Middle and Youngest were both late to bed, and ended up going at the same time, together - it was so late that we'd run out of time for a bedtime story (I had a friend coming round and needed to get downstairs to tidy up), so I said I would make up a 'Mummy story' to tell them with the lights out and Middle's "Star Master" on (it's a little night-light that projects stars onto the walls). Thinking I'd keep it short., I made up a story about two boys who went camping and had a gentle adventure (the tent blew away and landed on a cow) before going home for hot chocolate. It's not something we usually do, so I thought it was particularly cute when they both broke into spontaneous applause at the end of the story! My 'problem' came when Middle asked oh-so-sweetly, "can I have my turn now please?". I ask you, what mother with half a heart could have refused? Well - maybe one with more resolve than me, but I'd far rather invent stories with my children than tidy up (it was a good friend and fellow mother coming: I knew she'd turn a blind eye to the mess). Anyway, Middle started his story quite differently, with the Mummy in the story having three babies who all 'popped out' one after the other... (that features in many of his stories)... and then they all went camping - and the rest of the story was very similar to mine, wth a few embellishments, such as the tent landing on several animals. Youngest was absolutely silent during both stories - surely, I thought, it was too much to hope that he might have fallen asleep... but no, when Middle finished (to our applause), he asked for his turn. Again, his story was very similar to mine, except for the introduction of a 'normous' storm that crashed the neighbour's house down! (I'm still trying to work out where he got that bit from) - and instead of going home for hot chocolate, they went home for ham and sausages (he's such a carnivore - he gets it from his Daddy!). I can't describe what an absolutely lovely and special time it was with my two younger boys. I don't want to overcook it by planning to do it more regularly - but I do hope it happens again!
This morning we checked in on our caterpillars (as mentioned in Nature Projects) - they're fairly still most of the time so it's difficult to tell, but we think we may have a corpse as one is not growing at the same rate as the others! (not surprising really - they tried to deliver on Saturday while we were out so took them back to the depot for the rest of the weekend... we didn't open the parcel until Monday!). We've also had MathsWhizz (Eldest) and Reading Eggs (Middle and Youngest), and played zoos with Duplo - plus Eldest made a life-size model of himself lying on his bedroom floor - he was extremely pleased with himself when our lodger did a genuine double-take on her way past & told him she thought he'd been vaporised ;)
Middle found the craft box, and grinned happily when I said yes he could make something. He had a lovely time rootling around in it, and then found some 'animal pattern' card that I'd picked up in some sale a while ago - he made a sparkly snake and a 'cheetah-ghost'! When Eldest saw what he was doing he quickly got inspired and made his own lizard-complete-with-habitat :)
This afternoon we went to Ivel Springs (near Baldock), for a gentle stroll and bug hunt with some other Home Ed friends. I'd bought the boys some little bug viewers with cords that they can wear around their necks as I was getting a bit fed up of them losing them bug catchers, magnifying glasses etc, and this seemed like a good solution - it worked well and we had a really lovely walk, seeing lots of bugs: ladybirds, ants (Youngest was especially pleased to catch a fast-moving ant in his pot!), snails, honey bees, a red admiral butterfly, as well as some that we hadn't ever seen before - small green iridescent beetles and little striped crickets... we're still trying to ID them, but it's not easy! An utterly lovely way to spend an afternoon though. As we watched the chidren running happily through the long meadow-grass, my friend turned to me and said, "that's childhood!" - and she was right. Opportunities like these are just the best :)
PS If you're interested in having a look, I've just updated the Royalty and Pottery post to include the boys' finished articles which they got back yesterday :)