Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ramona Forever!

Linnea and I are having a wonderful time. I mean, she's ill, and on antibiotics which mean we have to seriously schedule her eating opportunities, but she found a Ramona book (Beverly Cleary) and liked it, so I've been ordering the rest from Abebooks and when they arrive we pounce on them, argue over who gets to read it first, talk about them - it's a wonderful, wonderful experience.

She also sat with me today to watch a signed story and we both loved it.

And she has been learning, of her own accord and with great determination, to do the laundry. Sorting loads is still tricky - we had to do a colour-run remover session yesterday. But even so.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Same ole same ole

Not a lot happens, in home education. We live our lives. We got a new toy - Fraction Cubes - and Linnea is learning to add fractions with more accuracy than she had before. We have been drawing plans of the upstairs of our house, so that we are ready for the Great Bedroom Shift, when we rearrange so that what was planned as a two-adult bedroom arrangement is turned into a two-adults-and-three-children arrangement, rather than a series of bodge jobs, as it has been.

Managing change creatively is one of my biggest challenges. Linnea resists change, hard, and is upset and alarmed by it, pretty often. Emer is learning this from her, though it's not as serious, it's just mimicry. So things like getting them to help draw up the plans on A2 paper with oil pastels can make a huge difference. As can doing the change gradually and where they can see every stage of it.

We started today, by getting rid of things to make space. It went ok.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New resources!

I just discovered Khan Academy. Given that the seven-year-old spent today wandering around saying stuff like "I want to do number bonds!" and has been craving what I think of as tedious repetition in maths, this is brilliant. One grows tired of setting these things oneself and for some reason long sheets with dozens of exercises on a page don't appeal to her, she wants dozens of exercises but no more than three to a page, if you see what I mean.

Emer found it dull, though. Emer, in fact, has been wondering whether she might like to start school. We Shall See. Now that Linnea is getting actual sleep almost every night, instead of having prolonged anxiety attacks, or attacks of anxiety, rather, we have far more options available to us.

Emer's big thing of the day was reading to me. She read me almost all of a Big Bear, Little Bear book - she has it almost word-perfect, which makes me think she's genuinely reading some of the words as memory-joggers. I hassled and harassed her big sister into performing "reading" for me, and it's lovely to see it happening naturally for Emer, now that I've learned to leave well alone.

And Astrid can take one step, and says "Up" and "Ush" (push) and all our names and everything.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


A quick check in conversation shows that both my children understand quite a bit about fractions. I must try to find some slices-of-pie toys for them to play with.

I'm not sure when it becomes important to bring manipulating fractions from conversation to working on paper. I remember learning how to do it at school but not what I already knew.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Tell me again why I think this is a good idea?

Days like today are so tiring. Things didn't go the way I wanted, and I repeatedly wished I could just hand at least one child over to someone else for six hours a day, to someone who was at least being PAID to be at odds with her. If I could get rid of all of them for a while, at least I could stare at the wall and drink tea.

But of course that's not the real right answer.

It's tough right now. I have two school-age children with very different social and academic needs and preferences, and balancing them is extremely challenging. They go through emotionally difficult patches at different times, to different intensity levels, and part of my job is to keep one child's traumas from having a serious impact on the other children, without neglecting the needs of the upset child, either. Meeting the enthusiasms of two people at once, while meeting the needs of an almost-toddler, is tricky, too. I'm not sure whether dealing with upset or interest is harder, actually. One of each is hardest, I think.

I'm beginning to think that I need to be more scheduled, because something in me says that a schedule makes everything easier. But will it? If I'm getting 5-6 hours sleep in 3-4 chunks on a good night, will scheduling my day really make that much difference?

I have a week of solo parenting coming up now. I might try to use the time to figure out where I'm going wrong.

I mustn't forget to bring the cardboard mobius strip in from the garden, either. It's huge, and it will rot in the rain.

Friday, July 01, 2011

TWO! Two reading children!

Aha! My eldest reads like crazy, though we are now beginning to keep up with her intake ok, but the middle child didn't much want to until lately. It turns out that in spite of not wanting to she can read the names of almost all the characters in the "Floppy books" (Oxford Reading Tree) and a few things like "a," "the," "and," etc.

I have bought a bunch of Key Stage materials so that I have some idea of what other people will expect them to know. Looks like they know pretty much most of it and I can see about filling in the gaps if that looks appropriate. We Shall See.

There's nothing in there about their areas of special interest, though, because I got the stuff in WHS. Human Anatomy, Sewing, Growing Food, and Cooking aren't part of the under-sevens tested standards, it seems - literacy and numeracy are the big ones.

Ah well. I've never been very big anyway.

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