Thursday, 8 January 2015

Adaptability is the Key

Today was definitely more flexible : we did use the schedule, but adapted it as we went along (I am not slave to my planner: it is there to help and support us, not drive us against our wills!)

This morning the boys were due to do English workbooks/ sheets first.  Youngest was only interested in doing one of the sheets that I had printed off for him (nothing too taxing, jut identifying and writing the beginning letters of certain words), but that was fine.  Middle has gone right off workbooks as I mentioned last week, so I showed him a test that I had found online, downloaded and printed.  I explained that he did NOT have to do the whole thing, just as much as he wanted - and not to worry about being scored, as I am not interested in stressing him out just for the sake of a grade.  If I had said I want to find out what workbooks we need next, or what he still needs to learn, it would have put him right off, but I told him that as he seems to have inherited my intuitive approach to English, just picking up good grammar and spelling as he reads, my goal was to find out what he already knew and what lessons we could skip.  Well obviously that way of looking at it appealed to him greatly, and he set to work on the test with a really lovely attitude, stopping only when he was getting tired of it, eight pages later.  He did really well, and we had a lovely time going through it together later, with me explaining anything that he hadn't quite grasped and marvelling with him over how much he did know - just great!
Eldest was feeling a bit poorly this morning so he had a lie-in while his brothers were doing their English, only getting up as we were about to go swimming.  He didn't come with us because of his cough - stayed at home with Daddy who was working from home today - but unfortunately we didn't communicate about my expectations.  I did not expect him to do anything while I was out, but he decided to do ten minutes of handwriting as he knew today was 'English' day, before chatting to Daddy about house designs.  When I came back and explained that I had a new KS3 English book that I wanted to try with him, he was distinctly unimpressed, so I had to alter our plans and offer him the choice of the new workbook or Mathswhizz, so we could do the workbook together tomorrow morning instead of maths.  He was OK with that, so we just agreed to adapt our plans to suit us.  Mathswhizz went fine, especially as we got to sit together for a bit that he was finding tricky.  He didn't really need my help, just the encouragement of my company - and that's more than fine by me!
Nb the new English workbook has been recommended to us by a fellow Home Educator who hit similar issues as us (mentioned in my recent post on the subject) with her son at the same age - this book (from Galore Park) seems to be a lot less confusing and subjective, and more focused on the essential grammar, comprehension and spelling skills that he is likely to need approaching GCSE level.

So that was it, as far as our planner was concerned: all scheduled activities ticked off.  BUT - Niece was with us again this morning, so as we are tackling the Wildlife Action Awards together, we decided to do another of the challenges while she was here, and we all sat down together to make bird feeders.  Youngest and Niece chose to construct seed dispensers out of old plastic bottles, while Middle and Eldest opted for the messier version squishing lard, birdseed and grated cheese into empty yoghurt pots to hang up with garden wire.  Great fun was had by all - and we've completed one of next week's activities early! (I'm sure I can choose another challenge to do by then)...
making sure we have everything we need
(including instructions which we downloaded from the RSPB website here and here)...

lard, seeds and grated cheese for the yoghurt pot feeders...

go on: give it a good squish!


Niece cutting out the feeder access 

...and Youngest doing his 

filling the bottle feeders

threading wire through the yoghurt pot feeders 

and attaching wire to the bottle feeders 

filling the pots as much as possible
 

Niece hanging up her feeder


Youngest hanging up his feeder

Middle hanging up his feeder


Eldest hanging up his feeder

So flexibility really is the name of the game - yes, my six-week schedule is helping me to stay calm and organised, but when things come up (as they always will), it has enough 'give' in it that it to remain a stress-free experience and allow for spontaneous creativity.  Still loving it!

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