and a couple of drop spindles the other day, and she’s gradually carding some wool she found on fences in Wales preparatory to spinning it. We did a bit by rolling it between our hands last year, but this is the real deal.

And the three-year-old has been making necklaces. It turns out she can get the kitchen supply of drinking straws, and cut them into bead lengths, and thread them on some string from the ball her sister bought with her own money. Which is very clever and involves a lot of boundary-bending. Hmm.

We had a family holiday, the five of us, for two weeks, and although the eldest child had tonsillitis and I had more of my same lack of wellness, it was lovely and enriching and rewarding.

I feel posts lurking in the back of my drafts folder, and if I’m lucky I’ll be able to get them out into the world. You never know.

There’s one about the police.

On Tuesday last week we all snuggled up on the sofa and in armchairs and watched The Great British Sewing Bee. The children and I had watched the first episode on iPlayer before, and the nine-year-old, in particular, was fascinated by the making of the sleeveless cotton top, wool skirt, and silk nighties. The second episode made her very nearly cry, though.

They made a skirt,  things from old shirts, and men’s pyjamas. And when they were discussing the pyjamas, they said “comfort” and “comfortable” several times. She had noticed – as I had not – that they didn’t say that even once when discussing the women’s nighties, the previous week.

I’ve just watched that section on iPlayer again, and she’s right, they didn’t. Not once.

I thought it was a harmless show about sewing. I was impressed that there were men sewing, that there was no male co-presenter to “balance” the woman, that the historians they interviewed were mainly women, all that. She spotted the fairly basic difference between dressing for oneself and for someone else.

Comfortable nightwear. Wow.

It’s a weird cross between winter hibernation and mad education these days. Lego, the old laminated maths sheets from my eldest’s toddler years, almost endless telly, filling in account transfer forms and taking money out of the bank to buy sausages, and almost endless telly — iPlayer and Netflix and CBeebies and BakeOff and Coast and all sorts.




I have no idea why those photos refuse to turn over.

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