Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Tis the season to be jolly....

Seeing as it's been ages since I posted, the assumption might be that we've been really busy and I've got loads to write about. Hmm...let me think about that...

Well there was the paper making session...

At one point it looked like the result of our dog encountering a cardboard loo roll (i.e. a sort of brown messy pulp). However, surprisingly the sheets did look good when we finished. Why have I never tried paper making with the kids before? Probably because it seemed like a pointless activity: you tear up paper into small pieces and squish them to make a sheet of paper smaller than the one you started with. Now where's the logic in that?
Of course there is a bit more activity in between, like the pulped up loo roll tube bit and the sieving and squashing bit, but I couldn't quite bring myself to start something that seemed so - well - un-life-enhancing. Am I converted? Well the results were good (if a bit inflexible once they'd dried on my radiators at home), and if I had a lot of time on my hands it would certainly help to fill it, but I have to confess that it still seems like a lot of effort for a sheet of paper.
The pulpy paper bit (with some berries and leaves thrown in). The colour came from blue and yellow envelopes that were also torn up and thrown in.

The sieving squishing bit
The finished pieces of paper left to dry out

And then there was the Christmas wreath making session today. Actually it was mostly me who made the wreaths (ds2 did make one), but I like them. It's handy having access to willow. I'm trying to find 101 uses for willow (there's alot at the sailing club). So far in our home education adventure it's been wigwams, mini-canoes, lanterns and wreaths. Was thinking today though that I could use them to support polythene cloches in the garden and on the allotment. Then I stopped thinking because it reminded me that I haven't been to the allotment for around a month and I'm feeling guilty. Not that anything much will be growing at this time of year, just that it's niggling at the back of my mind that I'm neglecting it and that come next Spring it will all be madness again and the weed police will be patrolling...

Christmas wreaths made from twisted willow. For some reason the photo has pasted itself the wrong way around (?)

The music session seems to be going ok at the local montessori school. If I ask ds1 what they do in their session he says something uninspiring like 'we make noise', to which I usually reply something threatening like 'you'd better be making more than noise for the amount of money it's costing me to send you there'. Non-coercive parenting...nice idea, haven't quite got the knack yet.

I went to an NLP workshop a few weekends ago. It was an introduction to NLP - if you want to know what NLP is then it's probably best to google it cos I'm not sure I know either! It was quite interesting as we focused on communication and how to create rapport with someone even if you didn't agree with what they were saying. We also tackled something that seemed like 'reframing' unpleasant events (well that's how me and my peers would refer to it as) so that you don't keep replaying them over and over again.

I don't think I'm quite NLP calibre yet. Personally I quite like a good argument (I'm too old and intolerant to want to strike up rapport with someone I didn't like) and as for reframing events...don't think I'm quite there yet. The woman running the course would have made a good subject for people watching, but I found her quite scary. Not in the conventional 'scary', but just because NLP can be used as a good tool for manipulating people it made me wonder how much she was manipulating all us poor workshop attendees. If she was striking up rapport with me then it obviously went straight over my head, cos she gave me the creeps...

Anyway, this is Wikipedia's definition of Rapport:

Rapport is one of the most important features or characteristics of unconscious human interaction. It is commonality of perspective, being in "sync", being on the same "wavelength" as the person with whom you are talking.
There are a number of techniques that are supposed to be beneficial in building rapport such as: matching your body language (ie, posture, gesture, and so forth); maintaining eye contact; and matching breathing rhythm. Some of these techniques are explored in neuro-linguistic programming.
A classic if unusual example of rapport can be found in the book Uncommon Therapy by Jay Haley (ISBN 0-393-31031-0), about the psychotherapeutic intervention techniques of Milton Erickson. Erickson developed the ability to enter the world view of his patients and, from that vantage point (having established rapport), he was able to make extremely effective interventions (to help his patients overcome life problems).
Informally, rapport can also refer to a feeling of harmonious connection between people or groups of people.

I think I'm peaking a little too early for Christmas yet again. Did I do this last year? Perhaps I should check my blog. So we've put the Christmas tree up already. In fact it went up on the 1st December: I suppose I could say it was the kids who couldn't wait any longer, but actually it was me. I've done most of my Christmas shopping and most of the wrapping too (apart from the few items I'm still waiting for to arrive). I'm really getting the hang of this internet shopping lark. And did I tell you that I've bought a Wii? Can't play with it much yet as it's meant to be for Christmas (shhh don't tell the kids, they don't know!).

Bought a bike for dd1 off Ebay last week. It's purple. Ok so she wanted a pink one (with tassles and a doll seat on the back for her soft toy dogs), but I couldn't stomach going out with a fluorescent sickly pink tassly thing with Barbie printed all over it. Hopefully she'll like this one. Tough if she doesn't. I just have to buy a pink basket for it (she wants the one in the bike shop with kittens on the front) and hopefully it'll make her happy on Christmas day.

It's definitely winter! This is a sheet of ice!

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