Sunday, January 30, 2011

Progress and development

It has all been very informal and unstructured around here lately. Linnea has been practising reading; occasionally I hear her working hard on punctuation, reading things aloud with different inflections to work out what the punctuation marks mean. She also reads to Emer, especially late at night after they've gone to bed and turned off the light. Emer has been writing, and painting. She likes to copy my ways of painting, I think to learn how to "do it right." She does still improve on my ideas and techniques, though, so she's not following me blindly, so that's ok.

They are both casually number-aware. It turns out that Linnea figured out and memorised, at some stage, which colour Cuisenaire rods are which number. I haven't worked that out, what with them not being my toy, so it's a bit confusing when she asks me for a specific one and I don't hand it to her immediately. And Emer's not as clear on number-bonds up to ten as Linnea was at her age, but is a lot clearer on occasionally doing what she's told, so I'll take what I can get here.

Other languages have fallen slightly by the wayside lately but I'm sure they'll be picked up again. I might try to find a conversation group of some sort, though given how they are about attending groups, perhaps not.

And art is big, as usual. We all have tiny little Cotman/Winsor & Newton watercolour sketching sets, and last night we spent ages sorting out huge stacks of artworks. Oil pastels, Pitt markers, watercolours, poster paints, oil paints, crayons, biro, pencil, acrylics. We throw away more than we keep and we keep tens per week.

Oh and Emer has starting making up rhyming couplets.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Five in a row again

Today we read Papa Piccolo. Well, first we walked to town in the rain, because a laundry disaster meant I had to buy disposable nappies. So we ate out, and popped into the only art gallery I knew of, The Lemongrove Gallery, so that the children could see what an art gallery is or does, and some paintings other than mine or prints. That succeeded pretty well. I am hopeful that I can sort out some careful visits to "proper" art galleries later. It helps when they know a bit about what to expect.

One painting happened to be of a couple of gondolas, titled "Venice, Italy," which was handy. When we got home we read Papa Piccolo while we drank our hot chocolate (full disclosure: there was a huge tantrum in the middle of the going home part, and a literal and figurative cooling-down period) and I discussed families and what adults lose and gain when they have children, and then the children read it again later with someone else. You see, our visitor this evening was a good friend of the family who has actually been to Venice, in person, and she was able to tell them all sorts of interesting, engaging things about it. So they had her read the Dolphin in the Grand Canal book (thanks, Tinderbox!), and then Papa Piccolo again, and I fully expect that tomorrow all sorts of things will happen. I anticipate some questions on glass-blowing, for a start.

It was nice to be back in the educational swing of things.

Meanwhile, have a gawp at this map:

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Peering and painting

I've started painting. I had a bit of an emotional crash, and realised that I need to make sure I attend to my own mental health so that I can be properly available to the children, and so I bought an easel.

So the children and I have been using water-based oils on canvas, watercolours on proper watercolour paper, etc. Oil pastels on heavy watercolour paper was popular too.

Also, they've been interested in the little microscope, and I keep finding it out places, where they're been looking at nectarine leaves or citrus peel or a friend's split hairs or something.

And they're reading to each other a lot.

Oh, and counting and using numbers.

And preparing food; Emer is getting very good at chopping bell peppers for bolognese.

Somehow it's all working, even though no-one has had much interest in Five in a Row for a little while. It will be interesting to see when that rekindles.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Operation Maternal Kindness is Go

The new storage works beautifully. They are much more willing to tidy up than they were, and they appreciate that leaving things lying around gets them broken or hurts me, and they seem fairly on board with my right not to be hurt by their toys. In return, I have a Things To Glue box, and some of the broken toys are going in there to be repaired, if I feel they are fixable.

We haven't had huge blazing rows much, and we have had several instances of pleasant times together.

I am planning on offering real Five In A Row stuff again starting on Monday; I haven't decided what to start with, really, but I think it would be nice for them to have something to do. Their new maths workbooks have arrived and they like working through them, too, sometimes.

This is the year Linnea will be a reading learner. Gosh.

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