Friday, April 13, 2007

Digging for Education

Yesterday Roarke took Joshua and Samuel out on a trip. Here is his comments from the day:

"Never let it be said that, as home educating parents, we are not commited to the cause...

It was 6 o'clock in the morning when the alarm clock went off and only 6.15am when I dragged two half asleep children out of the comfort of their beds to go quarrying!

50 miles later, and much coffee, we arrived at Ardingly where we visited the Hanson depot. It was great! We saw the whole process from when chippings arrive by train at one end of the depot and go out as asphalt for roads from the other end.

We had history (I didn't know that it was part of the Bluebell Railway), engineering (did you know it takes 3 hours to empty 18 big trucks of their load?), we also found out the different grades of chips that are used - again I didn't know that it is the road surface that makes you stop, when you brake, not just the brakes.

We did PE - well have you ever climbed up that high and then walked across a narrow bridge, ducking your head, minding your shoulders from bits that are sticking out - a veritable obstacle course BEFORE breakfast!

The kids were very interested - the adults even more so - as we found out how they take the different grades of chips, dry them, before heating them and then coating them with the bitumen and loading them into the lorries which we see on our highways and byways (usually when you are driving somewhere in a hurry....)

The kids then got to climb into the big dumper; Samuel's comment, bless him, "what, we get to drive it?". No son, you get to SIT in it!

Whenever I steal Ann's blog, I make the same comments, and I'll make them again; can I justify this morning in light of a national curriculum - I don't know. Did everybody learn some really interesting, background living/knowledge type stuff - yes. And surely THAT is what is important. The kids were well behaved, in fact the owner has invited us to go and have a look at the sand quarry next. The parents were involved with the children, and when all was said and done, yet another visit that I very much doubt will be forgotten in a hurry.

Oh yes, and bacon and eggs round at the organiser's house afterwards was good as well (thanks Kim!)"

Meanwhile, I spent the time with William, playing transformers (don't ask...) and building Zooks out of Kiddie Knex. It was our second time together this week; on Wednesday Roarke had taken the other two to Danson Park to take part in their taster day on water sports.

Samuel decided not to take part in the end; he would have been out on the water without his Dad, in a group environment - not his "thing" and not something we would have booked him for if we had really understood how it was going to be.

Joshua, on the other hand, had really enjoyed himself! Between 10.30 and 3.30 he spent all but about half hour of that on the water, kyaking and sailing.

Having never shown any interest in any physical activity or sport before, we are so glad that he is interested. However, trust him to find one of the most expensive sports to follow; he now wants us to save up for him to be able to do the first stage of his sailing training...

I stayed home with William and we helped to amuse his cousin who was over for the afternoon, whilst my brother went up to London for another endoscopy to see if his villi have recovered now he is on a gluten free diet. It will be a few weeks for the results to come through.

Talking of which, Roarke has had some success this week with contacting local papers to try to get some publicity for his fundraising. We still have a long way to go, so we are hoping that this will encourage people to sponsor him for the triathlon. We are also hoping for some corporate sponsorship as he desperately needs a "proper" triathlon bike, running shoes and a wet suit. If we have to pay for them ourselves, that will be some £1,000 we will have sunk into this charity run.

On a very sad note, one of the other ladies at church who was also pregnant went for her 3 months scan this week only to be told that the baby had died. My heart goes out to her and the family; what an awful tragedy. It will also be very hard for her, with one newborn in the church and another 6 due over the coming months.. Please pray for her.

Myself I am struggling terribly at the moment; the anniversary of losing Dad is looming and between that and my hormones, I seem to spend large parts of the day in tears. The garden is a painful place to be, despite the lovely weather. When Dad retired I bought him a lovely arbour seat, which delighted him. He planted some climbing plants, one of which has never flowered despite all his efforts. Until this year. Seeing it in bloom yesterday completely undid me. We've decided to take a flower from it to lay at the Crematorium in a few weeks time.

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