Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Volcano!

It occurred to me over this particular half term holiday that just occasionally teachers are perhaps having a bit of a giggle when they set work for their students to do in the holidays. Possibly they intend for parents and siblings to be slaving away at a task set, while they go off on their hols, knowing that when they come back they will be presented with work that is clearly the rest of a whole family's efforts!

Last week, daughter number two, child number three was on half term. She informed us that her Geography homework for half term was to make a volcano with special effects. A volcano? I asked. And how are you going to do that? Oh it's easy she said, I'll get some plaster, bandage and some chicken wire and make a model like we did in Year 5. Well to be fair, she did make a good model in year 5, so good that one of our friends "commissioned" her to make one for them. Hubby and I were very impresed. We wondered momentarity if we could create a little cottage industry to help pay huge mortgage on huge house for huge family. But time passed and with it went the idea of child slave industry, along with many other good ideas.

However she did still have the knowledge to make a volcano, which, in the half term holiday of year 8 could prove to be very useful. Or so we thought.....

It meant a trip into Gloucester to buy materials, which one way or the other by the third day of half term still hadn't happened. So we gave her a bus fair and a lift to friend's house to accompany her on trip to Gloucester. Day one went by, and towards the end of that she phoned, said that they wouldn't be going to Gloucester today and could she stay at friend's house and go into Gloucester the next day.

Next day she arrived home, in tired sleepover mode, but with no materials. They had got to Gloucester, but not as far as the shop that sold the right craft stuff. Never mind she said. I'll do it with papier mache! Great, I thought later when we had wallpaper paste and newspaper all over the kitchen. The volcano started to emerge. Everyone put in their penny's worth and gradually with some lentils here, some stuffing, recently removed from toy by puppy, there, some orange peel on the front and masses of brown paint it was finished. The only problem was that it looked not like something that the dog had been playing with, but more like something the dog had done, and there didn't seem to be much in the way of special effects either. We had all failed dismally on that one . Suddenly I had a brainwave. Why don't you make a cake? Then you can take both in, look like a proper girly swot and the special effect can be that it can be eaten!

The next day daughter number two's friend came to visit. So they spent much of that day creating a cake suitable for a volcano. Then with a bit of intervention from the kitchen maid (me) we moulded it into volcano shape using much butter icing and a ton of chocolate. Eldest daughter then made disgusting looking orange icing for the lava, and hubby placed a candle in the middle, and hooray, we had a volcano - good enough to eat.

We then had the joyous task of working out how exactly she was going to get in on the bus with not one but two volcanos. That took a huge amount of discussion but, she managed, somehow, and amazingly came back with an "A" for all of us, and a promise to put the non edible one on display.

Clearly the teacher doesn't have a dog!

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