Monday, June 27, 2011

Ooh, evidence!

Because of our careless, happy go lucky, parentally disinterested take on education - um, or possibly child-led, it all depends - we don't often have clear evidence of what the children know or don't know.

But we happened to see the back of a book Linnea was reading to Emer the other day, "Until I Met Dudley," and it said Key Stage Two, so although it's a Baby Book by their lights, I can confidently say she's reading at the right Key Stage. And then later she made interconnected words with Bananagrams letters, and it turns out she does know the alphabet by heart, though she only ever sings it "wrong", presumably because that's funnier.

I have no idea what stage she's at mathematically but I expect I'll find a way to figure it out soon enough.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Where are we at, educationally?

It's hard to say. Today we harvested potatoes, and began making a costume for a Roman soldier, and I introduced Linnea to the concept of a radius and a compass (though, as with most of my maths-doing life, I didn't have a compass and I used string and two pencils instead).

Linnea is a confident reader and has that thing of mispronouncing a huge range of words because she's only ever read them at breakneck speed and never heard them spoken. She still prefers to read only NICE things though, not SCARY things.

I don't know where she's at mathematically; I vaguely intend to see if she'll do some workbook stuff sometime soon. She's perfectly capable of basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, but I've only tested it in context, not when it's fairly abstract. She likes fractions, as written-down-numbers; they're quite cool. Concentric circles are also cool. And weighing out a 30g portion of Rice Crispies was educational.

Emer is beginning to read a very little, but only a very little. She's confident at counting and all sorts of number manipulation up to ten, but a lot less confident up to twenty. I haven't a notion which shapes she can name.

Astrid today said "Down!" when she wanted to get down. And she's almost walking. She stands there, not holding on to anything, and tries really hard to lift one foot without unbalancing - then she decides that's IMPOSSIBLE and stops trying.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Behaviour management

Incidentally, it's twenty past eleven at night and the seven-year-old is running up and down her bedroom in the dark. She's been going for about fifteen minutes so far and isn't slowing down.

A photo for this week: Emer and Astrid

Behaviour management

It's so hard to figure out how to make people want to cooperate so that we can achieve the things they want to achieve. But I'm getting better at it.

Getting L out of bed and out of the house with no time to spare - no time to get absorbed in something - is key. Bringing her water and food and helping her get dressed helps a lot. It's impossible to get to her before she starts reading, so gradually interrupting that until she's out the door works well.

Then she takes off at a run.

She revealed to me on Saturday that she likes being early for her swimming lesson. She zoomed there on her scooter, swam, played while her sister was in the next lesson, then we spent 45 minutes in the playground, so she was almost able to sit still at lunchtime...

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Growing Potatoes

We had fun growing potatoes this year. We haven't finished yet - there's another bagful to harvest - but so far Emer and I have set seeds potatoes out in the sun to harden up the eyes, planted them, earthed them up, kept them watered, gently harvested the first batch with fingertips in the soil, pulled up the whole thing a week later for the last few, and examined the plant afterwards. Emer was very taken with the shriveled ex-potato surrounded by roots covered in tiny weeny baby potatoes.

I've already put us on the list to do it again next year. It should remind me to buy more potato seeds too, because growing them in bags is brilliant for me - we can just harvest a bagful when we want to, and we'll always know where they are and how many are left. And empty bags fold down for storage, of course.

Emer was impressed by sieving flour. I wonder what she'll think of sieving compost, come the autumn?

Operation "be a decent parent" is go

I started the day in a foul temper and screaming. Well, not started, but one mockery-and-taunting from a disobedient child was enough to get me there, when usually I can act like a grownup.

However, I wrote out a recipe for French Toast and Linnea did almost all the lunchmaking - I handled the hot frying pan, and Emer cut up the bread, but Linnea found the ingredients and utensils, mixed the lunch, etc.

The list of ingredients she got was as follows:

Bread - 2 pieces per person
Eggs - 1 per person
Milk - 2 tablespoons per egg
Oil - enough to fry in

She argued a bit about whether Astrid counts as a person, then figured it out and measured everything up. She didn't even make that much mess, by comparison with some grownups I've cleaned up after. It was a roaring success and we'll do it again.

Dealing with her querying what is healthy and what is not is harder. She also asked me "What foods make you fat?" to which I could only answer "Nothing makes me fat, I don't have the kind of body that gets very fat."

I also searched the online library catalogue with her and we've requested seven books which I expect will be waiting for us next time we go.

And we all did a bit of yoga, after our respective fashions, and that was ok.

Hairbrushing hasn't happened yet though. I kind of dread that one.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

A month?!

No-one would have believed it a decade ago but I have hardly touched a computer for weeks. I haven't opened the laptop for well over a week. The battery was so flat I thought it might be broken.

But I had to Freegle some stuff yesterday so I needed the laptop today to arrange collections.

And what are we doing?

Well, we have a new kitchen. The baby is ten months old. The garden is springy and the big girls are doing amazing things.

My eldest is reading voraciously. She's a rereader for comfort, as I always have been, and ploughs through four hundred pages in an afternoon if the text is familiar. The middle child is painting up a storm and several rainbows, lots of houses, etc, and cutting all sorts of brilliant shapes out of paper. The baby today took the globe part of our small-globe-on-a-stand and put it carefully on top of an empty margarine tub, then picked the lot up and showed it to me.

And I am seriously considering making either terrifyingly pretentious or very cool art. I can't tell which it is yet.

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