Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Whoops, overdid it

I came to an exhausted halt yesterday after a trip to the library and the playground and a short visit with friends. I dunno, all I'd done was the laundry and meals and cleaning and tidying (Tuesday is our day for that) and fed the baby and got everyone dressed and out and...

Oh, right.

Anyway, we are also reading a book Linnea has been looking forwards to for ages and ages. Well, I say we are reading it. It's our Five in a Row book, and we read it on Monday, and again on Tuesday.

But we didn't read it today and we only read it once per day anyway.

Because this gloriously yellow an orange book with strong, bold illustrations and amazing use of colour is all about slavery, and specifically about - punchline! - a child born into slavery.

Hoo-rah. We've discussed slavery fairly often over the past few years anyway and it's not an appealing subject. It's a big hairy disappointment to find slavery in this beautiful book, like an enormous caterpillar in a salad. It's like the horrible ostracism in Camille and the Sunflowers where that weirdo Vincent is hounded out of town, in among all the glorious paintings and joyful flowers and zest for life.

If a kiddiewink book is going to depress me, could it please telegraph this ahead of time with drab, miserable colours, perhaps rainfall on the front cover and ominous clouds on the back? Not huge sunsplash and sunflower scatterings? I didn't warn Linnea until last week that her beloved Sun Book wouldn't be happy.

Oh well. The Oxford Reading Tree set may well be the best money I've ever spent on a book, in terms of hours-per-penny. Though the Peter And Jane stuff was really good last year when we were using it. Different times, different things.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Photo post

A lighthouse...

We invited people to lunch...

Our front hall has a giraffe and a flamingo in it, plus photos of the cousins...

And a train; engine and carriage:

We fully intend to look these little red mushrooms up in a book sometime soon:

Still can't read. Except can. Maybe.

I'm getting better at not being invested in her ability to read, I think. Today she read a level two book (with two words from me, both of which I heard her read earlier.) And she read I have no idea how many to "the twins," that is, the four-year-old and the baby, who lie on the floor Being Twins.

Also, she popped up and said "I'm Emer's age and half the same again, by the way," and popped down again. No idea why.

Thing is, the weather is glorious and today is not a good day for us to be locked into the house reading about these ridiculously named families.

(Mind you, I've been reading Diana Wynne Jones "Spellcoats," and that family is even MORE ridiculously named, so who am I to talk?)

Edited at 19:38: She just read a Level 3 book to me. I think we need more of these.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

No, can't read

So we got Oxford Reading Tree - Read at Home Collection in the post. Linnea can read the entire Level 1 set fluently, after a few minutes to look at them first. But she can't read any of Level 2, not even "the" or "an."

Hah. Maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Aiee, where did the time go?

Rob was away for almost two weeks. We did one Five in a Row book both weeks, or maybe for three weeks running, I'm really not sure now. It's "A Pair of Red Clogs" and it gave us a lovely excuse to watch Totoro again.

Turns out that although the children in Totoro wear shoes like the ones of the little girl's friend on the last page of the book, the father has clogs like the ones in the main part of the story. Yay for changing and developing cultures. It has led to some thinking about cultural influences and I anticipate some fascinating conversations when it percolates through. I was interested to learn that the children hadn't realised there was a link between Totoro and Clogs until they saw the father's clogs, and then they filled in all the gaps themselves. I think we need a better globe; they don't find the Van Der Grinten projection we have on the wall useful to internalise global locations, and our globe is tiny. I should start combing Ebay.

We also have a friend who had a book of Kanji and now the dining room wall is covered in them and Linnea keeps drawing first the character and then a picture to show what it means. Her favourites are Sun and Water. The Faber Castell brush pens we bought after trying them at a friend's are perfect for drawing them, too.

Because we read "Lentil" a while ago, we got some charcoal, and we used that the other day; most things went black and some things went grey, but that's what charcoal is for, so it was ok. I descaled the bathroom sink, too, because the charcoal dust clung to the limescale I hadn't noticed before; presumably this was easier than doing it after it was visible of its own accord, so that was nice.

We had friends over from Ireland for the first week of Rob's absence, and that was lovely. The children played together with very few all-out wars or inconsolable tantrums, and it was great to be able to talk to my adult friend in the peaceful interludes. That week we went to a birthday party and ERAPA too. The second week we stayed at home more, I think; the weather was a lot worse. It's all a bit vague.

Oh, but I have been putting all our MEP worksheets into ringbinders. It's interesting to see which worksheets they have repeated most often - found most interesting, I assume? - and the way they have both skipped all the most repetitive bits. I can also see when our old printer broke using only the MEP printouts to help, because we haven't printed anything beyond the first two sections of the first book. I hand-copied some stuff after that but mostly we didn't bother. We will now; Linnea in particular enjoys going over them, and trying a new one occasionally, and Emer likes to do little bits.

The anatomy/biology books are out again, muscles and nerve cells and cell walls and so on. I have a feeling Linnea is heading towards elements - she is digging down for the small stuff a lot lately.

And Astrid is just 10 weeks old. She has learned to bat things of her own accord, and seems to know that her hands are hers at least 75% of the time. It's hard to tell.

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