Wednesday, 30 December 2009
Wednesday, 23 December 2009
I found the piece below on the website Pioneer Women .
Just a note to us Brits, I know it uses the terms, 'Homeschooling' rather than 'home education', and unschooling' rather than 'autonomous education', and yes 'mom' instead of 'mum' (for some reason that's the most annoying). BUT it says pretty much what I would have said, if I ever got away from cleaning the toilet (or should that be restroom?) and got around to saying it. By-the-way, the home educator writing the piece refers to herself in the third person as 'Mrs G', just in case you were a bit confused.
"If Mrs. G. had to describe herself under the current homeschooling labels she would have to say she is an unschooler who makes her kids do math whether they want to or not. Mrs. G. felt her main job was making sure their house was filled to the brim with good books (hello garage sales and Goodwill) on all kinds of subjects, helping her kids identify their passions and figure out how to explore them on a budget, teaching them life skills at an early age so that they understood the concept of teamwork and that Mrs. G. was not a maid or servant or ATM machine. And loving them.
Mrs. G’s highly subjective opinions regarding homeschooling small fry:
* Homeschooling isn’t for everyone—if it doesn’t appeal to you, don’t do it, because it will probably not go well. It is a huge responsibility and, like all things, there are peaks and valleys. At least three times a year, Mrs. G. accosts Mr. G. at the door and tells him that she is driving the kids to school the very next day, because she can’t take it anymore and she is ruining the kids and their futures, and she is just over it. And what does it take to get some time alone around here. And then she goes somewhere by herself for a few hours and recovers. Take homeschooling on a year-by-year basis. If Mrs. G’s kids had expressed a genuine interest in public school, she would have let them go in a second. Mrs. G. is all about choices.
* Most beginning homeschoolers, in their enthusiasm, bite off more than they can chew and try to do too much which leads to burnout for everyone. For the first five grades Mrs. G. focused on reading to her kids, having them read to her and learning the basics of elementary math. All other subjects like science and history were explored through good books or books on tape, good PBS shows, good magazines, good cooking, good yard work, good playing and good cleaning of bathrooms.
* It makes a huge difference to be part of a like-minded homeschool group or homeschool co-op. Mrs. G’s kids have taken many classes on things that are more difficult to do at home—foreign language, drama, singing, dancing and band. Mrs. G. has done a lot of bartering for lessons and classes. Her kids have participated in parent partnership programs in the public school system. They have volunteered at food banks and the humane society; there are so many community resources out there. You just have to look around and talk to other homeschooling moms.
* Don’t buy the whole socialization issue—Mrs. G. had to put the brakes on some social activities, because she was spending too much time in the car. Of all the BS homeschooling myths out there, Mrs. G. thinks this is the lamest. Also, all children are gifted, so try not to get caught up in that whole homeschool genius thing.
* Don’t rush out and spend a ton of money on a full curriculum—one size rarely fits all and many kids find them painfully boring.
* A child’s main job should be to play. Encourage playing alone—a most excellent result of occasional boredom and not being over-scheduled.
* If you are unable to stick to a schedule, you are probably doing things right.
* Learning takes place all of the time. And it is shocking how much younger siblings absorb as you read or discuss things with your older child. Mrs. G. didn’t know her son could read until he asked what “employees only” meant, and she realized he was reading off doors. He was an early reader; Mrs. G’s daughter was not.
*Follow your own instincts and take all advice with a grain of salt (even Mrs. G’s!) No one knows your kid better than you do. "
Tuesday, 22 December 2009
I can't believe my little boy is 11!
Monday, 21 December 2009
It's very cute. Cute that he's playing at being older than he is. Testing it out without having to live it. Yet. But it does make me realise how fast my just-11 year old is growing up and how soon things around us will all be changing. We are on the edge of unknown territory and I'm so hoping that the path over the cliff edge is gentle and with a mild gradient!
At the home ed group on Thursday some of the children put on a Christmas play. Not my children though. Public performance and my children don't tend to mix. Not that I haven't tried...you know, encouragement, gentle persuasion, bribery, and-er-shoving to the front of the stage, stapling their feet to the floor and running away. (Yes even attempts at Pushy Mum persona have been to no avail).
I sometimes wonder how many plays and performances I have sat through that included other people's children, (but not mine). Ds1 sobbed and screamed through 4 years worth of nativity plays at nursery, finally managing to get on stage in his 5th year as a king, (chucking his present at the baby Jesus and legging it as fast as he could off the stage!). Ds2 managed to briefly trudge across the stage as a Gruffalo one year at the Christmas preschoool play, but his first was also to be his last performance. And dd? Well she refused to even entertain the thought of being in a Christmas play. And having the wisdom of a tired mother of 3 I didn't try to persuade her otherwise.
So there I was on Thursday, yet again watching other people's children performing in a play. It would be rude not to watch of course, but without sounding uncharitable I'd much rather watch my own children doing something. Wouldn't you? Another parent in a similar predicament tried to reassure me. 'Well there's a distinct lack of my children up there too,' she said. And then we consoled ourselves with the thought that at least our children hadn't disrupted the play. No, they'd actually been quiet, hadn't wrestled each other to the floor, walked in front of the cast, made rude noises or shouted. We have such low expectations, but, you know, sometimes you just have to give praise where praise is due (and hang on to the small blessings because there aint any big ones coming soon :) )
At the same home ed group we made some Christmas garlands. Dd threaded some popcorn. Well, to be acurate, she supervised me threading popcorn...sometimes I wonder if I have 'slave' tattooed in invisible ink on my forehead (only visible by children). Anyway, back to popcorn string; I was just thinking it would be a nice addition to our Christmas tree, then I turned my back for a minute. When I turned around I saw...
I mean the snow! Yes snow! Ok, I know it's only a little snow. But it's still snow.
And here are our chucks wondering what all that cold white stuff is (the smaller one at the front is the 'chick' we hatched this year)
So just a little sprinkling of snow. Most of it melted, but a few patches remained, turned icy and hazardous and then topped themselves up with some soggy sleet today. So it's slippy out, but not really snowman material yet. It's funny to have snow so near to Christmas, unusual, kinda nice, in an unexpected way.
So are you all ready for Christmas?
I tackled Tescos today and it was manic, frenzied. 'But there's still 4 days to go yet!' I wailed (not out loud you understand, because then they'd find out the truth about me). I had to stock up on some birthday tea items for ds1 tomorrow and thought I'd get most of the Christmas food at the same time. Big spend. And it's only us to feed. How does that happen? Ah well, at least we'll be able to live on wine and crisps for the next 10 days. A balanced diet.
Friday, 18 December 2009
Dd1 has been doing more modelling at a home ed group. Creating scenery for warhammer, or - in his usual entrepreneurial way- making parts for the other kids scenes and then selling them to them!
Friday, 4 December 2009
Thursday, 3 December 2009
Well, Advent Calendars up. Kids offered to fill them with chocolate coins. I noticed that dd has stuffed several of her pockets with more than one coin...I wonder how long it will take for the boys to cotton on to this. Got the kids' Christmas trees down from the loft (a couple of years ago I bought them little ones for their room for some strange reason which I've now forgotten). I'm yet to get the rest of the decorations out of the loft. Perhaps that's because I don't feel quite ready yet: I like the house to be at least part tidy and decluttered before it has the optical overload of tinsel, lights and streamers.
I've wrapped some presents. Still a fair few to go. Best to do these things in short bursts. I still have a few things to buy/make, but getting there. I'm knitting hats at the moment, hoping to do the kids two each (different colours), which I will sew together to make one single thick reversible hat. Well that's the theory. I'm using double thickness of some skinny-but-nice wool from our local scrapstore (I think it's Rowan, so yes, it's nice) and a pattern for hats knitted with chunky wool. Well with different thickness yarn and pattern the sizing is a bit hit-and-miss, but hey, the good thing about wolly hats is that they stretch! So one hat finished (sort of blue-grey with coloured flecks in it) and one on the needles (green with coloured flecks). Deadline approaching.
And I' ve made a load of candles. Well dd and I have made candles. They do look quite cool. Now I just need to persuade the boys to sew some material gift bags together for me to pop them in.
All in all, not bad in the preparation department.
Will post up some photos soon.
p.s. just found a wonderful blog with a fab idea for making pixie hats, really simple and quick. Look here for instructions :http://mamauktalesfromwales.blogspot.com/2009/02/10-minute-pixie-hat.html
with more pictures in this post: http://mamauktalesfromwales.blogspot.com/2009/12/pot-spills-over-plus-giveaway.html
Now how's about that for a Christmas present!
Not sure my mum and dad would wear one (or even the kids), but they look so fab I might make myself one!
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
For the past 3 weeks the kids have been nagging me to get the advent calendars up, and yes, in true form, the advent calendars are still in the loft. Well, except for the one that needs mending which is still in the pile in my bedroom, awaiting repair.
Long ago when ds1 was little I protested about buying advent calendars each year and instead purchased material calendars with little pockets that I fill with little chocolate coins. In my day of course, we didn't have anything as luxurious as chocolate coins inside our advent calendars and had to settle with being excited about opening a cardboard door to see a little picture inside. You know the thing, robins, angels, a piece of holly, something weird that might or might not have been a donkey. And there was always a baby Jesus in a manger behind no.24 door (yawn). Often we would peek at days that we weren't meant to have opened and then try and close the door again so noone would notice. Sometimes we would peek at each others and then moan because the other sibling had a better picture in no.17 (or something similar). We even kept advent calendars from one year to the next, so we'd have the excitement of seeing all the same pictures again...and again...and again...until the cardboard doors fell off. You have to understand that we lived in a small village in the country and there wasn't a huge amount of entertainment :)
But this is now a fast-paced world, where even my kids (and I) have succumbed to the wonders of the computer, digital tv, the Wii and nintendo ds. For the past 2 years I've done pretty much all my Christmas shopping on the internet now. Mind you, if you've ever tried doing 'secret' Christmas shopping in a busy shop with 3 children in tow, then you'll understand the temptation of the internet (oh the strained life of a home educator - without the luxury of free nationally-sponsored child care) . Not to mention how much easier it is to compare prices online (remember the days when we actually had to visit all those high street shops to compare the prices of what we wanted to buy??).
But does this internet shopping save me money? Well yes. And no. Mostly no. I mean, there's almost TOO much choice when I look online. And then when I visit sites such as the fabulous http://www.hotukdeals.com/ and see all those bargains and vouchers, well, in the end I probably spend just as much, if not more. But at least I can do it without small child pulling on my sleeve, or begging for sweets, or pushing ALL the buttons on ALL the electronic toys in the aisle, or decided to rampage through the photo booth and climb on the Thomas the Tank engine toddler ride (and that's just my 10 yr old!).
Now where was I? Oh yes, Christmas.
I think I need to summon up the energy to put decorations up. Normally I've peaked by now and am well up for a bit of tinsel and baubles, but winter drabness has settled in with its usual symptoms.
And it's probably not helped by me being here at work, where their idea of decorating for Christmas is to hang some old CDs ('Index to Legal Periodicals' in case you wanted to know) in front of my desk on skinny red plastic ribbons. Every now and then I get the irresistable urge to blow at them and send them waving around...ok, I confess, I'm actually attempting to tangle them, but with no success so far. Oh, and there's also a poor scrawny artificial tree that has been drowned in those little tinsel strips and some depressed-looking baubles. Is it possible for baubles to look depressed? Trust me, yes.
Anyway, soon I'll be home and perhaps I might even get around to mending that advent calendar...
Thursday, 26 November 2009
Ds2 finally finished his James Watt steam engine. If you look closely you'll see that it's held together with double sided tape and pins and a few (non-religious) prayers.
Now we just have the Viking settlement and medieval town to start (remind me not to buy any more of these cut out cardboard kits in future...arghhh!)Dd1 has been making loads of films on his camera and creating all sorts of interesting items for his warhammer scenery (most of which are part assembled on my conservatory table...). He doesn't really play warhammer, but likes making the scenery.
And ds2 showing off his natural ability with technology again, while his mother disappears down the other end of the hall and feigns complete ignorance...well actually I didn't need to feign it :)
Thursday, 5 November 2009
here for more)
"During the review process, Home Educators have obviously been very interested in finding out what professional interests Mr Badman holds, especially given that we have been told time and again that he, and therefore his review, are *independent*. Many home educators were surprised to find that an independent review into Home Education could be carried out by a former teacher, former head of children's services, and current chair of BECTA. Whilst looking into Mr Badman's professional interests, it was discovered that he was listed as the director of an Education Management company by the name of Nektus..."
Back From The Dead: Man Attends Own Funeral
A bricklayer who was thought to have been killed in a car crash shocked his grieving family by showing up alive at his own funeral.
Relatives of Brazilian Ademir Jorge Goncalves, 59, had identified him as the victim of a Sunday night car crash in the southern state of Parana, police said.
As is customary there, the funeral was held the following day, which happened to be the holiday of Finados, when Brazilians visit cemeteries to honour the dead.
What family members did not know was that Mr Goncalves had spent the night at a lorry park talking to friends over drinks of a sugarcane liquor known as cachaca, his niece Rosa Sampaio revealed later.
He did not get word about his own funeral until it was already happening Monday morning.
The bricklayer then rushed to the funeral to let family members know he was not dead, a police spokesman in the town of Santo Antonio da Platina said.
"The corpse was badly disfigured, but dressed in similar clothing," said the police spokesman.
"People are afraid to look for very long when they identify bodies, and I think that is what happened in this case."
Mr Goncalves' niece added that some family members were not sure the body was that of the bricklayer.
"My two uncles and I had doubts about the identification," she said.
"But an aunt and four of his friends identified the body, so what were we to do? We went ahead with the funeral."
The body was correctly identified later Monday, the police spokesman said, and has already been buried in another state.
Sunday, 25 October 2009
In fact the term 'home education' is a bit of a misnomer; many HE children spend a large proportion of their time out of the home: learning in the community, mixing with people of all ages. How easy is it to cram in a social life if you are restricted to 15 minutes playtime at school, or in the hour squeezed between getting home from school/homework and tea-time/bedtime?
The schools around here are currently on half term, so we are trying to arrange playdates with my children's friends who are school children; many of the school kids are booked up all week, trying to meet all these friends that they share a classroom with, but never actually get a chance to play with. And people think that home educated children have limited socialisation..?
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
We didn't do a craft activity, we did a science observation
wait for it...
We watched a saucepan of water boil!
What's that got to do with change? Well, changing states of water, of course!
Ok, so we pinched the idea from someone else. The video is here with all the scientific explanations (Hopefully you'll be able to access it through my link)
There aren't really any written instructions for our unplugged project because, well, it's as simple as watching a pot boil. Try it out, but check out the happy scientist's explanations.
And do you know what we learnt? Well we learnt
a) what we call steam isn't steam at all
b) that those little bubbles that first cling to the bottom of the pan aren't a sign of the water boiling, they are gases coming out of solution
c)why the bubbles pop really quickly when the water is just starting to boil.
d) and that our saucepan handle conducts heat (ow!)
Go watch a saucepan of water boil!
[If you haven't done so I would seriously recommend going to www.thehappyscientist.com website and registering to recieve their email newsletter which gives an experiment a week for free (or for 20$ - approx £12 - a year you can have access to all the videos and stock of science experiments on the website).]
And here are some videos about the changing states of watering water.
First The Water Cycle song:
And what about this one?
And here, my kids' all-time-favourite:
And this one, showing what happens when you throw boiling water into the air in Saskatchewan during a typical mid-winter, -40c day (wouldn't recommend it for a grey day in England!)
Today we made a version of the bottle game inspired by this blog post here It took a few attempts to get it right. I think the string needs to be fairly slippy and not too long. We used curtain rings and reels of sellotape as handles.
If sibling arguing was an olympic sport then my kids would get a gold (I love the way ds1 flinches at the end in anticiaption of the kick/hit he might receive):
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
Maybe next week...the theme for the unplugged project is 'Change'. Mmm...that's a tricky one, but I suspect that http://www.thehappyscientist.com/ might have a few good suggestions.
[*all 3 have been ill with temperatures and colds etc]
And today we finally got to buy ds2 some boots. So he's been clomping around the house in these huge black walking boots all evening. I have no idea if they actually fit him because they are so rigid I can't even feel his foot in them. But he's not yelping...so that's positive, isn't it?
What is it about new shoes that is just so magical. Isn't it the best feeling in the world to have a new pair of shoes? It's that Paolo Nutini feeling, isn't it?
So...the Badman consultation, the latest one, is now closed. Over 5000 responses. Don't suppose the government will take a blind bit of notice, but maybe at least for a short while we can get back to actually home educating our kids. I am so sick of the whole thing...urrghhh...it's been exhausting.
Sunday, 18 October 2009
What do you make of these sorts of places?
My heart sunk as soon as we arrived.
Maybe it's just me, but I find these places really unsettling...on the stomach. People walking around with their little designer paper bags with string handles to show off which designer outlet they've just been to; shops that are more interested in fancy lettering and strange lighting than actually stocking anything; shops that just sell sunglasses, or white things, or suitcases, and prices that are just way OTT. Seeing customers contemplating whether to spend that 80 quid on a Jimmy Choo handbag , or 100 quid on a mac in Helly Hansen (these are DISCOUNTED prices remember!)...ooh it made my stomach turn. There were kids dressed up, identical little models of their consumer parents - designer outfits, handbags, shoes - with their little designer paper bags urgghh!
Maybe it's just a person's attitude towards money, the income they're used to, the pressure to keep up with the Jones's, or their family's relationship towards money when they were a kid. But me...well, I'm sure that even if I had the money to spend on an expensive handbag/pair of shoes/coat/white plate/cushion cover/pair of sunglasses, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. It would be be too obscene. Obscene, yes that's the word. It's not that I don't spend money on things when money really needs to be spent, but I really can't - couldn't - even contemplate spending so much money on - what? A pair of socks with a designer label? A floral teacosy? I just don't get it.
When I was pregnant with ds1 I went to stay with my sister to buy things for the baby. I was chuffed to little meatballs when I bought a silver cross pram with carrycot in a charity shop for £20. It had already been used for 3 children by the woman who donated it. My sister and I took it back to her bedsit, carried it up the stairs and between us we wiped it down and polished it. It lasted for another 2 children of mine, until I was given a lightweight buggy and passed the silver cross pram on to another family. Later when I had my second child I had friends who spent vast amounts of money (e.g. 50 quid on a changing bag!) on their baby. I'm not criticising these people...they have a right to spend their money on whatever they like...it's just when you've seen people who have nothing (I've travelled and I've seen people offer the only food in their house to me, a wealthy westerner, because I'm their guest), well...
So. A good thing came out of today. No, we didn't find any boots for ds2. BUT I was remindedthat although I'm bombarded with consumerist messages, and although I occasionally sucumb, splash out, blow some cash, spoil the kids etc, I remain a relatively sane human in an insane world.
And having watched the 3 Matrix films this week, I do wonder about how real this world is...lol.
I was an avid reader until I came to take exams in literature; I loved doing those exams, but pulling apart sentences and characters drove out any enjoyment I had of reading. The oppressive feeling of needing to strip down and analyse a book still niggles at the back of my mind 30+ years on. I love books and literature, but the feeling that I should only be reading worthy or current or classic 'works' never goes away, like some stern teacher looking over my shoulder...
Philip Pullman, Oxford Literary Festival in 2003
"What concerns me here is the relationship this sets up between child and book, between children and stories. Stories are written to beguile, to entertain, to amuse, to move, to enchant, to horrify, to delight, to anger, to make us wonder. They are not written so that we can make a fifty word summary of the whole plot, or find five synonyms for the descriptive words. That sort of thing would make you hate reading, and turn away from such a futile activity with disgust. In the words of Ruskin, it’s “slaves’ work, unredeemed.” Those who design this sort of thing seem to have completely forgotten the true purpose of literature, the everyday, humble, generous intention that lies behind every book, every story, every poem: to delight or to console, to help us enjoy life or endure it. That’s the true reason we should be giving books to children. The false reason is to make them analyse, review, comment and so on. But they have to do it – day in, day out, hour after hour, this wretched system nags and pesters and buzzes at them, like a great bluebottle laden with pestilence. And then all the children have to do a test; and that’s when things get worse. "
Saturday, 17 October 2009
All the best people have them.
They're the 'In Thing'.
Thursday, 15 October 2009
Mathematical contemplations of a woman who should know better than to extrapolate data from one experiment & apply it to a totally different situation
Perhaps it's just me, but I'm fascinated by the teacher-child relationship in the classroom, and equally fascinated to see this relationship in action during school trips out of the classroom.
So, to kill the 20 minutes time before the showing of the film, I suggested to ds1 and ds2 that we keep a tally of how many times the teachers said 'sshhh' and 'don't' and 'stop'. [Am I a bad home educating mother? Probably best not to go there.]
The two words 'don't' and 'stop'were only heard a couple of times. Hmm...that surprised me. (I had a pre-ordained idea of the outcome of the experiment). Perhaps it depends on the teacher or the age of the children: I've noticed at previous screenings that these words are more popular among teachers with older children (age 8+yrs); these kids were a tad younger.
And then I think we sussed why we weren't hearing these words; it was because the teachers (or one teacher in particular) were giving orders instead: 'sit down!', 'listen to me!' etc. As ds2 so beautifully pointed out 'It's as if they are talking to a dog!' [I had to stifle a few giggles at that point]
As for the number of times the teachers said 'sshhh'...well we did our tally on a scrap of paper[incidentally, despite yesterday's concerns about maths, this was a lovely mathematical moment demonstrating to ds2 how to do five-bar tally keeping and then count up in fives]. In the 15 minutes or so before the film, the teachers - in fact primarily ONE teacher - told the children to 'sshh' an amazing 34 times!!! 34 TIMES!!!
Now, I'm not saying I've never sshh'ed my children. I do it often. Probably more often than I would like. But I'm thinking that 34 times in 15 minutes, in a large, mostly empty, but noisy auditorium where there isn't actually any need for the children to be quiet, is really quite incredible. And it does make me wonder how often that teacher might need to say 'sshhh' in a classroom...
... So, using the above example, lets be generous and say that this particular teacher in school only says 'sshh' an average of 10 times every fifteen minutes, that's - er - 40 times an hour. A school day is roughly 9am - 3pm, let's say an hour for lunch, 1/2 hour for play (though that's being overgenerous and assumes teachers don't say sshh during break times) which leaves 4.5 hours of classroom time.
4.5 X 40 is 180.
Multiply that by 5 days gives us 900 .
So theoretically, unless a teacher is giving a really rivetting lesson and the kids are silently enthralled, a school child could potentially hear the word 'sshh' 900 times in a school week.
Anyway, on another topic altogether, its dd's birthday on Saturday, and her little birthday tea tomorrow. Apparently 'we' (the royal 'we'?) are making a dog cake with Tesco chocolate-flavoured log roll, smarties and chocolate rolls and lots of melted chocolate. I was just wondering how to do the tail while shovelling frozen pizza into bags at the Tescos checkout (as you do) when dd casually mentioned Kit Kats. Kit kats? I'm thinking that's just an excuse to go buy even more chocolate. Woman of little willpower has already eaten half a bar of the chocolate that will be used to cover the log roll and make it look 'dog-like'. [well...it was unguarded in the fridge] I suppose it could be a dog with mange...a bit of it's chocolate fur is missing. Ah well, if I cover it in enough smarties, I'm sure she wont notice.
Anyway, as usual, I have convinced myself that it is a bad idea for me to actually MAKE the cake. Decorating -yes. Making-No! As I frequently say to my children: ' You can either have a home-baked cake for your birthday...or you can have a nice mummy. The two are mutually exclusive.' Though to be fair, nice mummy left home at the point when I ended up with more kids than I have hands.
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
My intention is always to write a little each day. Something short, philosophical, whimsical, meaningful, or just plain funny. Why don't I? Well, you know how it is...places to go...people to see...and all that stuff. So I leave it for a few days...and then I have just TOO much to put into a blog post and I can't decide what to write which makes it even more difficult to write anything. You know, I always swore I WOULD NOT be one of those people who just posted up annotated photos of my kids doing things, on their blog. Hmmm...
So, here's another one of my jumbled blog posts dutifully titled 'catch-up'.
Recently my kids have been doing what some people term 'crafting'.
Last week dd and ds2 were doing 'simplified' patchwork at a local home ed group.When I say 'simplified' it was just that the patches were first ironed on to backing material using that bonding web stuff . This held them in place while dd could hand sew them in wonky blanket stitch. (Still, not bad for a nearly 6 year old who's never really sewed before).
ds2, on the other hand, took to the machine...
And the boys have been doing warhammer. Well not really warhammer, but making the scenery for warhammer. The other day they were sawing polystyrene chunks in the conservatory. Have you seen how far little flakes of polystyrene can travel around a house? Bit of a vacuum cleaner job that was...
Here's ds1 being creative:
You know those educational maths 'games' that you see in educational catalogues, and end up buying because, well it seems like a good idea at the time [especially when you are just starting out in home education and haven't quite got your head around the idea that home education has nothing to do with 'school at home']. And then the game ends up sitting on a shelf for years because it's designed to be used in a classroom and just doesn't really fit into anything you would do at home. Well here are my kids using one of those games this week:
It's a number bonds (to 10 or 20) version of dominoes (triangular pieces). In some ways it's a nice set - quite tactile and attractive. But as a game it's rubbish. Nobody wins. Ever. Ever ever ever.There is never a time when you can't use your tiles to complete your turn. So basically whoever goes first, completes the game first. [yawn]. And the only form of entertainment, as my kids have discovered, is to find out what weird animal shapes you can make with the tiles, or to bully your sibling into putting their tile in a particular place. That's not to say they didn't enjoy using them (they did, briefly, this once), but I just wonder what the people who design these sorts of things think about when they make them. I guess they're just thinking...'hmm what can we make that looks like a game, but is actually just another educational classroom tool and some teacher will think is a good idea.' Well I fell for it. Once.
We've been doing quite a bit of maths recently. Conventional workbook-type maths. It makes me feel glum that we approach maths from this angle. I wish I was more maths enthusiastic, seeing the joys of maths in everyday activities [if I had a penny for every time I've heard a home edder say 'don't worry about maths, it's everywhere in every day life' I'd be a rich woman by now]. Science, yes. I see science in pretty much everything. We never have to 'do' science because we are always doing science anyway. Maths? Nope. If I do see it, then I don't appreciate or find pleasure in it. Yet I know others who do. I guess it's just about what floats your boat. Maths is like a very heavy load in my ship.
I guess when you home educate there are always going to be gaps in your child's knowledge, their experience. Unless you are going to farm them out to other families for a few months at a time to absorb the world from a different view, I don't think it's something you can totally avoid. But then, I don't suppose school kids have gapless knowledge either. Should I worry..? Probably not.
dd, contemplating the life of a sandwich
Wednesday, 7 October 2009
Thankfully we were queuing next to a natural children's entertainer, who obtained some paper from the gift shop and proceded to make all sorts of origami creations for the kids. Then I saved our place in the queue and took the kids for a noodle around the museum; dd and I shared the camera. And to be fair, the kids were fab, and the staff very accomodating. Would I recommend it? Well it's a sneak preview of what, no doubt, will be an amazing exhibition when it's all catalogued and valued. But it was 3 hours to see a few cases of crumpled gold!
Anyway, ds1 and his friend were interviewed on the BBC (yes...kids with hair unbrushed, sweaty, grubby looking kids, who had queued for 3 hours and were trying to be impressed at these 3 glass cases of crumpled metal!). But at least ds1 had his 'I'm not hidden, I'm home-educated' badge on (even if it was upside down). They were meant to be showing the piece today (Friday), but we'll see.
And you know what? I think the bit the kids most enjoyed was fighting with lightsabers outside the museum after it was all over!
And some conker collecting...