Friday, 13 February 2015

Highlights Versus Out-takes

I am reluctant to share our whole week's highlights in one post because apart from the risk of it turning into a HUGE post, one of my favourite sayings (particularly relevant to those of us who spend any time on social media) is "stop comparing your out-takes to everyone else's highlight reel".

You know what I mean: having had one of "those" days when it takes until midday for everyone to be up (I won't say dressed as we all know PJ days rule!), when the baby has screamed all morning, another child has played computer games the whole time without stopping for breakfast, and the closest we feel they got to being creative was when we walked into the bedroom and found 'someone' had swirled mascara, bright red lipstick and electric blue eyeshadow all over the pale cream bedroom carpet... we stick CBeebies on for a bit of "educational TV" (not really because we have a slight crush on Mr Bloom) and then sneak on to the computer with a cup of coffee and big bar of chocolate, hoping for inspiration/ comfort/ a break!

What we find, whether through Facebook,  Pinterest or our favourite blog, is somebody enjoying a pristine and glowing example of Perfect Home Education: a dozen children all dressed (HA!), sat beautifully at a table (because they want to - not a snarl or complaint to be heard) having learned their times tables through an ingenious game they just made up, produced a family newsletter where every child contributed a stunningly creative and witty piece of writing, created a scale model of the entire city of London out of matchsticks and homemade saltdough, "popped out" (note lack of meltdowns due to not being able to find shoes/ teddy/ library books/ keys) into town to discover exactly what the local Edwardians' underwear looked like and then on return cooked dinner with homegrown produce from their organic smallholding...

Their highlights compared to our out-takes do not an encouraging picture make!

However, I have a whole week's worth of blogging to catch up on... so, before I launch into the highlights of our week this week, let me first state that today it took one of my children two hours (I'm not exaggerating) to eat their breakfast, another child almost the same amount of time to look up five words in the dictionary, and the sum total of the remaining child's "work" this morning was drawing three little pokemon figures.  Oh, and when I reached over to move one child away from another child who they were squashing, I accidentally hurt their ear myself.  Not a pretty day so far!  Still, we have friends coming over to play this afternoon, so at least I can write "socialisation" in my diary *ahem*...

Also, last weekend I was ill, and it took at least until Tuesday for me to start feeling normal and healthy again, by which time there was a mountain of housework to tackle, as well as three restless boys.  We have had lots of visitors this week - just because that's the way it works out sometimes - and other things planned (eg swimming) have fallen through because of the car  battery dying etc.  It has been chaotic and full, leaving no time at any point to write in my blog.

As I share my week's highlights, just remember not to compare your week's out-takes, OK?  Just rejoice with me that it all balances out somehow to give our kids an awesome education and life...


Monday - the boys did their usual mathswhizz/ Todo math, we took readings from the weather station and the boys filled in some weather printable sheets that I found on Enchanted Learning.  We watched the rest of the Vikings series on TV, and (my favourite activity) we painted our little clay homes that we had made last week.  I particularly enjoyed this as I was so absorbed in my own little house that the boys had free reign over painting how they wanted, without me bent over them correcting strokes or details.  There's a time and a place for that, but it wasn't this day! PS We have ordered some electric tealights to go inside and shine through the windows (real candles wouldn't work with the lids on)...

Mummy's "Gnome Home"

Eldest's "Gnome Home"

Youngest's "Gnome Home"

Middle's "Toadstool Home" (front and back)

Tuesday - the boys did some pages from their handwriting workbooks, filled in some more of the weather chart, and drew some Vikings from a "How to" sheet I had found online, before spending the rest of the day socialising with their cousin and friends...

Eldest's Viking (with snow on his helmet where he had been standing still for too long)

Middle's Viking with added tool belt and pet dog (he decided it was a ceremony otherwise he wouldn't have had horns on his helmet)

Youngest found the "how to draw" instructions a bit too tricky so he went freestyle and drew a singing disco Viking complete with laser glitterball

Wednesday was our busiest day.  Youngest had a dentist appointment, and while we were out we left Eldest and Middle doing Mathwhizz with Grandma and Grampie, and when they finished maths, Middle played Angry Birds Ludo with Grandma while Eldest made a viking longboat from a kit we had bought when we were in York.  When we got home, after lunch (and watching the World's Weirdest Events on TV) we all played Viking Bingo (PDF download here). Finally Middle tried out a new (to him) Drama club in the afternoon - despite being out of his comfort zone he really enjoyed it, I hope he goes back!

Eldest's longboat

The boys like playing with sweets and keep going until they have a full house so they can have more sweets!

Thursday was supposed to be swimming but the car battery was completely flat and we were running late so had no time to orgnaise an alterntive way of getting there.  We went for a walk to the local shops instead, and then had a friend around to play.  Eldest managed to do some of his English workbook, but the younger two ran out of time before their friend arrived.  I found a 'decorate your ginngerbread man' kit that the boys had been given for Christmas, so they and their friend all had a go and enjoyed their handiwork for lunch.

And today?  Well Middle and English managed to do yesterday's English, and Eldest drew pictures (and read a Pokemon book).  Middle and Eldest are now out at coding club with Daddy, while Youngest plays and I am typing this up!

Eldest's Pokemon - he does take a lot of time over getting them just right!

Phew!  I'm so glad it's half term next week - we are all clearly in need of a structure-free week!  We didn't get to do all that I had planned for this half term at the beginning of January, but we have achieved a LOT that I'm sure wouldn't have happened without a plan - and most importantly, we have had fun doing it!  Lots of doing and learning, balanced with lots of resting, playing and thinking.  I wouldn't have it any other way, even if I am grateful for next week's break!

Happy half-term!

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