Monday, 2 June 2008

Bracknell Forest and Blue Peter Badge

[this was edited March 2009 to add a title to the blog entry]
Been a few days since I've written on the blog (explanation later), but we had a lovely time celebrating dh's birthday on Saturday at Bracknell Forest. The kids spent quite a bit of time playing in the fantastic playgrounds, running around with sticks, climbing up the wooden fort etc. We probably could have spent all day outside doing just this (for free), but I bought some tickets for the 'Look-Out centre' - a hands-on science centre that far excels anything we have locally.

Trying out the drum machine

Demonstrating on the drums, before being pulled off by his brother!

(Sorry, video is wrong way around!)

I even splashed out and bought them tickets to the 'Spies' science show that was put on at regular intervals, though I did have regrets about this afterwards as we all found it rather disappointing. I suppose having 2 scientists for parents everything aimed at my kids' age group is a bit dumbed-down for them. It did do one thing for me though, I left the show freshly inspired that even a wallflower like me could do a better job (momentary feeling of smugness and confidence) and with ambitions for future job-hunting... Plus it gave the kids the idea that setting fire to baking powder was a good idea. Do I want to encourage that? I'm not sure.

Change the pitch of your voice

The Castle fort in the playground

Chilling out!

Stopped on the way home for a pizza which was lovely.

Sadly not so lovely at 3am. I suppose it's a sign of our financial situation when I'm more concerned about how much the pizza cost that I'm throwing up - and what a waste of money it was - than the fact that I feel dreadful. By 6am I had visions of one of the Italian chefs doing something really nasty to my pizza to get back at dh for trying to teach the kids Italian in a very loud voice in the restaurant (he can't speak Italian), but that was probably just a moment of paranoia {g}.

So, Sunday was a washout and I spent all day in bed feeling lousy. Thankfully dh took the initiative and got the kids out with their bikes to the park, something I've been promising them for ages, but with the 'bad back' situation haven't been able to. Actually I think dh was avoiding having to 'nurse' me (not something either of us are good at) and probably felt that taking 3 boisterous kids out for the afternoon was a preferable option!

Still feeling washed out today which hasn't made it a great day for home educating. ds1 finally finished typing out his Blue Peter badge application after some gentle nagging by me. The words 'blood' and 'stone' come to mind lol, but at least it's done now and ready to post tomorrow. Sometimes I try and visualise him in a typical school setting and wonder how any teacher would cope with a child who can take an hour to write a single sentence. Bless him. The school system must be full of lots of square pegs trying to fit into round holes. The only holes we have here are the ones that ds1 keeps chewing in the top of his t-shirts and the black hole that all the odd socks disappear into, oh and the hole that should be there if I ever get around to clearing all that clutter that I keep promising to. That's enough holes for one household.


Recently I've been revising my thoughts about our home education and wondering how I can possibly meet the needs of 3 very different children. How do other home educators manage? I'm not sure if they ever do. Of course school is always an option lurking in the background, but still very much a last resort, however many times I threaten the kids with it {g}.

There are a couple of village schools we could check out, and I suppose there is always the possibility that they might be so desperate for pupils that they would consider a flexi-school arrangement, so I like to keep this as my emergency plan for when things get really bad. Plan B or C or even a bit further down the alphabet, around S.

Of course my children have been out of school for so long now that I'm not sure how easy it would be for them to integrate into the system. Or perhaps it's me who would find it difficult to integrate back into the system. Just the thought of being told what to put in their lunchbox each day or told what colour socks to dress the kids in could potentially put me into a very challenging mood! Could I wash school uniforms and sew on all those name labels in without some feeling of resentment? Could I conform and let someone else tell my children what to do? Methinks not!

Our education has mostly been ruled by the learning style and needs of ds1. I guess this happens with most home educating families, the eldest child dictates the path we take.When I 'offload' to friends who have kids at school, their automatic solution to everything, to every problem, is for me to put the kids into school. But again and again when I look at this I realise it wouldn't solve anything, all it would do is exchange one set of problems for another.

So school is out of the question right now. And with ds1 only a few years off secondary schooling, I can't see any change of decision then. Secondary schooling around here is an even more scary prospect. Would I willingly and knowingly feed my kids to the lions? Daft question really.

So we have to decide how to move forward. How to meet their needs, so that each of them gets the best chances to develop their talents. I'm still trying to work out how that can be done.


Philippa said...

We used to spend a lot of time in Bracknell Forest and regularly get lost there. The Look Out is great. Not too expensive either which is good. I love that the car park and play area are free as well!
Your pictures bring back happy memories!

Big mamma frog said...

Yes it's such a fantastic place. We haven't been there for ages and then something suddenly made me think of it again. Mind you, we did get lost on the way and then stuck in the half-term 'Legoland' traffic, so the journey there was rather more tortuous than it should have been lol! I'd forgotten what good value for money the Look Out centre is and was almost tempted to get a season ticket for the family before my sensible 'budget head' got control. Might be a nice thing to put on our family Christmas list this year though. Ok, ok, so it's a long time away, nothing wrong in planning ahead...