Monday, 30 September 2013

Picasso in Pyjamas

Phew!  Crazy week, busy weekend... Monday mornings might be met with a groan in many other households, but here there was a sigh of relief this morning.  We all know where we are with Mondays, and what to expect: pyjamas, snuggles, staying home and having fun together.  Admittedly I was a bit frustrated being at home today while my niece is still in hospital (and my sister with her), but I knew there was no way of going to visit today so I tried hard to just make the most of the time I have with my boys instead, allowing for part of me being a bit distracted and sending 'get well' prayers throughout the day...

So we started the day as usual with Bible time, snuggled up in bed, then as soon as Eldest came downstairs he headed straight for his workbooks to do some English (today learning abut riddles)  Youngest also beat me downstairs and started on some writing, while Middle decided I ought to have a 'take-it-easy' day, so brought me his Spongebob blanket and made me sit in the armchair with his blanket over me.  Of course, the 'take-it-easy' day didn't last, but what a sweet boy he is to think of it!  I felt very blessed.

Middle did some time on Reading Eggspress, then came to join in with a game of "Scabs n Guts" (played at Youngest's request). I'd forgotten how much the boys enjoyed it... obviously the gruesome details hold particular appeal, and they were most delighted when Mummy had to act out having a shower or being sick with food poisoning!  I learned something new too: apparently there is such a thing as "Housewif'itis", caused by having to do too much housework! Hmmmmm - we stay-at-home-mums and home educators need to beware!

Once the game was done we headed to the kitchen for a bit of art.  We looked at a little book on Picasso (read excerpts and looked at the pictures) and looked at some of his work online - we talked about his paintings that were in blue or sad colours, and what happy colours might be; we looked at how he used lots of straight lines in his pictures where we might expect curvy ones; we talked about why he painted things that didn't 'look right' - facial features in strange places etc, and decided that maybe he was trying to say something about how he was feeling rather than just accurately painting what he saw with his eyes.  Then with all of that in mind we had a go at our own portraits (we used oil pastels as we wanted strong colours)...

Youngest drew a face in blue and added in some 'unusual' features in different colours...


I started quickly as I wanted to help the boys see what I meant about drawing a face that was looking straight ahead and profile.  As we had talked about showing feelings rather than just what we could see, I did one half of my face blue and sleepy to show the tired part of me, and the other half bright and smiley because I'm happy to be with them (with the addition of some slightly psychotic-looking eyeshadow)...


Eldest drew a portrait of Middle (green because it's his favourite colour and orange because he's happy)...


He followed that with a self portrait.  He said his two most important characteristics are happiness (yellow) and excitedness (orange)... that is a pretty fair summary of his character I'd say!


Middle decided against the portraits altogether as he had obviously been inspired in a different direction while looking at Picasso's work - so he did a lovely picture of a vampire bat...


After that the boys all went in different directions: Eldest watched "Supergiant Animals" which I had recorded from TV, Middle played Music-maker on Gridclub and Youngest played on the Tap-the-Cat app (from Reading Eggs) on my ipad... it's free to install today and tomorrow only.  Eldest and Middle then watched their new Rock n Learn DVD on Physical Science (we love the Rock n Learn science DVDs) while Youngest played Mathseeds on my laptop (I have finally subscribed - I was reluctant because we've already paid for a MathsWhizz subscription, but I got a good Home Ed discount on Mathseeds too, and it's really helping Youngest at the moment).  Then Eldest and Youngest disappeared upstairs to do some dressing up and role play, while Middle decided to write a diary and asked for my help.  I was delighted but also surprised, knowing how little he enjoys writing usually.  Well he wrote "Still in my pyjamas" (asking me for help with spelling) and then started complaining that he couldn't do it.  I was baffled!  Another barrier in his mind that seems to have come from nowhere.  He seemed to be frustrated by his own preconceptions of what he was 'supposed' to be doing.  I tried explaining that a diary is a totally personal thing, that there are no rules (although writing the date/ time for each entry is generally a good idea), that he could write one sentence or even one word if he liked - that he could fill it with pictures instead etc... it took about fifteen minutes of me trying to be patient and understand the reason behind the negativity before we finally got there and he settled back down to it.  Funny little sausage - he does get set ideas stuck in his head that don't need to be there at all.  Still, I'm happy that (I think) we managed to resolve it pretty quickly today.  He hasn't shown it to me like Eldest would (the boy who likes to share his work with everyone), but that's totally fine, because I think he would feel pressure to make it presentable, and as I said to him, a diary is a private thing for him to do whatever he likes with. But oh, I am so intrigued to see how it finally looked - I must be good and stay away!

So there we go: another lovely Day In Pyjamas.  I was told at school once that wearing uniform was important a) to remove one-upmanship caused by the privileged having better clothes etc - as if we still couldn't tell who the privileged were - and b) to dress smart as a way of wearing a subconscious reminder to think smart and behave smart.  Well other than being able to slightly facetiously report a distinct lack of one-upmanship between the boys when wearing pyjamas, I am also happy to note that the subconscious reminder sent to my boys by what they wear on Pyjama Mondays is that when they wear relaxed, they think relaxed, and behave relaxed... and how very interesting it is for me to note that on their most relaxed days they seem to achieve the most...!

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