Tuesday 27th March 2007
Full up life
It’s been a very full day. We got up slowly –Leo has been very tired for the last couple of days. I think it’s fall-out from his party – he was so excited and had such a great time. He eventually woke up at about ten. He set about writing thank you notes.
Pearlie spent the morning working on invitations to her party (their birthdays are five weeks apart) and trying to make sure that all the complicated instructions were clear! Leo watched some Class TV, which was a bit of a mixed bag. We like the old ‘Look and Read’ programmes and both the kids enjoyed a ‘Middle English’ programme last week. But today it was ‘Starship’. Here’s what the web site says about the aim of that programme:
the aim of making learning fun and provide plenty of opportunities for children to practise and remember things, as they prepare for their National Tests at the end of Key Stage 1.
All I can say is that the test element is very much to the fore. I eventually lost patience when they delivered the message that children should have their whole story mapped out before they embark on a piece of creative writing. Of course, that is because they need to complete their SATS writing in a restricted piece of time. The timed essay is a vital element in public exams, but isn’t it sad that children of seven should get the message that they should have their stories all mapped out before they start? I have written several stories that took me somewhere I had never planned to go – and they have often taught me something quite surprising about myself.. But there’s no time for self-discovery when you’ve got your KS1 SATS to complete.
The kids drifted off to their rooms to practice drums and keyboard respectively.
We had a quick lunch and then the kids spent a lot of time trying to get ready to go out to Squeezebox. When we finally got underway I realised we’d forgotten Leo’s folder and the cash we needed to pay for the lessons… We had, however, remembered the heavy skateboard with handle that Leo bought recently – joy!
Once we got to Squeezebox things perked up! P and her band had a really good session. I read some of ‘Eragon’ to Leo, while we waited for his class. I am quite looking forward to reaching the end of ‘Eragon’. It is a good book but I think it could have been edited quite ruthlessly and gained from it! I guess I’m not very used to the fantasy genre – the books always look like doorstops, so it must be necessary. I think I was rather spoiled by the ‘Edge Chronicles’, which are beautifully written and so well crafted that they never seem to drag. ‘Eragon’ does occasionally include passages that seem to have been written to impress… Mind you, who am I to criticise? I couldn’t begin to write such a thing!
While Leo had his class Pearlie and her band mates walked round to the park. I was a bit anxious about the big, dangerous roads, but P assured me she’d use all the crossings. She is very sensible and, of course, experienced at crossing roads. Being aware of traffic, kerbs, safe crossing points and all that is one of the benefits of living car free. Of course that doesn’t guarantee safety but I think that knowing all the routes we walk, and being so used to walking round town, does help her confidence.
Leo had a great session and is going to play with P’s band, in preparation for the June gig. We’ll see how that goes. But the one to one lessons have really helped him and he and the teacher are more used to each other now – so I think it’ll be fine. He told me today that Squeezebox is better than lots of chocolate bars and £20 pocket money a week – so I know he’s enjoying it!
After Leo’s session we went round to the park and found P running about with her friends. It was a beautiful, sunny day and the schools had just chucked out, so it was heaving. Leo ended up finding two cousins (B and D) and he was happy playing with them and various home ed friends. P accidentally dropped a heavy metal catch on her friend’s head but he seemed ok after a while – poor thing. I scoffed choccy cake and drank tea and chatted to people.
On the way home I was just pleading with the kids not to load me down with their possessions and run off , when I realised I was standing next to the LA home ed officer! Whoops!
When we got home P went out again to meet Dani from work, but somehow they missed each other. Then there was a ‘Fawlty Towers’ type half hour as they took it in turns to come home without each other! Poor Dani had taken a detour on her walk home, to post a letter, and missed P. Eventually they both came home together.
This evening Pearlie and I spent time doing Kakuro together and Dani and Leo played Mousetrap. P is very slick at doing Kakuro these days. Leo triumphed at Mousetrap – again!
Leo complained of a headache and ‘feeling hot’ at bed time. I really hope it isn’t the start of some illness. He’s gone to bed with a dose of Nurofen and one of those cool sheets on his head. We’ve never used those before but I got given some that came free with a nursing magazine at work!