Friday, July 01, 2005

Oops – forgot to start blogging again

Now I’ve got a whole week to try and remember. Oh well, here’s the highlights:

  • We all went to a capoiera roda on the beach on Saturday evening. P. decided not to play - I think she felt a bit rusty after the holiday and exposed with so many adults there. It was great fun to watch, though, and a good chance for Allie to see some capoeira.
  • Leo and I made a bird’s nest on Saturday, following a suggestion in his Wild Times magazine from the RSPB, which was waiting for him when we got home. We gathered twigs and leaves from a nearby patch of grass, and lined it with cotton wool and fabric scraps. He put in an egg he bought at St Michael’s Mount and I added a nice stone egg from a mini-collection I started many years ago.
  • Leo is very interested in eggs and nests at the moment. He spent some of his leftover holiday money on a set of hatching baby reptiles from the Early Learning Centre, and is constantly putting groups of small things into bowls and boxes and declaring them to be nests of eggs (often dalek eggs).
  • Still on the egg theme, both kids and I decorated some blown eggs on Wednesday and Thursday. P. painted hers beautifully with hedgehogs and a starry sky. Leo covered his in papier mache and then painted this green when it was dry. I papier mached mine too, but with different colours of tissue paper.
  • Most of our HE group have been off camping together this week, but we met up with the only other non-camping family that was around, and had a nice time flying kites and throwing frisbees at Stanmer Park on Monday.
  • We went to our local park twice as well, with cousins. This was nice on Sunday, but a bit fraught on Tuesday, with various people finding themselves too tired/hungry to cope with the somewhat frantic atmosphere of the park after school on a sunny day.
  • P. went to Woodcraft Folk on Monday for a lovely, quiet session, mostly in the garden of the community centre.
  • Pearl and Allie went swimming on Tuesday – they were in the water over an hour, P. did lots of diving to the bottom and they had a good game of sharks. When they got home they looked at the chart of kings and queens, and had a good conversation about that.
  • P. and L. both played in the roda at the end of the capoeira class on Wednesday. Leo struggles a bit with the ‘find a partner’ bit in the group, as he is not well practised in that from school. He tends to just run around while everyone else sorts themselves out with partners, then get upset when there’s no-one left to partner him, or worse, he gets paired up with someone he doesn’t want to be with. I’m sure he’ll figure it out in the end.
  • Yesterday and today are both Beatrice’s birthday (Beatrice is Pearl’s beloved bunny - all P’s creatures have two birthdays, apparently). P. had wrapped a box of things before we went on holiday, and presented it to her yesterday. She also turned her knitting into a toy snake for Beatrice, by adding felt eyes, tongue and tail, and wrapped this up to be today’s present.
  • P. made cheesy scones with marigold petals in at the grandmothers’ house on Thursday, and she and Allie had a quick French lesson there. Meanwhile, Leo and I had an educational trip to the supermarket. (I’m sure it was educational – he seemed to enjoy it, anyway).
  • P. has been reading more about the Second World War – we found the My Story book (can’t remember the title) in a bookshop in St. Ives, and finished it this week. Then she reread Doodlebug Alley, which she loves. She’s going on an Evacuees Day at Michelham Priory next week.
  • We had to buy ourselves a Monopoly set, having discovered it in the Isles of Scilly, and we’ve had a couple of games this week. Every time we play, Leo is quicker at adding numbers on the dice, counting out money, reading chance and community chest cards, and so on. Though it can be a bit too long sometimes, both of them are able to concentrate and follow what’s happening right to the end of the game.
  • Leo is delighted to have Discovery Kids back, and they are both pleased to see Power Rangers Generations being shown on Jetix.

Allie and P. had quite a difficult conversation on Wednesday about writing, when it was clear that there was something troubling P. about it. While Leo was gleefully filling in boxes on an Enchanted Learning printout about holidays, P. seemed stressed and deflated by it. Turns out, she is feeling that she had lost her confidence with writing – the words seem to come out wrong when she tries to do it, and she gets frustrated and cross.

We have not been making many suggestions, or wanting to push her to do written work, and we were openly quite scornful about the endless handwriting practice they made her do at school, but we think we may have left her feeling a bit abandoned with the problem of how to get her ideas onto paper easily when she wants to. She’s used to being able to do things very well when she chooses to do them, and I think she’s thrown by finding this more difficult than she used to.

We’re also not sure about how best to help her to make the transition from being at school, where they tell you how to fill your every minute, to autonomously choosing your own activities. It’s a skill in itself, deciding what to do and when to do it, and as we made her go to nursery school at three and a half, then school for three years, it’s not something she’s been developing naturally up to now. So while we thought she was choosing not to do written down stuff, she was actually feeling like she couldn’t do it, but wasn’t able to tell us that or ask for help.

Allie and Pearl decided to work together on practising their handwriting, and we’re hoping this will get her back into the habit of it, so that writing is less of a problem for her. She seems happier since they talked, so I hope that’s a good sign. God, this is complicated sometimes.


Heather said...

Pip seems to enjoy handwriting when she copies out funny jokes and favourite poems.

Sounds like you've had a busy, fun week :-)

a said...

Only just realized you're back from holiday! (which looks lovely, I love Cornwall, not been to Scilly Isles but always think look beautiful too)
Good luck with P's writing, at least it's become clear what's going on, that's probably the most important thing.

Jayne said...

It is nice for them to have some semi-structured choices when they feel a bit wobbly.
Lots of things lurk around for ages in my house for those i can whip them out and say well you could do this, this ,this or this ...if you feel like it!
Doing writing in a decorative way a haiku on a scroll....???

Dani said...

Thanks everyone, for your support and ideas. We're all feeling a bit better now - having talked about it seems to have really helped.