My kids definitely prefer it when we are in an autonomous education phase.
This morning I encouraged (forcefully) them to do a page or two of maths and to continue with our project on Ancient Greece. It's not asking alot. Especially when 'doing' ancient greece this morning comprised me reading a couple of paragraphs about Troy and Homer and then them assembling (or not) cardboard model of Trojan Horse. See - how hard can that be? Apparently the words blood and stone come into it. Or blood and cardboard.
Well we got as far as sticking together the background - the Troy bit. And I was feeling so generous I didn't even make them cut any of it out. Last night, well into adult time, I sat watching CSI cutting out the various items required and labelling each with the order of assembly. I actually cut out 12 - or was it 16? - tiny wheels each with little tiny cog-like flaps on the outside. I am such a martyr to home education. Needless to say they didn't appreciate it. And neither did I when my late night slaving away at Troy was rewarded by a cockeral waking me up at 5.45am and some grumpy children thinking they were so hard done by because they had to stick together some cardboard. 'It would be very easy for me to phone up the local school,' I threaten with a malicious grin.
You see, this is why autonomous education works for us. And enforced 'let's be educational' stuff doesn't. There were the kids, happily engrosed in dismantling something on the conservatory table (I think it was the old video player that they'd been using for catapult target practice). Ds1 was painting parts silver to stick inside a large cardboard box which he explained (in technical terms) was going to be a spaceship simulator (you what?). Then I went up to them and said that they had to come and do something educational. Now what's that all about?
Then I fed them lunch. It has to be healthy lunch, which is difficult. Well it doesn't have to be healthy, it's just that ds2 is doing a food diary for his fitness challenge at cubs and I don't want everyone to know that I feed my children crap. Even if I do (sometimes). The thing is, even ds2 is getting the hang of this 'let's pretend we eat healthy' lark. This morning he asked for All Bran (rather than chocolate spread sandwiches which is his staple diet). And then I gave him orange juice which I always mean to but usually never buy. And for lunch he had carrot sticks with his healthy meal. And I am writing HOME MADE next to everything on the diary. Because it is and because even if it is rubbish food at least it's HOME MADE rubbish and not PROCESSED rubbish. Well except for the chocolate spread.
The exercise diary is proving more difficult. I've realised that ds2 is probably the only one of us that does very little - except under duress - exercise (unless you count moving the computer mouse or running around hitting his brother). When I looked at the diary and couldn't think of any exercise he'd done for 3 days I decided we needed to do something. I mean, we're home educators. Not only are we meant to be nice to each other (for the record, I'm an intolerant vicious old crow), but we're also meant to be happy outdoorsy people whose children run through the hills on a daily basis singing the sound of music, while reciting their Latin homework and doing energetic back flips.
So we took the dog to the library, the very long way round. No back flips, just alot of dog poo to avoid through the park. As usual I had very nearly overdue books to return (what again??!!). And the dog barked and barked and barked really loudly outside the library while the adults inside ho hummed in that irritated ho humming way that not very polite adults do. I know because I do it sometimes (except mine is more of a ho huff followed by an irritated sighing noise). And once more I spoke to the librarian about getting a special card for home edders so we can have extended loans, because when you've got 80 books overdue for a week you need to remortgage your house to pay off the fine. And she said 'did you know you can renew them at home on the computer.' And I said.'Yes.' In my nicest politest tolerant voice.
So we're back now from the library. En route Ds1 collected a new supply of red elastic bands that the postman always drops, plus an empty Bob the Builder plastic tub for doing bicarb rockets, plus other assorted crap that will be swilling around my washing machine in the near future when I forget to empty his pockets. And now the kids are all watching Stormbreaker DVD from the library because none of them wanted to take a book out (probably cos I've ranted to them so much about the huge fine that I had to pay last time).
And I can't find the second packet of chocolate chips in the baking cupboard. Perhaps I have already eaten them? This is most distressing.
I am going to go and shout at the cockeral.