Brainboxes

I’m beginning to wonder where my kids are getting their cleverness from.  Oscar came home today and said he’s being taken out of maths along with a handful of others to do harder work and Lucas had a glowing report from Sheilagh the other day.  She said he was a great all rounder and could do anything he liked.  The thing that amazes me is not how well they are doing as it seems their brains are obviously switched on in that way, but that they have needed so little from others to help them do well.  That doesn’t mean that I think they are particularly brainy but it amazes me how much they learn themselves, without help.   Kids just learn.  It’s what they do.  And teachers usually take so much of the credit.

We have done so little time-wise, possibly peaking with Oscar (just before the 11+) at an hour of maths a week rather than the hour a day prescribed at school.  I just think a small amount of work at the right level with time to reflect on it and time to do it when you’re in the right frame of mind, is worth many hours of slaving away.  Kids learn.  I know I usually am the first to question everything and do us down but at the moment I am just thinking “Thank goodness.”  Thank goodness I didn’t give in to any of the endless doubting about whether we should or could home educate and we’ve had an extra 6 wonderful years with Oscar at home (and 8 for Lucas as he didn’t bother with nursery either and it may be more for him if he doesn’t want to go to school later of course).  I’m sure there are many things I could do better but even so I don’t seem to have held them back in any particularly noticeable way.   Of course there are also many, many benefits I think they have from home education too but right now I just feel so very lucky to be able to have such a wonderful family life and really feel I’ve given them a happy childhood.

Don’t mistake this for smugness.  I am never smug.  There’s too much that I do question and feel I could do better.  However, I do think it’s a crime to be happy and lucky and not realise how happy and lucky you are.  A friend who reads this blog said to me once, do you have any idea how often you do yourself down and rubbish what you are doing?  It made me think.

So in an effort not to do myself down I have decided that it must be me that they get their brains from.  We had such a laugh at breakfast today, watching Joth trying to send a text.  He stamps his feet and blames the phone, loudly, but the reality is, is that he is a computer programmer who cannot work out how to do predictive text, and even the TV remote control is too much for him.  I must add that he was laughing as hard as any of us, even when I was sitting there sending him texts like ” Come on you old duffer, reply to this then…”   He did.   “rv34iii,”  (or whatever that translates as, in I-can’t-do-predictive-text-language.”

Oscar had a bad time in swimming today though which unfortunately obliterated any good feeling from the maths.  I had forgotten it was swimming today instead of P.E.  which meant that he had to swim in an outdoor pool even though he was still not 100% having only gone back to school today after his cold.   Brrrr!   I would have given him a sick note if I had realised.  He said they were being assessed and he found it difficult to swim properly because there were too many of them to do widths without crashing in to each other and he’d put his goggles on wonky so they were letting in water and he couldn’t see properly.  I can imagine it so clearly and it all sounds so horrible.  I’m sure Oscar would have been hanging back with all those kids swimming in to each other just as he used to do in football when everyone else was running in for tackles.  “No, no, after you, I insist, ” is what it always looked like he was thinking.  Anyway the upshot was that there were three swimming groups and Oscar has been put in the middle group who are put in the middle of the pool as not everyone in that group likes being out of their depth!  Oscar is not an effortless swimmer but he is pretty good and has worked hard at it and has done his 800m (32 lengths badge) and got his Silver Rescuer badge or whatever that is when you have to do a lot of exhausting swimming in your clothes.  Anyway, he was devastated today when he got home.  I think it builds up during the day too when he can’t say anything to anyone.  He has those bright red spots on his cheek too when you have a cold and runny nose.  He says his friend is in the top group and it sounds all very humiliating.  I don’t think we grow out of feeling humiliated about these sort of things, we simply aren’t put in those situations anymore.  It’s the lack of chance to say anything that is so horrible.  He can’t tell them that he thinks he could have done better and he won’t be able to say anything if he finds that he’s having to spend the lessons doing beginner strokes either.  I hope that either his group is better than he thinks and that he’s got it wrong, or that he’ll be moved up quickly.  I went round to my friends last night for a girlie chat and they said I should write to his teacher about it but O doesn’t want me to.

Gosh, I’m proud of him.  He’s such a trier.  He gives everything his all and thinks so carefully about everything.  I’m so proud of them all.  Lucas, I (and Anton) had a lovely art session this morning when Dante went for his nap.  I fully intend to make it a  regular session as it was so successful and Lucas loves arty things.  It’s easy to make it work for Anton too and thanks to Merry’s blog I’ve found a great web site for easy Art suggestions so I’ve printed out some ideas and put them in a folder for dipping in to when we want to (the folder was an idea I got from Julia’s blog!). Thanks folks!

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R&A came over this afternoon and stayed until 7 to have tea with us so they were here when O came home from school.  It worked really well actually and O got straight on with his homework afterwards and even went off to do some extra piano as they are all playing to each other in class tomorrow.

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