Wednesday, 14 October 2009


Well, I've come back from a weekend away at the Cheltenham Literature Festival and already I feel like I'm way behind with my blogging.

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


Carolyn said...

Yes, blogging a little and often...sounds great doesn't it, but the reality just doesn't match up!!
Your little man is quite the dab hand at the machine! He was the one who used the spinning wheel too, isn't he?
And that truck....its fabulous....I want one!!!! Where did it come from. Need to show the older two, in the hope that they hope that they can recreate it, as I bet it is an expensive piece of kit!!
Crafting always makes me laugh as a are always crafty, aren't they!!!

Carol said...

Have to say, I rather like seeing pictures of what other peoples' kids are up to! So I don't mind if you don't!!

As for gaps in knowledge..........there's so much to know, so many subjects we may never touch upon in our life times (whether we are schooled or unschooled)! It sometimes seems like kids at school do more "stuff", but how much of it do they actually understand, internalise or remember? I don't remember much of what I did at school, nor did I understand alot of it. I was just good at cramming!

So on the days I bother to remember all of that, I don't worry about what they are not doing and focus on all the good things they are doing. On the days I forget, well.....=.....

Big mamma frog said...

Carolyn, the truck came from Tchibo (online) a couple of years ago, was about 40 quid, which seemed like a fortune at the time, but it's got loads of use. I know a few people who have metal trucks, but they are shallower and you can't get nearly as much crap in them! The thing I like about ours is that the wooden panels slot in and the hand detatches, so you can dismantle it down to the basic frame with wheels enabling me to squeeze it into the back of the people carrier. We sometimes use it to carry stuff to the allotment and in summer I get the kids to trek with it to the Coop and we pile our shopping in it. We must look a right weird bunch!