Archive for May, 2010

May 23, 2010


I have never read any books about home education despite being an avid reader of all sorts of things and a great researcher of pros and cons. I’m not sure why home ed didn’t get the full research treatment unlike to name a few, Protein S Deficiency in pregnancy (lucky if you carry to term and luckier if you inject heparin daily) or 7 seater cars that still have boot room (Honda Odyssey) or washing machines (Siemens) or sewing machines (vintage Singer) or flooring (Marmoleum)

Miss Amoo didn’t get on with the nursery class and before that she didn’t get on well in pre-school either so when it came to committing to 5 days a week and proper school we weren’t sure. After several weeks of wondering what to do, the idea of just not going to school came out of nowhere and the relief that accompanied the thought convinced us that we should do it.

Last Tuesday I took three home ed books from a friend in order to return them to another friend. The second friend is on holiday so the books are at our house. I picked up John Holt’s Learning All the Time last night and read the first half of it. It was interesting to read his descriptions of children writing before they want to read and then reading whole books because they want to find out what is in them rather than learning letters then words then rules and using those to learn to read.

This is more or less how Miss Amoo has learned to read and just this week she has begun to pick books from the shelf at random and read them. She doesn’t seem to have any fear of reading pages full of text and is wanting to sit by me on our ‘reading chair’ as she calls it, for about 15 minutes at a time. I am amazed at how she is doing it because other than playing on Reading Eggs for a couple of months a year ago, she hasn’t had any specific input from us or anywhere else.

Both the boys were reading avidly by the time they were six and Miss Amoo is now 7 and a bit but I’ve been trusting that it would happen for her when she wanted it to. If I had read this book sooner I would have been able to explain justify to doubters why I didn’t need to push or help her too much and that a year or more of being busy playing wasn’t a terrible thing for her to do instead of learning to read and write like they do at school.

Last night I also read this about Carol Dwecks’s research into why labelling a kid ‘clever’ isn’t helping them and then this about The Talent Myth which is kind of related and makes me wonder how many more big businesses think in this crazy way.

May 22, 2010


Miss Amoo in the car, practising spelling her surname among many other things.

Miss Froo getting madder and madder finally blurts out “I want a piece of QUIET!”

We seem to be right out of quiet this week

May 20, 2010

How to join lined straps

Have you ever sewn a lined bag and ended up with two narrow strap ends that need joining and wondering how to do it without bodging it? Sewing the two ends together by hand can mean that the part of your bag which is going to bear most weight is the least sturdily sewn. This is one way to sew the end seam on your machine and just handstitch the side of the strap which will hopefully make your bag more able to be abused and last longer.

This was a bit of late night sewing so the pics aren’t great. The bag is a modification of the Tiny Happy bag and when I made it three years ago I couldn’t be bothered to line it. Being grey and six inches deep means it is pretty dark in there and I can’t ever seem to find my keys in it, so at about 11pm last night I thought I’d stop struggling in the dark and sort it out.

First sew your lining to your back as normal but when you get to the end of each strap sew all the way to the end on one side and stop 2″ away form the end on the other side. Turn it all right side out and your straps will look like this

Flatten each end and you will see this

You are going to pin and sew where the writing is.

So with right sides together, pin outer to outer (mine is grey to grey)

then pin lining to lining so you end up with this. It will be a bit curved but don’t worry.

Now take it to your sewing machine and sew where you have pinned (Gratuitous action shot!)

When you pull the strap straight again you will have a thing that looks like a pitta ready for some kebab filling.

Fold in your seam allowance on both sides and flatten the strap how it should be. Pin it all down and sew up the opening. Easy!

Ladder stitch is good for closing this kind of seam and you can see how to do it here

On a completely different note,

Why do French Beans grow like this? Why isn’t the bean still under the soil like a runner bean would be? IS this normal or is it because I got them free from the BBC?

May 15, 2010

So, What’s New?

Not much. Lots of feeding the monster and not much sewing which leaves me a bit antsy. A pair of trousers is finished and a dress too today but there are piles of works in progress and other works not even started.

The garden is blooming and other little things are very busy.

Right across the doorway of the wendy house. Then this inside hanging from the ceiling

She is not the first Mrs Wasp who has started this job in our garden. Last year there was one in the shed; the year before a huge one in our loft; the year before that there was one in the bush next to the wendy house. Unfortunately she isn’t very welcome so she didn’t get past this stage.

My apologies to the Wasp family.

And these which I hope will seed and make a little bluebell wood one day.