Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Plodding through a sleepy home ed week

Monday night went pretty well, we managed to meet up with friends at the Pokemon event and have a little play before admitting that Diana wasn't the only one excited about catching 'em all. We didn't catch as many as we expected but did nab a decidedly average Abra.

Tuesday rolled around with sleepy adults and a hyper baby. This "not really cosleeping" business is getting hard. If it didn't put my joints so badly out of whack I'd just go with it but instead my sleep is so messed up with cot transfers, cuddles and feeds back to sleep I'm just hoping for the end of the tunnel soon. Upon which moment I'm perfectly entitled to be all sad and moany about no more sleepy cuddles (it's the only time I get proper floppy relaxed cuddles, the kid is a constant live wire in the daytime.)

So my lack of sleep caused a minor rift in the Betty-Diana peace treaty but all was solved with the copious application of custard creams and Vimto squash. We pulled out a decent English dictation, quick chat about prepositions and a piece of research on panthers.

Diana had a bash at her Digimon game while I prepped lunch and then we headed out to challenge a local Pokemon gym. We sucked. I think the game is losing its shine for the 9yo with all these career players taking all the gyms and filling them with 2000cp Snorlax and Garrados.

Over lunch we chatted about future plans, college, universities, exams and why Mommy had to redo stuff and important lessons we can learn from this*.

The afternoon brought a new early years group where Turbo wandered happily and Diana made friends with the 4 and 5 year olds. This is a pretty new thing for her. She's always been a bit leery of smaller children, finding them troublesome in their inability to communicate or understand personal boundaries. It was nice to see.

Me and Diana hung out after tea while a tired Bert worked hard to keep Turbo amused.

Wednesday was all about an English workbook, trying out some joined up writing again, logic problems and touch typing.

Then we challenged ourselves on Action Quiz to test our knowledge of UK and Irish cities.

Lack of sleep (for me) continued throughout the week but we had a go at some maths and saw Grandad Train on Thursday with a library trip, sweets and a new Pokemon Go guide for Diana. Me and Turbo were treated to some of this awesome dairy and soya free chocolate, win!

And Friday, after a bit of comprehension work, was all about parks, friends and silliness :)

* 1. don't be a smug git; 2. actually turn up to classes

Monday, 19 September 2016

Average Monday at the Onions

Blimey, what a morning and it's only 10.15 😂

Turbo has the grumps for some reason, my boob hurts like a mofo (blocked duct from a dodgy nursing vest) and Diana's getting over a cold (cough, cough, cough). So, you can imagine how jolly this house is 😂😂😂

We've thrashed through some comprehension, tried some joined up handwriting, practiced spellings and worked on alphabetical order.

Since reading and writing came together we're working more on English skills that we hadn't previously delved in to. It's nice to see it all coming together now, minus the massive stress the whole process used to be. (let me tell you, my kitchen table has been well hidden under - and that was during her phase of *wanting* to do school at home).

The intention is to head out to this event later Pokémonday

But it entirely depends on which one of us implodes first.

Happy Monday everyone!

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Unschooling with a baby

Yeah, we didn't do that.

Honestly, the effort required to successfully provide a rich environment that was enticing and challenging to my (then) 8 year old was beyond me. I applaud anyone who can achieve that. 

For me, after a blissful start, I was stuck in the house for nigh on 8 months with a fussy pained little Turbo (reflux, dairy allergy, food sensitivities, tongue tie, wailing in the car seat...) He screamed for hours, fed for hours; it was all pretty sad. 

The only way I could save the situation for Diana was through regular family help and a sense of order: morning nap time was work time.

The regular hour we spent on writing, reading and maths has set us a good rhythm and Turbo is doing loads better and is such a happy little chap you'd never have known what we went through. 

Friday, 16 September 2016

Six secrets of a smug home educator

Cor blimey I was impressed with myself, home educating a 3/4 year old. It's easy to come off as an insufferable know it all when you discover home education. NP (that's the old nickname, she's chosen a new one and will be Diana henceforth) is 9 now and we've been through a whole bunch of stuff since those earnest early days. How about a look back now from the other side of early years HE? 

1) I'm really not talking about your kid.

If I bang on about square pegs, institutions, etc it's mainly because my kid was a pain in the backside about attending school, or I had a personality clash with a teacher who was my polar opposite. School might have been shit for us. It might not be for you. Everyone's got their own reasons for what they do.

2) I'm really not saying that you, personally, are a shit teacher.

I know you work hard and have skills beyond my understanding. Good for you. Let's move on.

3) It isn't all fluffy clouds, rainbows and self direction.

Sometimes it's arguments, tired people and raised eyebrows all round. Sometimes it's really shit and then you have to have a word with yourself.

4) Flexibility is the ultimate goal

You do structured home education with a colour coded time table and it's wonderful for a day. Then the 4 year old has a strop about cutting out pictures that start with the letter "s" and won't do her Jolly Phonics. So you unschool and strew and hang out at parks for hours with lovely people and it's all great. Then you panic, install a curriculum and blow it all to hell....Unschooling part two commences...and decommences....and then you "incentivise" learning...and it goes well and then you have curriculum and workbooks and they're half done or not done or thrown at the wall and then all of a sudden she can read and write and do maths and all the other things and you wonder what the f*cking hell was the thing that did it.
(my money is on *all of it*)

5) Socialising is probably the main thing we did for 4 years.

For hours at a time. I'm not kidding you. It was great. And exhausting. Can we go home now and do workbooks? No? OK then.

6) Burnout is inevitable

We are not superhuman. The smug lists of activities and facebook boasts are our way of making ourselves feel better for being shit human beings for half the week and feeding them ham sandwiches for 3 days running cos we've all got flu and cba.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Home Education 2016

Home Ed seems to be getting some positive press these days. It's kinda cool. When we started it was an absolute labyrinth to find out:

1) if there were home educators nearby
2) where they met
3) if we were welcome

For me, it involved a backdated search of a yahoo group and a few cheeky emails to a randomer I'd found who had once posted about a group that might have met on a wednesday 2 years ago. The person didn't even home educate any more, but was pleasant enough and supplied me with the proper information.

So I toddled off with the 3 year old in tow and found my people. 

These days a quick facebook search brings up 3 separate groups for my town alone, with more for the surrounding towns and cities. Spoiled for choice :)