Tuesday, 5 April 2016

New Week, New Mood

Last week was lots of fun and very busy in a structured Home Ed kind-of way, with all of us fully engaging and enjoying ourslves.  However this week started with a very different vibe.  Eldest really struggled to get out of bed yesterday which slowed his morning right down.  Middle was just in 'mooching' mode, and Youngest hit a huge wall which conflicted with my own stress.  It was over MathsWhizz, which is never usually an issue, but Youngest had been struggling with a particular lesson for a while, and doing everything he could to avoid it, to the point where it had become an insurmountable beast in his mind.  The thing is, I knew he could do it, and although I had been using the 'back-off until he's ready' method which usually works, this time it was making it worse and I knew we just had to push through to overcome.  Man, was that painful?!  It took over an hour of him whining, complaining, resisting and doing everything in his power to persuade me to let him off.  Eldest and Middle finished their maths and watched a Brainpop UK video each with test at the end, while they waited for Youngest to finish (Eldest got 8/10 on Exoplanets, and Middle got 10/10 on Internet Safety).  We did a sum at a time, and each time I had to draw on untapped levels of patience, sometimes through gritted teeth, to help him to just read the questions without his defenses of "but I can't do it".  It has to be said, my patience ran out repeatedly, but not as often as his did.  We did get there in the end though.  Sadly I am far from convinced that he has the confidence to know as I do that actually he can do that particular type of sum, but at least he has passed it in the programme now, so he will move on to other questions that he is happier with.  We were all exhausted by the end, so it was a relief to have a lovely art project to turn to.

It was a Deep Space Sparkle project on flamingos, so first I showed the boys a Youtube clip of a flamboyance of flamingos doing a mating dance - very amusing.  Then we watched the clip from Fantasia 2000 set to Saint Saens Carnival of the Animals, and then watched the video instructions from DSS.  It's part of her sixth-grade (year 6 here) curriculum, so I knew it might be a stretch for Youngest, but he was fine.  I didn't get to do my own picture this time as there wasn't space at the table (the boys were using A3 card) so I was free to help Youngest, and he did really well.  I never tell the boys what level the art lessons are aimed at as I don't want to set limits on their expectations - it's all about enjoyment and freedom in self-expression anyway.  As usual, I love the finished results...

by Youngest

by Middle

by Eldest

Today has been a much gentler day.  The boys all started with Literacy Planet, which they set to whatever level they want, so they can do super-easy lessons if they want/ need to.  They also did a book quiz (free PDF here) on "Weather" by Catriona Clarke, and then we did a spot of creative writing.  We started off by doing an exercise on 'cliche-busting', as found on the internet.  As part of the exercise we all had to come up with new ways of looking at and describing things.  We particularly liked "eyes like beach-balls" (Youngest), "rough as the road" (Middle),"spiky days" (Eldest), and "as soft as Mummy's tummy" (me).  Then I asked the boys if they could write a poem or piece of descriptive prose using at least one of their new phrases.

Night is Lovely
by Youngest

Night is lovely
It's black like an 'off' TV
owls, hedgehogs, badgers come out at night,
suspicious about our black camera-trap.
Stars and the moon come out as well,
making it feel a friendly black.

Where Rain Comes From
by Middle

If you have wondered
where rain comes from I'll tell you.
It comes from men driving clouds
When they are sad
they cry sky tears
which turn into rain

The Man on the Other Side of the Road
by Eldest

There's a man across the road
Who claims he's friends with a toad
He wears a top as white as sheep
He walks down the hill without making a peep
From inside his room
He makes quite a boom
From a machine he won't show anyone soon
He wears an odd hat
That holds a sleeping tail-less cat.
You could say he's bizarre
When he's driving a car
Especially when he doesn't take it that far.
Despite being weird he's quite a nice chap
Who takes care of a snake that likes to sit in his lap
An in case you wondered, the man across the road
Is actually friends with a toad.

Any resemblance to anyone is purely coincidental and I apologise if I offended anyone :)

I do love the writing they produce - it's one of my favourite bits of Home Ed, getting to see and enjoy their creative 'masterpieces'!

Finally today we watched a DVD on Earth Science while we had lunch (the boys really like the 'rock' song on the three types of rock), and now Daddy is taking the boys out.  That was a much better day - here's hoping the rest of the week stays this way now!

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