I’ve been really chuffed with how Oscar and Lucas are being inspired with the new education blogs (here and here) that I have set up to guide their work. It’s been one of the best, most workable ideas for home ed that we’ve ever done. They both use their Google “to do” lists and calendars and it’s made an enormous difference. It’s funny how I had just assumed before that because I had a clear list in my head of work to do, they would too and they didn’t of course.
I’m finding so many interesting things to link to and suggest, and then they’re taking those suggestions further and finding other things that interest them and all in all, their days which were busy anyway, are now busier then ever. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day. My mind is also buzzing with ways to take their interests further. L has been writing stories using story cards, doing some great art work from this site, and looking at bridges. O has been making swords from foam board from this amazing site which is inspiring him no end with incredible projects, learning to crotchet (yes, following his interest not mine) and is planning to make his own forge in our garden for £30! Hmmmm! He has also been doing well with his OU French course and got 83% for his last assignment with the comment that his spoken recording was better than some of his adult peers (thanks for the coaching Grandad!) There is a lot to do but I think it makes sense to learn a language this way as perhaps it sticks better if you have to do a lot of it in one go. He is using a great website called Quizlet to put his vocab in to learn.
He spent ages sewing on his badges for sea cadets as they have a parade on Thursday. He was watching Muzzy in French while he was doing it and admittedly he did sew the sleeve together! He also didn’t even think of asking me to sew it on for him which either says I’m a very unhelpful mother, or he is nicely independent and very unsexist (unlike Joth who shakes his head when he sees Oscar threading a needle and says “I don’t know how you do it Oscar, that’s amazing” and can’t see why I’m not praising him. I cannot see why women should be any better at sewing a patch on than a man or what is difficult about it.) Maybe Oscar just didn’t trust me not to sew the sleeve together too.
Incidentally Oscar was convinced that he would need glasses today and his eyes were fine but she said to make sure they keep reading at a distance and don’t pull the book too close as it can cause short sighted-ness as can straining your eyes in bad light. I wonder if that’s how I ended up short sighted, reading for hours when I was young in the light coming in from the landing when I should have been asleep, resting the book on my face as I lay on my side because I was too lazy to hold the book up!
Anyway, we’re following up on the boys ideas with a visit to the Steiner Storytelling festival this weekend with a puppet show for Anton and Dante and live storytelling and a Blacksmith workshop for Oscar and Lucas. Oscar is also playing for a Tango weekend with an Argentinian musician leading it next weekend. Lots of good and interesting things.
(not quite sure why the dinosaurs have to be IN the porridge!)
And they are not the only busy ones. Dante is still working away at the serious business of being a toddler and making himself understood. He is so utterly delightful I could eat him. I often try actually. I’m constantly trying to grab him for another cuddle. Luckily he loves his cuddles.
Anton has been busy too. He has been busy doing magic tricks and not to be outdone by his big brothers working on the computers, he has now worked out how to use google translate. Oscar has shown him the all important button where you can get the computer to speak the words you type:
Anton is so sociable and wants to be with groups of other children and I often run school through my mind to check that I feel OK about not sending him. I never want to find that I have fallen in to home educating the younger ones just because we’re doing it already. I just know it wouldn’t suit any of us though, least of all Anton to send him off for for 5 days a week. 2 or 3 mornings a week of an imaginative, fun environment would feel very different. I have so many concerns about schools but for a start it would be too prescriptive and I can’t bear the idea that we couldn’t take him out for days which I know to be more important than school at that age if we were to see family or go on holiday or for a trip or just if he was tired for goodness sake. I wish there were such a thing as a true parent/school partnership. I feel parents are guilty until proven otherwise in this system somehow. We’ve forgotten who is there to support who I think. It just feels a shame that after toddler groups there is nothing really suitable around here for 3+ yr olds other than nurseries where you leave them. Even if he wanted to go there he would be left high and dry when he was school age.
Anyway, Anton is busy with his activities (I have even made him a blog too so he can choose craft activities – http://alljustfun.wordpress.com/) and we have made waterproof puppets, clothes peg dinosaurs, puffy paint and have sown herbs for the kitchen windowsill. I also ordered a play frame (belated Christmas present for him and Dante) which has been put to very good use as a cafe (he has made his own menu) and a shop.
I’ve moved some of the books from the shelves in the sitting room to make more space for their toys so the sitting room is more play friendly. It is my mission to try to put out a craft activity in the kitchen and some different toys in the living room every day. I will be sorting out Anton’s bedroom and clothes once again this week as we have a new lodger already with us in O’s room and one more arriving at the end of the week who will go in to Anton’s room so his shelves have to be cleared again.
Clearing out rooms always makes me feel quite nostalgic when I sort clothes they’ve grown out of. We’re in a very different place than we were 7 years ago when we moved down here. We had energy then to undertake projects I wouldn’t take on now. Time is too short. I wouldn’t do another extension for instance now – the cost in terms of time and energy would be too much. I can’t ever imagine doing a project like that unless we had the money to have a completely hands off approach. I suppose this is just what growing older entails. I know now that life is too short already to fit all I want to in it. I can’t have every cake and eat it (although I do try in more ways than one!) I look at parents of younger children and remember how it felt to feel that there are endless possibilities of what your children could be and do. Now I think I feel more that I just want to make sure they are happy and emotionally adjusted and have lots of options but it is what they choose to grab is up to them. It’s tempting as a home educating parent to feel you have to grab it all for them. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him thirsty. They have to want it. I suppose it feels better in that I don’t think it’s all in my hands though.
The BBC rang again the other day. It’s nice they haven’t forgotten me. I even thought I might be able to do it until I realised I had a quartet concert. I have really enjoyed some of the quartet concerts I have been lucky enough to do recently and the A level composition workshops again. My teaching is also going well too with quite a few new ones.