The new violin arrived, much to Emily’s delight, and certainly sounds a better quality than the first one. There has been lots of violin practice in the last ten days, but I think we’re getting to the point where we’re going to have to look for a teacher. Unfortunately, I can’t find one locally. I’m sure there must be loads, but I don’t know where. May have to enquire of a local school (makes cross with fingers and hangs garlic around neck just in case). Emily’s doing wonderfully well and can now play all of the grade I and most of the grade II pieces with ease and style, but now we’re getting into more difficult techniques and it’s beyond me to be much help
Meanwhile, more on the making music front. Emily had “rediscovered” an electric keyboard she had for Christmas a few years ago. Suddenly, with her new found music reading abilities and music theory understanding since starting the violin, she’s found out that she can apply all that to the keyboard (or, as my confuddled brain keeps calling it, the organ). She’s spent many happy hours with that over the last fortnight and we invested in a keyboard stand and this tuition book to help.
And still on the music front – although listening this time, rather than making – Emily’s also started to collect vinyl records, being particularly enthusiastic about spending some pocket money on a star shaped Starry Eyed. Jon, music buff that he is, has approximately, ooooh, several million vinyl records in his collection. Unfortunately, pre-teen that she is, Emily turns her nose up at his tastes 😉
Home ed is continuing apace, although life in general is very hectic right now so it feels as though we’re not getting much done. When I sit and think about it, though, we are making progress. In history, we’re still working on the Northern Ireland conflict, mainly using this book; it’s still a bit too cartoony for my liking, but I’ve learnt things from it so I’m sure Emily has. With dissident rumblings continuing and the Queen’s recent trip to Ireland, it’s a very topical subject, so I think Emily can see the point in trying to understand what went on and why.
In economics, we’re still working through the GCSE Economics book. It’s not bad, actually. Not as over-simplified as some of the textbooks we looked at. We did spend a long time working through various A level economics books – which were excellent, but simply too much in the end. We feel like we’re getting somewhere with this one, so that’s a very good thing. When I ever get organised and get more hours in the day, there are tons of economics resources I want to work in from BizEd, Times 100 and this nifty (free!) stock market simulator. Although that latter is a bit overwhelming until you work out what’s going on ….. which I haven’t, yet. Might do it the old fashioned way with copies of the Financial Times and a pretend 10k to invest and track, or something. Except I’m clueless about investment, really, and will still have to work out how that works too!
French is going so, so well (does a little dance). I wanted to find a freebie version of a video immersion course, but could only find Yabla, which is about a fiver a month. That’s not pricey, I suppose, if we made the most of it. We shall see. Meanwhile, the BBC French Resources look promising, especially the intermediate video course Ma France. Our main textbook is still the grammar based Living French and we’re also using the Easy French Reader book.
Politics is still chugging along. Haven’t yet bought the American politics text book I wanted, but we’ve been doing a lot of work from the Politics Review magazines, which really are excellent. In IT, Emily’s been steaming along with Gramps and their Excel project – on Monday they managed to create a superb working spreadsheet for running a small video hire shop, where the “owner” would only have to enter someone’s membership number and the video code number to track who had what, when it was due back, how many rentals it had had and all sorts of other useful information. 🙂
Riding, riding, riding, is something of an obsession. Emily’s sitting really well at canter now and can stay in canter for two-three circuits of the school; she’s done exceptionally well, especially considering the really nasty falls she had a while back, and the teacher’s really pleased with her. Emily wants to kidnap Blue, her horse 😉 and much, much, much time has been spent dreaming about buying two horses. Ahem. They do livery at the stables and it is just a ten minute walk from here, literally at the end of our road. It’s all very tempting.
There has been lots more photography too; Emily took some stunning shots on a wildlife safari in the garden the other day. Spot the fabulous one of the ant with a drop of aphid liquid (or whatever it’s called) on its antenna. Others include dead spiders and spooky tools in the garage 😉 more ants and their eggs, bumble bees in action, galls on her oak sapling and several rather freaky closeups of an eye – someone was slightly obsessed with capturing the reflection of what I was looking at in my eye, plus the dome of the cornea. The black and white film has finally arrived for the “new old” camera, but we haven’t had a chance to try it out yet.
So that’s home ed. As for us, we’re frantically trying to get far too much done. Jon’s been taking lots of services at the church and has put together a May newsletter for them, with the June one needing doing shortly. Editing work has been extremely busy and I’m being paid to write blog posts for their new education directory, as well as writing some of the content for it. The not-BBC-any-more-BBC-contract is still being set up but is looking promising and when we ever get time to breathe we still have plans to bring the astrology consultancy and the mind/body/spirit shop back to life.
Jon’s Dad is needing a lot of care at the moment; since he came out of hospital after the latest heart attack, he’s needed us to make his lunch and dinner every day (and since he eats at weird times which nowhere near match when we need to eat, that means cooking separate meals not just making more of what we have). He’s been back and fore to the diabetic clinic where they wanted him to start on yet another new diabetic drug, after all the stress and upset the last one caused. Doctor and hospital appointments are springing up all over the show. This morning, my Mum and Dad found my Nana’s old wheelchair in the attic and have offered it to Jon’s Dad for his use. That’s cheered him up no end, as we still haven’t heard about an NHS wheelchair referral for him. Only thing is that now we need to find an extra hour in the day in order to take him out in it.
We were supposed to be going to the beach this week, but that had to be cancelled due to lack of time. Jon and Emily are off at another car boot sale this morning and I’m supposed to be working instead of doing this 😉 Beach and another stately home visit will be coming up imminently at the beginning of June then. I hope.