Chapter One: I left school aged 9¼
Tuesday 1 October
This morning we cycled to the swimming baths. We have decided to go swimming once a week, Mum, Jude and me. The curtains in the changing rooms were blue and yellow, and we needed a pound coin each for the lockers. I always try to pack my clothes away with my shoes at the bottom, and my towel on the top.
Mum is teaching us to swim the breaststroke, you have to keep your fingers together and push the water behind you, at the same time you bend and straighten your knees. Mum said to picture how a frog swims. We swam for about an hour and then we went to the library.
The library is a really comfortable place to browse books and read. There’s a whole section of children’s non-fiction and fiction, I once found a really good bouncy ball on the floor near the toddler books. Today I found a Sabrina the Teenage Witch novel for my new reading book, and a book about dogs. I needed a new reading book because I finished The BFG on Sunday. Jude chose The Worry Website by Jacqueline Wilson, one of her favourite authors.
At home in the afternoon we read David Copperfield together. We each have a copy, and we take it in turns to read it aloud. I’ve written my name in my copy. David Copperfield is a really long book by Charles Dickens, we started reading it the other day, when Mum got us each a copy from the Heritage Centre.
We finished the first chapter today, it is really interesting. It starts off when he is born, and then carries on.
Wednesday 2 October
This morning we learned that all energy comes from the Sun. Plants use the Sun’s energy to grow, and so when we eat plants we are eating the energy the Sun gave the plants.
We had a needlework lesson this afternoon. Mum showed us how to hem, and how to sew running stitch. I really like sewing, we used little pieces of fabric scraps to practise, and then we stuck them in our purple scrap books which is where we record our sewing.
Jude finished her sewing first and she used the rest of her lesson time to flick me with elastic from the sewing box. This was annoying but it was funny too. I carried on sewing and finished my running stitches, Jude said she was impressed by my reflexes.
Thursday 3 October
This morning we read some more David Copperfield and then had a spelling test. Chapter Two is called “I Observe” and David talks about his earliest memories of his mother and Peggotty, their servant. It is very funny.
In the afternoon we made paintings. I painted a scene with sail boats by Matisse, with lots of dabs of pink and blue. Jude painted A Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh. I really like Matisse and van Gogh’s paintings, they make everything so beautiful and colourful. We painted all afternoon, at the table. It takes a long time to paint in dabs and patches, so we haven’t finished our paintings yet.
Friday 4 October
In history we learned about the Stone Age. Nobody knows very much about the Stone Age, because it happened such a long time ago. Luckily the people of that time made paintings in caves for us to refer to. Mum read about the Stone Age to us, and then we answered questions from the book, and drew pictures of the cave drawings. Most of the cave drawings were of animals.
At lunchtime we had crackers and watched a program about antiques, which we all like, especially Jude. We have our favourite antiques experts, and it’s fun to see how ordinary things can be worth a lot of money.
After lunch we carried on painting our reproductions. I found it difficult to fit every detail into the picture.
Saturday 5th October
Today Mum, Jude and me went on the bus to the museum and art gallery in town. They had Stone Age artefacts in glass cases. It is fascinating to see little pieces of the past all dug up from underground, forgotten for years and now sitting in a display box.
The museum also had an exhibition of different sorts of shoes from history, baby shoes, dancing shoes, working boots. I liked the red glittery dancing shoes, and the video of the fashion show. Some of the shoes were really old and fragile.
Near the entrance of the museum there was a giant elephant made out of cardboard, which was amazing! We went in the gift shop and looked at all the souvenirs, they had books and pencils and old coins and toys from history.
Monday 7 October
Today we had separate lessons because Jude is three years older than me, so she needs to learn different maths. Jude and Mum worked downstairs on ratios and long multiplication, while I worked upstairs. I read my Sabrina reading book, practised typing on the computer, and then practised playing music on the keyboard.
I was trying to learn a song called Beautiful Brown Eyes, but it didn’t sound right. So far I can only play music with my right hand, which is on the treble clef. Hopefully one day I will be able to play with both hands at the same time.
In the afternoon it was my turn to do maths. I studied averages, which is mean, median and mode. I found this difficult because it’s really complicated. Median I find easier to remember, because it sounds a bit like “middle” and that’s what it’s all about. The other two are something different.
Jude did typing and read her reading book, The Worry Website. She doesn’t want to learn to play the keyboard, so she didn’t play any music.
Tuesday 8 October
I am getting much better at breaststroke, so is Jude. Breaststroke is swimming like a frog. Sometimes I start to sink, so I stand up, but I hardly did that at all today. When we go swimming there are not many other people at the pool, but if you swim for a long time, which we did today, a swimming class arrives, and they all line up beside the pool and dive in together. It’s very impressive. I don’t know how to dive, I wonder if it makes water go up your nose.
We went to the library after swimming, and borrowed some more books. Jude got five books! I just got two. I got a book about dolphins and whales and sea creatures, and a book called Charlie and the Glass Elevator, which is the sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I haven’t read the first book, but I’ve seen the film, so I understand what happens in the story.
When we got home we went down the lane to pick blackberries from the hedgerows. This is fun because you get pink fingers. It is a careful business, you need to choose the ones which are shiny and dark purple, avoid the red and green ones, which aren’t ripe yet, also avoid the ones which look like they have been half eaten by wasps or birds or spiders.
For cookery I made apple and blackberry pie, and Jude made oat biscuits. We worked at the table together. Then we made beans on toast for dinner. Jude stirred the beans while I put the margarine on the toast, and Mum laid the table. If you don’t stir beans, they stick to the bottom of the saucepan. We have a dark blue cooker and a bright orange kitchen.
Wednesday 9 October
In science we learned that energy is everywhere, and we learned about the energy in our bodies, in our blood and in our brains and things. I like to daydream that we are making important scientific breakthroughs about the Sun, and that we have discovered that actually the Earth is slowly moving away from the Sun! Or that there are actually two Suns! And nobody ever noticed because they are never in the sky at the same time.
In the afternoon we did sewing! Mum showed us how to do straight stitch and satin stitch, and we practised them on little pieces of fabric. When I’m sewing I pretend I am someone from Little house on the prairie, mending clothes for someone. With satin stitch I sewed a circle in green, pink, blue and yellow on a white and green striped piece of fabric, and Jude sewed hers on a dark blue piece of corduroy.
Thursday 10 October
In the morning we usually get up early, have breakfast and then I do the washing up, Jude walks our dog, Dmitri, and Mum sweeps the floors. We do those jobs as quickly as we can so that they’re all done in time for us to watch Bewitched before lessons start.
Last time I did maths I thought I nearly understood mean, median and mode, but they were different today than last time I saw them. Median is the only one I can remember. At least I’m not doing long division, which is what Jude was studying this morning.
We also did English, and I learned about punctuation and spellings.
We made Christmas cards this afternoon! We made stamps out of sponges and vegetables and then we dipped them in paint and printed onto card. We made snowmen and Christmas tree and holly stamps, and we had lots of different coloured card. It was fun to start getting ready for Christmas already! I don’t think it’s ever too early to think about Christmas and to get organised.
We made a lot because we need to send them to all our family and friends. We couldn’t add baubles to the trees on the cards today because the paint was still wet, but we might be able to do that tomorrow.
I’m excited because the Saturday after next we are going to go to the Big Draw which is in town! That’s a drawing festival full of activities for us to try.
At six o’clock I went to drama club in town. We are making a production of The Billy Goats Gruff for the old people at the care home and it is a lot of fun. There are lots of songs to sing and not really any costumes, you have to use your imagination. My friend Lydia is the littlest goat, and Benjamin is the medium sized goat, and I can’t remember who the biggest goat is. There are only three goats and a troll in this story, and the rest of us sing. We are the chorus.
Friday 11 October
In history we are learning about the Neolithic people. They are the modern cave men, from about 10,000 B.C., although nobody really knows how long ago. They made tools from stone, but they polished them, which the old stone age people didn’t do. They also lived in villages and made pottery. This was when they started growing crops instead of picking plants that grew all by themselves, and stopped being nomads.
I think it would be cool to be a nomad, just wandering around and finding food that’s grown by itself. Although, we did learn that living in houses gave the neolithic people time to do arts and crafts, so I can see how that would be fun too.
After lunch we worked on our projects. My project is knitting squares to make a patchwork blanket. So far I have three blue ones, a stripey yellow one and a glittery purple one. Today I made a green one and a purple and cream one.Jude’s project is making a toy for a toddler, which she designed herself. She made this caterpillar out of fabric, and then she stuffed it with dry peas which we got from the health food shop. She is sewing on letters and numbers for children to learn from, and a bell that jingles, to make it happy.
Then later on I made dinner. It’s good practice. I followed all the instructions on the packets. I made broccoli, carrots, Linda McCartney sausages, chips and gravy. The broccoli and carrots were fresh, they needed chopping and washing, the other things were frozen, except the gravy granules, which come in a cardboard pot. The gravy is easy to make, you measure it out with a spoon and boil the water in a kettle. The sausages are tricky because if you don’t keep a careful eye on the grill they can quickly get overdone on one side.
After dinner we had soya desserts which come in little pots.
Saturday 12 October
I went to music school and learned how to play the theme tune to Rugrats on my keyboard! My friend Dana is really good, and she showed me the songs she has been playing at home. Virginia, who is my other friend, is learning to play the clarinet, and when she has learned to play the clarinet, she says she will learn to play the saxophone, like Lisa Simpson! The teacher played us some of his CDs, which he keeps in a big folder, like a photo album. Our teacher is called Arlo, and his assistant is called Lucas. Lucas said that Dana, Virginia and me always wear the same colours, and he asked if we planned it that way. We laughed because we had never noticed that.
After keyboard lessons was music theory, which never makes much sense because most of the children are naughty, but also because we are all learning different instruments, so it feels disconnected to learn about theory without my keyboard in the room. I would rather they showed me how to play the piano with two hands at once, which is something I can’t fathom.
After music theory was choir, which I really like, I love to sing really loud and they give you sheets of words to lots of songs!
And after that there was drama, (Saturday drama club is different from Thursday drama club) we are making a production of Jack and the Beanstalk, and I am one of the giant’s arms! We have a lot of songs to learn, and I am a market seller at the beginning, before I become the giant’s arms. I like playing drama games too. We play wink murder which is a game where you have to stand in a circle, and someone is the murderer, and if they wink at you, you have to die really dramatically.
Monday 14 October
I got one hundred percent correct on my times table test today! I had to do the fives, which are fun because they are easier than the others. After that I had typing practice, but my fingers are too small to reach all the keys, so mum said I should wait for now and carry on learning to type when I’m bigger.
I finished reading the book, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator! It was really funny. Charlie, his whole family and Willy Wonka went up in the flying elevator, but his gran gets frightened, which means Mr Wonka can’t turn around, so they go into space, and start orbiting the Earth, and they get mistaken for aliens and it’s very funny. That’s what I did in the morning, while mum was teaching BODMAS to Jude. BODMAS is something to do with long multiplication, or something. Luckily I don’t have to learn it for a couple of years.
In the afternoon I did a mental maths test, but I’m not very good at it. I don’t like doing maths inside my head without writing anything down, especially if I’m being timed. I know now that two, three, five, seven, eleven and thirteen are all prime numbers, but I can’t remember how to calculate a perimeter.
Jude did touch typing, she is up to level 2 now, and she read her reading book.
Tuesday 15 October
We swam for an hour today, and we returned some books but we didn’t get any more out. It was breezy outside riding our bikes, we put cotton wool in our ears so we didn’t get ear ache after swimming.
In English I have started reading a book called Carrie’s War, about Carrie and her brother who are evacuated from London during the Second World War. They live with a grumpy shop keeper and his sister, and they make friends with a little boy called Albert Sandwich.
After that I worked in my English workbook where I learned about paragraphs and comparisons.
For dinner Jude made “Hungarian potatoes” and pancakes. “Hungarian potatoes” has slices of potato, fried tomatoes and onions and gravy and it’s all baked in the oven. I made a coffee and syrup cake.
Wednesday 16 October
In science we learned how power stations store electricity, and that energy is always changing. We made experiments out of a knitting needle and a cork and a salt pot which we cut the end off of to demonstrate how a water mill works.
At lunchtime we had peanut butter and Marmite on toast. I like to make toast and put the margarine on straight away, so that it melts in and gets really soft. Jude does it like that too, and Dad says she puts too much margarine on her toast. Mum likes her toast well done, and I like mine so it’s hardly toasted at all, hot but not brown, Jude likes it to be medium toasted.
While we were eating we watched Cheers. Cheers is great because it’s funny. My favourite character is the woman who is played by the mum in Matilda, she is really great when she gets angry and goes crazy. I can’t remember her name. I really like the theme tune.
In needlework we learned cross stitch sewing. There are lots of different ways to sew, and we practised half-cross stitch and herringbone stitch. When we finished we stuck them in our scrap books and cut out labels printed off the computer and stuck them in too. We cut the labels out in decorative ways to make our books interesting.
Jude made drawings when lessons were over, she is really good at drawing cartoon people. I played with my dolls and one of them broke in half because she fell while she was rock climbing. The other dolls were pretty worried but it’s okay, because she was rushed to hospital and I Selotaped her back together again.
Jude has dolls from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She has a Willow, a Buffy and an Angel doll. But I’m not supposed to touch them, because they are very fragile, and sometimes their arms fall off. Sometimes I do go and look at them though.
Thursday 17 October
This morning Jude was working on formulae for maths, which is all about triangles and circles and rectangles. I do English while she does maths, and for English I had to write a story! I wrote a story about a girl called Rakel who is supposed to go on a bus ride, but she doesn’t, instead she goes into this cave with her friends and finds magic crystals. It all goes wrong when something bad happens and they have to run for it, and one of them, Garth, gets trapped and they have to leave him behind. Mum said that was a bit harsh, leaving Garth behind, and I did feel bad about that, but that’s just a tragic part of the story. I didn’t know how to end the story, so it doesn’t have an ending yet.
For maths I had to do brain teasers about square numbers and division. That was exhausting! This afternoon we made still life pastel drawings! Mum set it up for us to draw three teddy bears sitting in a row. They are Jude’s bears, she won them at the Christmas bazaar by guessing the name of the littlest one.
Friday 18 October
Tomorrow we are going to the Big Draw! I can’t wait! I can hardly think about anything else. I was distracted all through history this morning. We were learning about the Bronze Age. That was when the cave people started melting tin and copper and things to make bronze, so that they’d have something other than stones to work with. The Bronze Age people invented writing and the wheel. We looked at pictures of Bronze Age roundhouses and longboats in our history book.
We carried on working on our own projects, I have started a new project, knitting a pig! I am following a pattern from a book about making toys.
Saturday 19 October
Today we visited The Big Draw! It was at a big city art gallery. I had a really good time. Me and Jude made self-portraits and still life drawings and texture rubbings. There were tables full of pieces of paper and crayons and boxes of pine cones and feathers and leaves to draw.
After that they took us into a room and there were lots of children making a great big abstract drawing together, on a huge piece of paper on the floor. There were lots of toy cars and we dipped them in paint and then played with them across the paper, making a drawing. It was a lot of fun, and there was a raffle to see who got to keep the giant picture, but we didn’t win it. It was great fun, we had such a good time.
We are having a half term holiday this week. I got up early this morning and watched cartoons.
When the post came there was a free catalogue of women’s clothes, so I took it out to the porch, cut out all the women and played with them. They were great paper dolls, but eventually I took them outside to have them swim in the puddle, and they all fell apart.
I did some drawings of the Power Puff Girls! Bubbles is my favourite because Blossom is bossy and Buttercup is angry.
Saturday 26 October
Today we went to the Robin Hood Pageant! We went on the train to Nottingham in the morning, and when we got to the castle we had our picture taken with a statue of Robin Hood.
At the pageant there was archery, sword fighting and jousting, just like in A Knight’s Tale! We didn’t go and see that, but there were people dressed as knights, noblemen, noblewomen and peasants from history. Jude got a bow and arrows so that she can learn to do archery, and I got a wooden toy sword! And I also got a historical Robin Hood colouring book.
A woman showed us how she was making something on a loom, and there was a spinning wheel. Mum bought a little loom so that we can make our own cloth!
We saw a potter, and he explained to us what his different pots were for. He had a great tall pot which he said was for putting pears in, to store them and preserve them for the winter. He said that you would fill up the pot with pears and then pour alcohol into it, and they would last a long time, and make a nice dessert.
Jude bought a money box from him which had a slot, but no hole in the bottom for money to come out. You have to break it to get the money out. The man said you could use a knife and some jam to try to get a coin out, but I think that would be difficult.
People were milling grains with a big mill stone, and they explained to us that they used to make very white flour for the rich people by putting all the milled grains into a piece of cloth to sieve out all the brown pieces, and the rich people would have white bread while the poor people would have the wholemeal bread flour which was left over. She said that as a result, the poor people were much healthier than the rich people.
I got dressed up as a knight in chain mail and a helmet, which was very exciting. I had my picture taken and it was great. A knight’s armor is very heavy, so after I had taken it all off I felt queasy, I don’t know how people could walk around in that stuff, and fight battles.
Monday 28 October
Mum said that because I haven’t been able to learn to type, I could practise my handwriting instead. I have quite good writing when I am careful, but it gets messy when I rush or get distracted. After that I read my book. I’m reading a book called I Want Doesn’t Get by Rony Robinson. It’s really good. It’s about a little boy and his two sisters.
This afternoon I had a mental arithmetic test and a times table test. I am not very good at doing maths in my head, so after the test mum went through all the questions with me and showed me how to do the ones I had done wrong. I don’t really remember the times tables unless I do them one at a time, in the right order. Jude wrote a story.
Tuesday 29 October
We were going to do science this morning, but we wanted to do an experiment about the greenhouse effect, mum said it wasn’t sunny enough so we can do it another day. So we did spellings instead. We had to write out the meanings of the words we learned, and then we did our projects. Jude’s caterpillar is nearly finished, it looks really good. I am still working on my pig, which is not nearly finished.
We had tomato paté and salad sandwiches for lunch, and we watched the BBC play, which was about some ladies who go to live in a caravan, which starts to roll down a hill, but then it stops.
I wrote another story for English. The exercise was to make a plan and then make a story. This time I wrote a story about a girl called Bernice who meets a goblin in her garden, and then she gets into an argument with him because he won’t let her put the washing out. Eventually the goblin runs away.
Jude was also writing a story, but hers had to have propositions and complex sentences. Jude said she was writing a really scary story with creepy monsters and vampires. She’s really good at making up those sorts of stories.
In cookery lesson we carved Halloween pumpkins! We scooped out the insides and then we cut out scary eyes and teeth and noses, it was brilliant.
Wednesday 30th October
After swimming we visited the museum at the Heritage Centre. It is great in there, because you can see inside a glass case pictures of what the town looked like a hundred years ago, and there are artefacts like tin pots and badges from the 1920s. They have an old hair dresser’s chair with a big blow drier fixed to the top. I don’t like that though because it looks like an evil villain’s brain-washing chair.
I like the little room at the back, which is decorated to look like a little kitchen, and you can look in at all the old food tins and boxes from the early 1900s, and there is an old kettle and an old iron and things. It’s really interesting.
Jude has been working on her caterpillar again, while I read David Copperfield out loud to us all. David has gone on holiday with Peggotty to Yarmouth. They go to stay with her brother, Mr Peggotty, who lives in a boat on the beach with two children, Emily, who is around the same age as David, and Ham, who is older and Mrs Gummidge. There is a funny conversation where David asks lots of questions. He finds out that Ham and Emily are cousins, who were both orphaned and then adopted by Mr Peggotty. Mrs Gummidge was married to Mr Peggotty’s business partner, but she is a widow now, and so lives with him too. They are all funny and interesting characters, I especially like Mr Peggotty, because you can tell he likes David.
After that mum helped me make a design and then I drew it onto a T shirt with fabric pastels! My design had flowers and a dog. I used purple and orange and blue pastels.
Thursday 31 October
Today we had the special cereal with the strawberries in it. I love that. I am always disappointed to find there is no fruit in cereals which have fruit on the box, mum told me that is just a serving suggestion. But today’s cereal did have fruit in it! Jude and I always argue over who has taken too many strawberries, but I can’t help it if they happen to fall out of the box into my bowl.
In the afternoon we made pop up cards and collage cards by cutting up magazines and coloured paper. Jude made drawings of cartoons and stuck them on paper springs, and I cut out pictures of dogs and cats and flowers from a magazine.
This was the last day of our first month of home-school. I like it.
to be continued 🙂
vegan, vegetarian, children, home-schooling, education, school, diary, journal, children’s story
How nice. Creates a yearning for the simple things. Real things. Not merely punching buttons and flipping screens.
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Thank you so much, I’m so glad you like it. 🙂
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Thank you very much! 🙂