Friday, 1 April 2016

Catching Up

No, NOT the sort of catching up deployed in school, where children are deemed to have "fallen behind" and have to struggle to reach the same level as those who have naturally reached their learning targets sooner.  I find that whole idea highly offensive.  Learning is neither or race nor a competition, and children should - yes, you heard me - they SHOULD be allowed to learn in a way that comes most naturally to them, at their own pace.  Sadly that is no longer possible in our increasingly mad school system.  But anyway, I digress.

I'm catching up with the bits and pieces that we have done this week during our 'holiday from autonomy' that I haven't blogged about so far.  I want to keep a record of them, so here I am, catching up on things that I WANTED to write, not forcing a harsh schedule on young people (oops sorry - can you tell I have a bee in my bonnet on the subject? ;) )

So anyway this week, other than the nature walk and writing mentioned previously, we also read a chapter of the Bible together (John 6) and agreed that Jesus really is a lot more patient than any of us would be.  It's the chapter where he feeds the five thousand and then loads of his disciples get offended at him for not just being the kind of leader who exists to heal them and feed them for free, and decide following him is too hard.  I love the open conversations we have together and the honest questions that the boys ask - none of us have all the answers, and I enjoy seeing them think about the big issues of life; their words often enlighten me!

We played a board game ('Wing It' from the RSPB), and listened to some music: firstly Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Mozart.  Youngest decided it made him think of someone asleep upstairs while someone downstairs listened to an opera outside through an open window.


Eldest and Middle struggled to find inspiration in the music, so once Youngest was done we had another go, this time with Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata.  Middle said it reminded him of ghosts and ghouls...


... while Eldest was inspired to draw a picture of night falling - very apt, especially as he had no idea what it was called before he drew his picture!


Then on Wednesday we fancied a bit of what is known in our house as 'arty-farty' so we made some very simple spring bunny collages, inspired by the rabbits that we saw on our walk the day before.  I had seen a simple art project on Pinterest and we adapted it to show a springtime field as background to our bunnies. Nothing too demanding, just a nice little piece of work...

"Awesome the Bunny" by Youngest

"King Alfred the Bunny" by Middle

"Benedict Bunny" by Eldest

"Flopsie Bunny" by Mummy

Yesterday we had a book-quiz based on The Story of Chocolate (Usborne) - the boys received a small chocolate reward each for getting the quiz answers right.  Then we had friends coming to play in the afternoon so we had a bit of a baking session: Youngest made some ginger-hogs, using a hedgehog cookie cutter and a gluten-free vegan recipe that I found on Pinterest, while Middle made some cinamon crunch muffins and Eldest made some chocolate crunch from a favourite recipe, just replacing the vanilla essence with orange essence (chocolate orange is his favourite combination)  I made some cheese scones for lunch too!


With all of that baking done, it seemed a perfect opportunity for our 'poetry picnic'  We got the idea from Brave Writer's 'Poetry Teatimes', but as the boys are usually off engrossed in their own play by the afternoon, we thought lunchtime would work better - especially when it is as sunny outside as it was yesterday.  So we all chose a poem each and carried the books (Read Me First, Little Book of Poems for Young Children, and the Glow-worms poetry collection); and lunch outside to eat while we read to each other.  It was very civilised and we definitely want to do that again!


And finally this morning, while I have been catching up, the boys have been carrying out a challenge to build an engine-free car (basically using stored energy)  It took them a couple of hours but all managed to produce something that worked in the end.  Frustratingly for Middle, he had a working model (made of lego and a balloon) within minutes of starting, but in the process of 'refining' it he ended up using up the working part (balloon) from the original and taping it to the point where it no longer worked.  He did manage to use a sort of catapult-propulsion in the end though, so he could see it moving in the end.


Youngest also used a balloon and the inside of an easter egg box with some wheels from a 'connect straws' kit.  There seemed to be a leak letting the air out (not through the straw) so although it did move, it didn't go very far...


Eldest took the longest but was really happy with his design in the end: using part of a cardboard box and wheels made by hand, with an elastic band twisted around a rod that was then released - he won the "how far can it go" race, but they all got a small prize for completing the challenge.


I love seeing the different ways the boys create designs and solve problems - the only issue was that I couldn't help all of them at the same time, but Daddy was also on hand, and they all got there in the end - lots of fun!

So that turned out to be a really busy week.  In actual fact, it was probably no busier than the previous weeks where they boys have been following their own interests - but because I was more 'hands-on' and involved in the direction-setting, I have had a lot more to blog about  So if you anyone might be feeling inadequate by comparison, give yourself a gentle slap for comparing yourself in the first place - not a good move! - and remind yourself these are my highlights of one intense week... from the lack of blogging in previous weeks you can feel superior in comparison. Happy days!

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