Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Loadsa learning - busy life

Monday morning the kids and I set off to our HE group. Theme this week was 'under the sea'. We were relatively few this week and people had brought lots of nice craft stuff to do. Leo happily made things with other adults to assist – including a salt dough creation with 'seaweed' on it. This was a cool effect created by using a garlic press. Pearl made a salt dough sea creature and also sat quietly reading for a while. At one moment there must have been eight kids in the room (with various adults) and everyone was working on something. It was totally silent for several minutes – totally spontaneously. I think this is pretty astonishing when you consider that the children are all younger than our P – most are five or younger. It was a really calm, relaxed atmosphere and I felt quite proud of us all that we manage to maintain a weekly group where the kids feel so at home.

After lunch and a long play out on the grass we all went across the road to a shop that sells fish and other interesting creatures – as it fitted so well with our theme. The shop people were wonderfully accommodating and I think the kids enjoyed it. Halfway through this trip Dani arrived and I left for work.

I think they had a pretty quiet time after the group with one nice little 'scientific discovery' moment to record. Leo discovered that when he placed a small plastic container (from inside a kinder egg) on the handle of his up-turned fork it flew pleasingly into the air when he pressed down on the prongs. His observation was:
"This is just like when Tom steps on the thing and it bangs him in the face!"
He was, of course, referring to that classic moment in Tom and Jerry when Tom steps on a rake. He experimented further with smaller and larger objects to see what would happen.

Today started with a moment of high excitement when a parcel came for Leo. It was a talking red power ranger which he had bought on e-bay – still boxed and perfect – for £3.99. He took this proudly off to the grandmothers' house.

Pearl asked to go to my work on the bus. We ate sandwiches on the way and chatted about all kinds of things. Pearlie seems very grown up these days. We returned some books and P chose some new ones. She was pleased to successfully re-shelve our returns – Dewey decimal system if you're interested! She sat and read a book on symmetry for a while. Pearl has always been very pleased with symmetry – a lot of her art is based around pattern and symmetry – see her domino creations of the other day.

On the way home Pearl suddenly started thinking about how many letter names are also words. She decided that 14 could be counted as words and when we got home she wrote a joke based on some of them. She wrote this down and then typed it up on the computer and printed out copies for various family members. Her computer skills are fab these days and this is something that has developed almost entirely since she came out of school. Anyway, as I have her permission here is her joke – read it out loud.

"I8AB, I8AJ."

"G, Y?"

"4 T!"

D came home after a full day at work and we ate yummy home made veg and bean stew. P didn't like the look of it so she had cheese and mashed potato. She hates mixed up food.

This evening I spent ages picking all the magnetic poetry words off the fridge – where they seemed to be getting stuck. Each one left a sticky black mark and it took hours to get them all off and then scrub the front of the fridge. It was a pain but they were expensive and I was afraid they would become permanently stuck if we didn't get them off soon.

Leo made some little books this evening. He talked about them a lot. They are going to be part of a series and I was allowed one on a seven day loan. (Library addicts, us?) They concern the care of Zords (sort of dinosaur machine things from power rangers) and have advice for owners. This book creation was entirely independent and very interesting – here are a few quotes:

"Sope
is
best
too
cleen
them"

"Thea (they)
u (are)
good
if
you
clean
them."

It is amazing to me how he can develop the skills needed to write intelligibly with so little input from us. I can only assume that this must be coming from his increased reading. We have never done any kind of 'sitting down' lesson in writing or reading but the two just seem to be feeding off each other and he is finding his way. Interestingly he is writing far more in uppercase letters than he used to. I think he finds them easier to form.

When I had finally finished sorting out the magnetic poetry I was playing with it and Leo read what I had made.

"My sister has a funny green monster and it ate my dinosaur. Next a fat man flew in a cloud."

He read it all without hesitation, except for the word flew.

So, loads of learning seems to be going on around here at the moment. We rounded off the day with a couple of games of cheat. Playing cards together is great fun – I remember loving it when I was a child. This part of their childhoods is so wonderful - and they would have gone back to school today – hooray for HE!

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