Thursday, 12 June 2008

Parachutes, Bubbles and Grand Ideas

Making parachutes

We spent most of today at our local home ed group. The boys made a couple of parachutes though ds1 turned his into a jellyfish instead (somehow he always has different ideas to everyone else). He seems to have developed an interest in jellyfish since he saw something on tv about a robotic jellyfish and other robotic creatures that had been created by some company.

The Jellyfish!

Lopsided piggy backs!

On the subject of parachutes I've been meaning to make one a bit like this:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Umbrella-Parachutes/
I had the idea first (naah naah nanaa nah) as we salvaged an umbrella from a bin ages ago and and kept the material for use as a parachute. Umbrella material is the perfect shape and needs minimal work to make it into a pretty decent parachute, but yeah, it was one of those things we never actually got around to doing. Probably still got the material in one of the junk boxes that is teetering on top of our filing cabinet. We tend to salvage lots of things from bins, skips, swap shops and my kids even pick stuff up off the pavement if they think it looks interesting. No wonder my house is so full of stuff! But I like to think that's why my guys are so creative - all that mess and stuff enables their creativity to flow freely {g}

After the parachutes all 3 children played with making some giant bubbles out of coathanger bubble 'wands', not quite managing to make any bubbles but producing some impressive looking bubble 'tubes'. I took some photos which I'll upload later, just as soon as I can get to my laptop.

video

Making bubbles

As usual the children spent much of their time running around outside across the field, splashing in puddles (there had been a tremendous downpour just before we arrived) and digging around in the mud and grit. Sometimes I wonder why I pay to come to the group when all they want to do is play outside (hey, we could do that at home guys and it would be a lot cheaper!). I have to give them credit this time though as they did participate in a few of the structured things (art and geography). Of course ds1 was firmly rooted inside when there was trade for his tuck shop. He's recently started it up again and it seems to be popular. I'm acutely aware that parents wont want their kids buying junk food, so we try and have a few healthy options, or not-quite-so-unhealthy options available. Once he tried selling healthy cereal bars, but they weren't popular at all - it's almost always the Haribo and Mars Bars that sell!

Ds1 and his tuck shop

After the home ed group we trundled off to a park with some other families and the kids wore themselves out playing in the playground, which is a lovely place and so much better than our small local ones. The dogs were also worn out - Jack had been chasing his doggy playmates at the home ed group and then once again all around the park, so when I left to go to work this evening he was totally flat out like a rug and could hardly keep his doggy eyes open! Even the bits of popadom dropped from the dinner table hardly provoked a response :)

We spent some time in the park discussing ideas for home ed things to do and talked about the prospect of setting up something at a village hall, perhaps a science day as a one-off starter. And then there's still the matter of the full-size raft we'd planned to make and sail. We need to find somewhere good for a launch and, of course, some good building materials to make it out of. There's also the idea for doing something at the local scrapstore - a scrap day of some kind - an idea which has fallen by the wayside over the past couple of months. So many ideas! All we need is the energy and momentum to put them into action!

Ds1 doing his brotherly duties at the park - 'Higher! Higher!'

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Yesterday I found an interesting article on the web while I was looking for something else. It's written about the US, though I guess much of what it says could be applied to the UK too. I'm not sure what I can say about it. It made me feel a little uneasy, perhaps because there's some truth in it, or perhaps because I'm in denial about how much I've got sucked into 'Kindergarchy'. Either way it's interesting as a social comment.

When I think of parenting in the 70s and 80s, the main purpose of a parent was to attend to the children's basic needs - i.e. feed and clothe them - to ensure that they were always fat enough and clean enough that the neighbours wouldn't think you were totally neglecting your kids! Parents weren't held responsible for their child's entire emotional, academic, spiritual and physical wellbeing and future happiness and acceptance in society - their job was to keep them alive! My parents generation would have considered consulting their children about where to go on holiday or which after-school activity class they would like to attend ridiculous. Holidays were for parents and kids tagged along. And after-school activities were limited to ballet (if you were rich) or Brownies/Guides/Scouts if you weren't!

I've put the link below but can't get it to go on one line, so it might need a bit of tweaking to get it to work
http://www.weeklystandard.com/Utilities/printer_preview.asp?idArticle=15161&R=13A93125C3


The article starts:

"In America we are currently living in a Kindergarchy, under rule by children. People who are raising, or have recently raised, or have even been around children a fair amount in recent years will, I think, immediately sense what I have in mind. Children have gone from background to foreground figures in domestic life, with more and more attention centered on them, their upbringing, their small accomplishments, their right relationship with parents and grandparents. For the past 30 years at least, we have been lavishing vast expense and anxiety on our children in ways that are unprecedented in American and in perhaps any other national life.Such has been the weight of all this concern about children that it has exercised a subtle but pervasive tyranny of its own. This is whatI call Kindergarchy: dreary, boring, sadly misguided Kindergarchy..."

video

1 comment:

Shirl said...

What a great idea turning the parachute into a jellyfish.

I think a lot of parents STILL think that to be a good parent is just to feed and clothe your children! My view may be too simplistic, but I am conscious that today's living becomes tomorrow's memories for you and your children.