Wednesday, 17 November 2010

What have we been doing..?

With the change in seasons we've been a bit out of sorts. However, slowly we are getting back into a rhythm, and these are some of the things we've been doing...

Dd has been learning to crochet:

Ds2 has been reading up about design for computer games:

We've downloaded the free 3D computer graphics software Art of Illusion and ds2's been getting to grips with it. It might as well be Japanese to me - I just make approving noises with the occasional interested-parent comment, like: 'What does that bit do?'

We've also downloaded the trials for various Sony video/music editing packages here . today the kids have been testing out Sony's Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum, which looks on face value a little like Windows Movie Maker, but with a million more whistles and bells.

Ds1 has been reading about survival techniques and has created his own survival kit (everything but the kitchen sink stuffed into a rucksack I think). He's also been reading about guns. And more guns. And weapons in general. And been watching the series 'Weaponology' that I recorded which shows techniques that snipers use,and real footage of war time shooting (nice). This child-led learning is fabulous, but there are times when I wonder if there is such a thing as encouraging the wrong hobby?

We've been to a fireworks party:
and the boys have attended their yearly Capoeira Batizado

"Batizado literally means "baptism"; besides being an initiation rite for new students it is also a graduation ceremony for advanced students and a great capoeira community celebration with masters from near and far are invited and the fraternity of capoeira is measurably strengthened by the camaraderie and interplay."

For more info see here

And today I took the bears off to the woods to let off some of that grizzly energy:
The low rope swing over a muddy ditch was particularly popular:
(This is what wellies and leggings were made for)
and there's always time to poke in the sand:

Monday, 8 November 2010


Teacher: 'So what do you notice about..?'

Audience attempts to notice something.

Teacher nods: 'Hmmm, that's an interesting comment [it obviously isn't], anything else you notice?'

Audience silence followed by more desperate attempts to notice something.

Teacher (with a 'helpful' voice): 'Take a look at the second stanza..?'

Audience still clueless, looks desperately at the two members of audience who have acquired secret knowledge of literary jargon in the hope they will blind tutor with said jargon.

Teacher: 'That's a good way of looking at there anything else..?

Member of audience: 'So, are you trying to get us to say..?'

Teacher: 'I'm not trying to get you to say anything, there's no right or wrong answer'

Audience gives up.

Teacher: 'Well perhaps if I tell you ...'

One member of audience realises that of course there IS a required ANSWER and that it's taken 17 people a whole agonising 15 minutes to be led to THE ANSWER, during which anyone who has contributed to the class discussion has made a rectumhole of themselves by muttering apparently irrelevant drivel.

90% of audience go home thinking what a wonderful teacher they've just experienced.

One member of audience (who at some time in the past opted for the red pill and dropped out of the matrix) realises that the class has been exposed to teacher-speak, and feels hugely patronised and rather depressed as a result.

And what can we learn from this story?

1. No matter what teachers say there is always a RIGHT ANSWER, i.e. the one they want you to say.

2. Until you say this answer, you're going to be WRONG.

3. To disguise the fact that there is a RIGHT ANSWER, and that the teacher knows that answer and is deliberately keeping that right answer from you, every time you say a WRONG ANSWER they will say things like 'yes, good try' and 'nearly' and 'I hadn't thought of that one' [they had, just thought it was stupid and irrelevant] and 'that's an interesting thought' and 'hmmm'.

4. If you hear any of the above phrases, you have been exposed to 'teacher-speak' and should immediately seek out a decontamination chamber, consume alcoholic beverage and exorcise yourself through some online ranting.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Lets celebrate our boys!

'What we need, she says, is to celebrate what makes them boys and help them to understand the things that don't come naturally to them. That means getting them outside more, particularly as space gets squeezed in urban schools. “Not letting boys be boys is not only detrimental to them but also to girls, many of whom become overcompliant with what is considered ‘good' behaviour and could do with a shove outdoors to take more risks,” she says. “I certainly wish that had happened to me.” '

[From a 2008 article in The Times]

As someone who tried very hard in my early days of parenting to 'gender neutralise' my boys, only to find out I was trying to bend the forces of nature, this quote feels very true.

So, let's celebrate our boys!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Oh yay! Oh yay! October round-up is here!

Ok, what can I say bloggy audience? I must kneel at your feet and beg forgiveness.

Forgive me for I have sinned: I've been a bad bad blogger.

You see this is how it happens:
I think of something I need to post. I have the photos; I have the words. But then somehow I don't get them to the pc.
Then a day or two later, something else happens that I want to blog. This time I get to the pc, but I don't have the photos to upload. So I think, 'well I'll wait till I have the photos'.

And well, you can guess the rest.

So here I am to rectify the situation. I have forgotten all the words I was going to say, all those pearls of wisdom/angst/humour. So instead we'll stick to annotated piccies.

Dd's 7th birthday. The hedgehog cake. Entirely home-made (well the role of nice mummy didn't extent to hand-crafting the chocolate buttons, but you know what I mean).

The best party game ever: tie mini chocolate donuts to strings off the washing line and yell 'Shark Attack!' and realise how difficult it is to take a nice photo of your child at a party without everyone else's kids in it. Especially difficult when said child is wearing a bear hat.

The best bit of birthdays of course

Mother has a fit of worksheetitis and sends children on a trail around museum. 'Just read the question again.' I say cheerily through gritted teeth 'The answer's got to be here somewhere.'

Detour to the toy shop to goggle at over-priced house-junk (the reward for not filling in the museum trail). We are all mildly impressed by the lego R2D2.
'No you can't have one for Christmas!'

Making beady bugs. Guess what everyone's getting for Christmas instead of a lego R2D2..?
Dying fluorescent orange cotton a (hopefully) less fluorescent orange colour.
Only another 20 or so balls to go...
Hoping these will make stripey socks because I'm too tight to buy the proper wool.
So, if you're not getting a beady spider for Christmas,
it could be fluorescent orange (and brown) socks.
Halloween bonfire party in motion
A picture just made for quirky captions. Suggestions anyone?
How about 'The devil is in the detail' ?
Or perhaps 'It was a hell of a halloween'?
Is it one of my kids in the photo?
No, obviously someone more willing to wear silly headgear than my bunch.
I think someone has been drinking too much Tango.
And the most exciting part of the halloween bonfire party?
When the fire engine arrived, of course!
Nothing us mothers like more than when the firemen stripograms arrive
I think everyone should set fire to their carpark
and invite a few firefighters along to the party.

On our trip somewhere between worksheetitis and toy shop we do something far more educational: watch a stuntsman do a stunt for the next series of 'Lewis'. To quote a famous band: 'That aint working that's the way you do it,
get your money for nothing and your chicks for free.'
(Though it must cost a fortune in chiropracter fees.)