Monday, 15 September 2014

Sugar Man

First day out and about in 2 months that I have felt the burning of the  "What are they doing here? Haven't they 'gone back' yet?" eyes on us as we walked around town. Aside from home education group meet ups, in the day times, between 8.45am and 3:15pm children are pretty much invisible where we live..............especially those that don't want to brush their hair..............

We were in town to pick up the bolts for the nuts of O's robot project - The nuts and metal torso having been sat on the side waiting for a few weeks. O saw the original idea from a friend on my FB feed and suggested it would be a great way to make a robot so, at Ikea a few weeks back, we picked up the cutlery holder. It worked really well - The whole thing cost sub £4 and the components could be recycled at a future stage. The original suggestion mentioned "fine motor skills." Watching O I'd say he has those licked! He even gave him an on off switch and was confident 3 legs would work R2D2 style. Wish we'd picked up a few more cutlery holders and nuts and bolts as he could potentially link them together.

O also made a chocolate cake this morning. He had wanted to do it yesterday but forgot. It was the first thing he mentioned this morning! Luckily I had forgotten to put the butter back in the fridge that I took out to make it yesterday so two lots of forgetfulness combined to a cake! He was clear on the white icing but frustrated at his poor egg breaking skills.

Spend some time pushing rocks up hill on Reading Eggs with E this morning. Decided this afternoon he'd be more engaged if I helped him learn how to  TP on Minecraft but I just can't do it - I've tripled checked my square and curly brackets in the code - renewed empathy for how the game reduces them to tears and increases the volume.

It's so hard to look through the mess and the laundry and the cooking and do the right thing. With memories of holiday so fresh it is more apparent than ever what a huge slug of my time these things have the power to occupy.

News today that Microsoft have bought Mojang.

S is keen to make hard candy and E fudge............E is still very keen to spray paint his nerf guns and talks endlessly about nerf guns..........need to review my ideas on taking that further..All are definatley ideas for when our extra pair of aupair hands arrives on Saturday.

Smokey kitten cat has lost the collar S bought her in Frome. She could well be in collar double digits now.

TDO spent the last afternoon of the holiday at the allotment returning home with an enormous bag of home grown produce. E went with him for a while but was soon bored.....................These plates I spin are so very different.

S and O spent ages making Lego Hero Factory Heroes last night and playing with them. I helped them design a sling for the baby heroes.

 Me in the tole of work bench

 E and O in a selection of matching Minecraft tops with me above at the beach hut and below at Hinton Ampner last week.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Green Garden

Keeping a diary is very satisfying. The old entries are handy to look back on, the process of writing it helpful and enjoyable. Diaries form the basis of many of mine (and S's) favorite books. It's no suprise then that I find 15 minutes everyday to make notes on this blog.

quotes such as these :-

Everytime I re-read them I find something relevant I missed before.

The last day of holidays. Panic over a possible missing box of bed pieces averted and a plug socket moved by TDO, Doctor Who, Crimes of Passion on TV and lots of lego play inspired by bringing the plastic blocks centre stage.  S and O modified The Simpson's House to make a camper, E and O lined up around 100 random minifigs they created with the aim of covering a whole large grey base plate and E and O made yellow cars to race.

TDO says "Are you always on holiday or never on holiday?" As a life learning facilitor my job just changes locations. This blog has helped me enormously to deschool myself. The trio have never needed to. They've never been to school.  Curriculum subject boxes no longer cloud my thinking.

"When there is no difference between living and learning it is impossible and misleading and harmful to think of them as something separate."

John Holt

It's great to see the lego being used and even though it is obvious it is still surprising to me every time we move things around just how much point of sale psychology works. Minecraft is a lot tidier though ;-)

What I've been reading today

This and this 

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Just The Way You Are

Back to the 3pm blog slot.  And a rare webcam shot. The lego table is downstairs now, along with the 40kgs of lego,  until the Log Cabin is finished whilst TDO erects an Ikea flat pack bed in the space it was before. Furniture shuffle. 7 more sleeps til our au-pair arrives.

During the 3 or more years I've been keeping this blog I've given much thought to focusing on the positives; not over sharing the negatives whilst trying not to sound smug and also staying honest. It is harder than you might think. Sometimes a period of 10 or 15 minutes has the power to overshadow the whole day. It's less common now. In the early days of this blog I called them"car crash" moments - A millisecond that took hours to correct.

The big change is how the children respond. They appear to ignore me when I tell them they have the power to turn things around but I hear them repeating my phrases to others...............

I am not alone here. Long term unschoolers acknowledge that excessive sarcasm and cynicism are not helpful to healthy in home ed families and that finding joy is contagious in the same way that negativity can be.

This is a season when I could be negative. As a summer sun lover the shorter days are not my best but we have 4 family birthdays in the final quarter of the year, panto tickets booked, Brick 2014 tickets booked...............There is a positivist payoff - Last winter was one of the best of my adult life as I anticipated and planned for it.

The trio are playing lego together as I type. Happily. But earlier the same game dissolved into a possessions based squabble. Which do I choose to remember?

We fell asleep despite the freshly painted smell last night so today has been a home windows open day. Well E and I have been for a few walks and to the park where E found 4 or 5 of his local friends. He is so social. That and Goodwood Revival and Tour of Britain cycle race closing nearby roads. Our cats have really missed the children. Our boy cat tried to follow us on one of our walks and there have been the inevitable "Welcome Home" presents.

E tried again with Reading Eggs this morning. Holiday hilighting how many people expect him to be reading instructions for example. He struggled with Jake, cake and bake - seriously, in real life how often do such similar words crop up together outside limericks and tongue twisters? Then, without an visual prompt, read Diamond Sword................. Interest led. I really think he will "get it" soon but boy it's not easy! We finished Sea Quest 14 last night. The difference between "waiting" and "not working" is hard to quantify.

 Unless a reading problem is involved children learn to read when they are ready. It is developmental and not synchronized to meet an educator's timetable.

S learnt to read when she was ready and this summer has read the whole Artemis Fowl series (7 or 8 books), the whole Casson Family series, Murder Most Unladylike, Wonder................

Back in the world of WiFi S has caught up with all her best YouTubers that she missed during the holiday - Stampy and My Froggy Stuff.

Many of the San Marzano tomatoes have ripened at the allotment whilst we were on holiday and TDO's been making pasatta, He had the genius idea of freezing them using the silicone molds which will be just enough for 3 or 4 small pizzas.