An Interlude

As this blog shows I get to do a lot with Sam.  Not so much with Jack whose life is far too busy to accommodate much time with me.  The slightly ironic thing is our interests overlap much more.  Theatre and musicals in particular being one.

We simply had to go and see the new musical for Disney’s Aladdin, to this day we are all word-perfect on the songs (and much of the dialogue) it has been watched so often.  Sam wasn’t bothered either way so decided to leave him home with Pete.

Lovely couple of days shopping and exploring the West End (including a little detour down Charing Cross Road to restock book shelves).  Although it was far too HOT!!!!

Oh should have said Aladdin was amazing!  Really, really fabulous.  So colourful and the staging was brilliant!

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The photos below are from M&Ms World.  A shop dedicated to M&M merchandise, we simply couldn’t resist. 20160812_120240 20160812_12110520160812_121538



Gosport Gang Show 2015


Jack has just finished his 4th Gang Show and Sam his first.  Pic on the flyer is Jack last year in the middle – being thoughtful 🙂

For those who have never seen a Gang Show it’s a scout and guide run show of singing, dancing and drama sketches.  Over the course of the week they probably perform to several thousand.  7 shows in 5 days in a local theatre (no high school hall for this lot 😉 ).  Rehearsals start back in October and from January have a full day most weekends too, some weekends both days if they have a promotional event.

It’s a long haul and a lot of commitment – J has missed one rehearsal in those 4 years.  A lot of commitment required from those who provide (or organise) transport and are expected to drop everything at a moments notice to fit around plans (lucky to know timings of week end events the day before).  We grumble a lot ;).

That aside what the boys get from it is huge and priceless.

The camaraderie and friendships they build are far stronger than those they form anywhere else.  Lots of time, killing time waiting for curtain call I suspect.

Sense of responsibility, commitment and teamwork.

Mostly though it is the confidence they gain.  Watching Sam in particular on stage, can see he is a different child to the one he was a year ago, really blossomed.

Already talking of next year’s 🙂

They both managed to sneak in here somewhere.  Congratulations to all who took part, you were all brilliant!

Oh and mid Gang Show week I became Mother to a Teenager!!!  Had 2 shows that day so party was fish and chips beforehand.



Window on another life

One of the bits of advice I like to give out is; don’t waste time on doubting past decisions, yes life would probably be different if you’d made different choices, but would it be better, worse or just different it is impossible to know.

Anyway where this comes from is Jack has been off a bit this week with illness and inset days so I’ve had both boys around on what was effectively school days and a bit of a glimpse of life if both were home.  Usually if Jack is off sick he spends most of his time in bed so we can keep some level of normality going.  Tuesday that was the case and I was feeling decidedly below par too so things were quiet.  Wednesday though he was fine but was still within 48hr sickness so we had a ‘home ed’ day.  Went over some maths, did a bit of story writing for the 500 words competition, but mostly messed about with Scout badges.

Lot harder work having them both about.   Obviously if Jack was home all the time we’d have routines.  I take my hat off to those who home ed more than 2 though.  I can imagine it is one of those things that gets harder rather than easier as they grow older and needs/interests diversify.

As far as Sam and home ed goes it has been a meh week.  Maths, English, Spanish and Latin completed with no fuss.  We’ve done some project work but in a low key way using a pack printed off the OS.  Art/Spanish group was not one of our disrupted activities.  We’ve done enough but feels like it’s been a bit box ticking, no real hands on stuff, no real trips.  Most exercise has been on the kinect.  No interesting photos to show.

But with J about 3 days, my elderly neighbour not being well and me spending 2 afternoons round there and then I had a meeting on Friday about accessing funding for home ed activities.  I think I’ll take what we managed.

Our day out was Friday and actually although it had no educational purpose in itself (but will hopefully lead to some funded arts/drama activities) it was a big step forward in the independence/growing up stakes.  I left Sam in town with Jack for an hour, while I had my meeting.  Mine and Pete’s birthdays are later this month so they went present shopping (and played on the playstation in Game).   Growing up!



Summer Evenings

School is out, and Jack is about.  This is obviously the year he is really spreading his wings as he is off down the beach swimming at any opportunity and there are plans for bike rides and picnics.  Test of nerves as a parent, feel that I am not so much voluntarily letting go of the strings as having them pulled away from me.  But am doing well at keeping my panic to myself and letting them go rather than desperately grabbing at them.  When it comes down to it he’s a sensible boy and I trust him.

Well Jack is revelling in it Sam and I are really struggling with the heat so staying indoors out of the sun.  Seems sunset is our going out time 🙂

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In praise of Jack

Over the last year or so I am aware that I spend a lot more time talking about Sam than Jack.  Mainly because this is a record of our home educating journey and for Jack that journey has come to an end, but also as they get older I am more trying to be more mindful of their privacy.

But feel the urge to be embarrassing mum.  My oldest boy turned 12 today, next year a teenager.  He is growing up so quickly and already there seems little ‘child’ left and get a real sense of the man he may become.  His English teacher is already talking about the possibility of him making a living from writing :).

I haven’t always done the best I could as a mother and have definitely made mistakes but more by luck than judgement he’s turning out rather well and he’s given me several reasons this holiday to realise how pleased and proud of him I am.

Of course there is a sense of pride in what he achieves.  Recent parent’s evening all we heard was praise but don’t think we were the easiest of parents.  Not interested in arbitrary levels or how he compares to others.  But I hope and believe we have a bright, intelligent boy who is willing to have a go and try hard at things which aren’t his natural skills (and can cope with a bit of ribbing about them not being his skills 😉 ).

Last week was Gang Show and 6 three hour shows over 4 days.  He performed well, stood up on stage in front of 100’s of people day after day with a self confidence way beyond mine.  But it was way more than that.  It was putting life on hold for 7 days of hard work and very late nights.  Months of rehearsals, losing an evening and a day every week, even showing up the weeks he had completely lost his voice, with lots of being moaned at and having things chopped and changed.  Mid week he was given an award for, in his words, “something along the lines of ‘not being anything special but being the backbone of GangShow’ “.  Gave us a bit of a laugh but did please me to see his effort, attitude,  and  general good naturedness acknowledged.

He’s got more life skills and self confidence than many way beyond him in years.  I won’t say I don’t worry about him (he’s my son it’s my job) but he’s doing me proud.  I can ask him to rustle up a meal if I’m busy, leave him home and not worry, let him go out with a be home at such and such, only thing stopping him heading into town on the bus is waiting for friends to do it with.  He’s proved himself able to deal with problems with common sense.

As well as all that he is also developing an awareness of others that I take for granted.  Out in town on Monday I was complemented on the boys manners and told I was bringing them up well on 3 separate occasions, I laughed it off but actually I have a nearly teenager who offers his seat on the bus (believe me this is quite a rare being), who automatically picks up the shopping in the supermarket to help, who is concerned over family budgets, who instinctively say please and thank you (to me as well as strangers), none of them massive things and all things I take for granted but obviously there are enough about who don’t to make people comment that mine do.

He seems to make friends easily but also enemies as he seems to have inherited the family trait of not suffering fools gladly which is not so good. But I think he’s proved a generous, loyal friend to those that matter to him on a few occasions this year and I think those that matter to him are the sort that are worth it 🙂  He really does have a nice bunch of friends.

I am happy and proud that my son is turning out to be smart, reliable, a doer (school council, Scout competitions – happy to sign himself up for anything) and may I add an incredibly sharp wit who is very good company.  He is also developing a mature sense of himself and an ability to see the funny side and laugh off or along with teasing.  I have to say not only do I love my son but I genuinely like him too.

There you go gushing over, I’ll have to keep close eye open for the next pot hole on the parenting road, must be due a trip down one very soon after that smugfest.

I will also add in balance that he is a slob and the state of his room drives me to distraction!!!

Landscape Art

Three posts on one morning!  But wanted to keep note of this to do with Sam (was Jack’s homework) as pleased with results.



The Sam Large Owner’s Manual by Jack

Please forgive the boastful mum post.  Just this made me laugh so much and I need it somewhere easy to refer to on those darker days when I need a giggle.

Fueling your Sam

The Sam Large can be filled using any of the following;

Bagguettes .

Caring for your Sam

Although your Sam must always be loved and cared for, it cannot be too happy or it may develop some of the common problems mentioned on page three. Often attempt the following;

Common Problems

LEAKING: It has been reported that Sam occasionally leaks from the eye area.

MANNERS: If your Sam begins displaying bad manners, there is a chance that he may have been reprogrammed. Take him back to any shop for a 50% discount.

SPEAKING DIFFICULTIES: If your Sam does not speak clearly, contact our support team to get it replaced.

SLIGHTLY ANNOYING: If your Sam is annoying, remove the heart and replace it with a lit candle.

HIGHLY ANNOYING: If your Sam is highly annoying, the recommended treatment is to drop him off the gosport ferry.

IMMINENT DEATH: If your Sam is near death, remove his brain and place it in the robotic exoskeleton provided in all good Sam starter packs.

INQUISITIVE: It is highly dangerous if your Sam becomes inquisitive. The recommended solution is to burn your Sam before coating it in honey and putting it in a bee hive.

Rare Problems

LOVE: If your Sam falls in love, please contact our steamroller team.

GRAPES: If your Sam becomes addicted to grapes the best course of action is to release the hounds.

HAPPINESS: If your Sam is spotless push him off a giraffe.

SUSPICIOUS DEATH: If your Sam dies a suspicious death, send him into reboot mode by kicking his bum

INSANITY: If your Sam becomes insane, please call our military personnel team.

INTELLIGENCE: If your Sam becomes intelligent, it is recommended to drown him in wine.

CANNIBALISM: If your Sam becomes cannibalistic, tie him to the bottom of your car and drive around your local area.

We don’t ask for much…

… which is good.

Christmas was a bit of a wash out (literally with the weather).  Jack has been ill since school broke up and is still struggling and he gave it to me which resulted in me spending about half of Christmas in bed (and a good proportion of the time I was up building a Lego jetpack – way more complicated than necessary!).  Presents were nothing spectacular this year – Sam had a subscription to the Beano, which while it was what he wanted it was a bit difficult to put under the tree.  Jack had Fifa 14 – to replace last years Fifa 13, which no doubt will be followed by Fifa 15 next year ;).  Although I did get my picture of a goose 😀


But despite bugs and weather we still had a good time.  Christmas for us is about relaxing and enjoying each other’s company, which we have done!  Boys have been on form – lived in their onesies, happily played together and with us (we got a fair few games between us), the surprise hit present was an electronic hangman!

Christmas Eve and new onesies
As well as cushions, blankets and annuals.
Remote control bug
Remote control bug
Marble run
Jose Mourinho came to visit 🙂
Subbuteo – he had Chelsea and Liverpool (who have been rechristened Cardiff for Pete)

And some more fairly random photos.

Sock snowmen and pottery ornaments.
Sock snowmen and pottery ornaments.
Fabric chains – 5 years now I think and still going.
Decopatch – shudder!
More enjoyable and better outcome - felt banner.
More enjoyable and better outcome – felt banner.
We have now got it so pretty much everything on there is homemade or bought on a special day out so has a memory attached. Apart from the tinsel 😉
Gingerbread house - not my forte!
Gingerbread house – not my forte!
More gingerbread on a gingerbread plate
Pottery painting
Ice cream cone tree from home ed group
Sweet tree gifts from Sam
Having breakfast with Santa (clever Oscar won it as a prize!)
And my favourite, Village carol singing


What Jack Did

Recent posts have been very Sam focused.  But I haven’t done away with Jack, promise.

He has been on a 3 day magic and circus workshop and LOVED it. And he made it into the local paper!

On Thurs they did an Olympic themed show for the parents.

And then we picked up Subutteo in a charity shop yesterday and he loves it.

And one of his oldest friends came to visit from the States.

A good week all round.