Wednesday, 4 June 2014

It's The Little-Big Things...

I was talking to one of my favourite people on the planet today - she is about to step into the wonderful world of home education, and we were discussing how one of the drawbacks of sending your child to school is that you miss out on so much of how or what they are doing.

We all know the sheer joy of the "little-big moments" - or even the "tiny-huge moments".  You know - like the first gummy smile, first faltering step etc.  One smile or one step seem so insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but when it's your baby's milestone, they are enormous!  It is so sad that when they go off to preschool or school, we start missing out on all the apparently small successes that still deserve to be celebrated.

I was enjoying some such successes today, and after the earlier conversation, was really revelling in them. For example, today I saw Youngest make another leap of understanding in his literacy.  His reading has been coming on really well anyway, blending sounds into words, sight-reading, contextualising etc but today we were out at a shop called 'The Range'.  He looked at the sign and read it with ease, and then said "If that had no 'e' it would say "rang" (pronounced correctly)!  My little guy took a 'rule' that he had learned about our language so far in books, Reading Eggs etc, and applied it to an unrelated scenario.  Such a tiny thing in one sense, but I noticed, and I celebrated inwardly - I was just so glad that I was there to acknowledge his growth.

Another "little" moment that I had today was when Youngest and Eldest, motivated by a shared competitive spirit, "played" on Mathswhizz for hours.  You see, in Mathswhizz there are a couple of league tables.  There is one where you challenge 'buddies' to see who is best at a certain level.  I don't like that one - it is too discouraging to the 'loser'.  However there is another leaderboard where the leader is simply the person who has the most points this week, points being gained by taking a lesson or test at their level - so it is possible to win just by completing lots of lessons.  Well, Youngest just happened to notice that he was top of the leaderboard, above his big brothers - and there was no way Eldest was going to leave that standing, so he got on to Mathswhizz as soon as he could, until he had beaten Youngest.  Youngest was thrilled to have the challenge to immediately play some more until he was top again - which he did.  What a blessing to a home educator to have children asking pleeeeeeeease can they can do more Maths - it doesn't happen often, so it was another "small" moment that I was so happy to acknowledge.

Also today, Middle did some handwriting practice.  I know this seems ridiculously unimportant - but the point is, he was in a real slump.  I almost gave in and thought 'no point asking him as he obviously doesn't want to', but right at the last moment I applied reverse psychology and then he did it so quickly...

Mummy: "I'm not sure you could do all that writing anyway - it would take far too long"
Middle: *pause to do some plotting*, *assumes innocent expression*, "I'm just going to play with my pencil" *hides book and face behind arm*
Mummy: *suddenly completely absorbed with something in the other direction for a few moments*
Middle: "ahem"
Mummy: *all amazement at the sight that lies before me* "How did you do all of THAT writing so quickly???  You cheeky sneaky!"
Middle *giggling delightedly at tricking Mummy*
repeated a few times until both pages complete

Again: such a tiny thing, but so important to a boy who can so easily have his identity affected by whether or not he is good at something, whether he has succeeded or failed.  Quite often I won't push the boys to work if I think they're really not up to it - but sometimes Middle in particular needs help pushing through a mental barrier, otherwise he starts to feel really down about himself.  Today he overcame and enjoyed doing it too.  Yes it was tiny, but it was still huge!

We had other tiny moments too: when two of our butterflies emerged; when Eldest sat for hours doing a detailed 'painting by numbers' kit (he doesn't usually enjoy painting); when Middle and Youngest got absorbed in a Shakespeare animation that Eldest had put on... the list goes on.

newly emerged butterfly

Eldest's painting

Our 'Home Ed' days are very rarely significant in an obvious way, but pretty much every day there are any number of moments that could pass us by if we're not paying attention - moments that if the kids were in school we'd never have a clue they even happened.  I am so happy that I get to celebrate the little moments that are unimportant to anyone else, but so big to my children and me!

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