Sunday, July 12, 2009

Numerical Oyster

It's wall-to-wall numbers at the moment. I don't know how many sets of Numberjacks I've cut out of paper in the last week. (For the uninitiated, the CBeebies show Numberjacks is about superheroes who are also numbers and solve maths-related problems.)

The Oyster is learning to count to 100. He frequently wants the numbers from 1 to 100 written out on a page, with circles around them, so he can colour in the circles. He usually does each column in a single colour, and I think he's working out various patterns.

He does like to go 1 2 3 5 4, 10 20 30 50 40, and so on, mind you. But he acknowledges that this is a personal quirk, and that he's simply choosing different labels to apply to the relevant quantities.

Have I ever mentioned "flower-1"? It's a very handy concept: a shortcut number that encompasses everything from 101 to 2000. So if you use it you can quite easily count up to, say, 2004, the year of the Oyster's birth. It's written with a flower (including stem and vase) and the number 1.

He's apparently synaesthetic around numbers. For the record, so I can compare later and see if it changes: 0 - dark blue, 1 - red, 2 - yellow, 3 - green, 4 - dark blue, 5 - red, 6 - yellow, 7 - red, 8 - light blue, 9 - dark blue, 10 - pink, 11 - green, 12 - light blue.

This activity all reminds me very much of the bit in John Holt's How Children Fail (or was it in ...Learn? - my copies are lent so I can't check), where he sits in his classroom with a roll of receipt paper and starts writing down the numbers in order, and the kids are dancing around in excitement and calling each other over to look - "Here's 88! Here's 129! Look - he's going to write 300 next!" - the simple fact of numerical progression being a new and exciting idea to some of them.

I love this stuff.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

BDCSF Badman Review: Going Solo

We've discussed it, and if the LA want to interview a child of ours alone, and the child doesn't want to, we will refuse. And as long as refusal seems to be the best thing for the child, we will continue to refuse.

If I believed that the solo interviews would be the best thing for any child, I would feel differently. I will do things which are very slightly harmful to my child for the sake of enormous greater good - like not attending playgroups when contagious, or getting vaccinations when my child is strong enough to withstand the illness should it arise, and so on. But I won't do things which are slightly harmful when there is no purpose to serve other than my personal convenience in avoiding a confrontation.

This is a fairly big deal for us - we're not boat-rockers, for all our activity in activist circles - but it's one of the few parental things where we are totally on the same page instinctively from the word go. And we've decided.

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