Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Two busy days


Monday is our HE group day. We had a very successful book sale where each family brought along books they no longer needed and we sold them to each other for a flat rate of 10p per book. All the money we raised we decided to give to Comic Relief. Everyone really seemed to enjoy the sale – staffing their stalls and being customers. The flat rate kept all the transactions simple for our younger members and everyone went home with lots of exciting ‘new’ books.

We also did numerous other things – drawing, reading, chatting and quite a lot of time outside for a change. Pearl had a good time practising her football skills and Leo played various imaginative games involving lasers. The kids are all great and it is lovely to see their friendships develop week by week. I think Leo may have got into some argument at one point but he calmed down after flopping around on me for a bit while I read from one of his books. At the end of the session we decided on next week’s theme – the Victorians. Lots of scope in that one.

On our way home we spotted a two-drawer filing cabinet outside someone’s house. (In this area this is the first way of disposing of unwanted items – it works amazingly well!) I talked Dani out of bringing it home but later (when she and P were at Woodcraft) I felt bad and Leo and I went to get it . Of course attempting to transport a filing cabinet with nothing but a flimsy trolley and spindly four year old for assistance was somewhat foolish. After five minutes of heaving it about, bashing up my legs, trapping fingers and wrenching back muscles I realised it was impossible. I called my brother who lives along the road and he came, with his car, to my rescue. The filing cabinet is now in the kitchen where it is going to be the heart of a new organised way of storing the kids’ work.

In the evening Leo and Dani played with the onset and rime blocks – lots of reading and vocabulary extension. Pearl and I worked on a sheet that had Greek words that form the roots of English words. Pearl is very interested in these links and she came up with some brilliant words – fire hydrant, microchip, archaeology, astronomy. She is collecting a folder of stuff on ancient Greece at the moment.


Today was Leo’s day to go to my mum and partner’s house. Judging by the bits of garden wall he came home with I’d say he had been digging. He was certainly tired this evening but in a lovely jolly mood. He lay on the sofa between me and D demanding that we both tickle him.

P and I had a productive time in his absence. We watched some maths on schools TV which lead to a conversation about decimals.

Then we watched the final ‘Roots’ tribute programme on the DVD. There was nothing much to it so we decided to look online for some more information about Alex Haley and how he traced his family tree. This landed us in the middle of angry debate about how far the work was fact and how much fiction. It seems to be a minefield of a debate and the sort of thing where you can be easily misled online. P seemed quite unconcerned about whether or not the story was true. She knows a good story and appreciates a fab bit of TV so I think we have got a lot out of it – no matter what. One of the things I like most about the story is the sense it gives of how real, individual people lie at the heart of massive events like the slave trade. Sometimes I think the glib jolly history books that are often produced for children (though I really like a lot e.g. horrible histories) are so keen not to upset them that they take all the drama out. I know that it is through the stories of individuals that I have often been drawn into a period of history – be it through biography or fiction.

Pearl also decided to do some maths from a fairly crummy Letts study book. This was good as I made a fair few careless errors which we shared and laughed over!

P scooted frantically up and down the road as she waited for one of her old school friends to arrive. She initiated her friend in the mysteries of Zoombinis and Sky TV!

All tired tonight. I have battled a mighty pile of ironing and kids have had a telly fest. Dani and I have also eaten far to much warm banana cake – YUM.


Alison said...

How cool about the filing cabinet! The Cosmic Supply Company again, as another non-ring blogger would say :)

We used to do the 'putting it on the front wall/in the front garden' thing too when we lived in Oxford, and everything went without fail (even a bathroom suite), and we were a bit surprised when we moved here (fewer students, far more mainstream) and tried it and it didn't work! Bit of a pain, we ended up with a toilet in the front garden for months ;-)

Heather said...

rofl, Alison- maybe it was the fact that it was a toilet that reduced it's pavement appeal!!

'Roots' was my all time fav for years but I saw a terrible film version a couple of years back but this can't be what you watched with Pearl. I don't think it's important whether it's fact or fiction as it's based upon fact and that is part of what makes it such powerful reading, don't you think?
It sounds like you've got a great HE group. Heather.

Allie said...

Love the Cosmic Supply Company!

P and I have been watching the 1977 mini-series (12 hours) and she sat through the lot pretty much silently. Not in one sitting I hasten to add!

I think the fact/fiction debate is shot through with mistrust, racism, backlash and other politics and is very difficult to find your way through unless you do a lot of reading - and it probably helps if you are American.

But I tend to judge the importance of things for the kids by their eagerness to watch, read or do them. P snapped up every opportunity to watch Roots so I think it was a very significant experience for her.

Yep, our HE group is lovely!

Heather said...

I did mean "based" upon fact rather than implying I considered it factual iyswim!!
And I wholeheartedly agree with the 'eagerness' benchmark.