Thursday, September 16, 2004


Sorry I haven't been blogging much. Paul needs the computer a lot at the mo as his studies are significantly MORE this year, so I get less PC time. :( We need a lap-top - honestly - we really do!! Paul would like one so that he can takes notes in lectures and then work in the lounge of an evening - sounds ideal to me, but we shall have to see what money comes through...

Good things that happened this week;

We got given a car - a Ford Mondeo. Not big enough for all of us at any one time, but a real bless ing all the same - will be very useful for Paul next year. One hitch - neither of us can drive, so now that is WAY up there on the list of priorities!! Paul has been practicing 3 point turns in the yard (yes, our yard is that big even with my Mums Astra in it!!), which is braver than I have been. It's diesel too - so low fuel costs - big boon - :)

Ellie is crawling - have I already told you that one?

Abbie had her first Ballet lesson on Saturday and adored it. :) I'm hoping it will help her with her pigeon toed-ness and improve her 'way of moving' (she is not the daintiest of girls!), but if nothing else I want it for her (and believe me, she really wants it too) because I never had it!! Here's a pic of her dressed and ready to go. She looked a lot less neat when she got home!!

Prima Ballerina!

serious about this

Another good week of school and it definitely seems to be getting a whole lot more fun this year. Joel is so applied for a nearly 6 year old and really understands the concept of reward. "Get this done quick and you can..." Jacob does understand the idea, but struggles with the application and with attention. He also still wants to check he is going to write the right thing before he rights it ALL the time - which is very infuriating! We had a chat today about it and I explained that I actually would like him to pick his own brain a little more often and 'have a go' and then we can talk over what he has written afterwards. I think it got through - tomorrow will tell...! That said we have only a couple of head-on battles this week (which is not just a school thing, it happens about all sorts of things and is more about personality than school - gladly!) which is a major improvement and today he did his Maths in 20 minutes which meant he had time on 'Rainbow Rock' ( a maths CDRom that compliments Singapore Maths) to help cement this weeks lessons in his brain. Joel, on the other hand, is really struggling to commit number bonds to memory. He is normally fabulous with 'memory' stuff, but the numbers thing has got him stumped. So we played with the 'rods' for about 30 minutes (he gets those fine) in the hope of helping him to remember colours ( + = blue) if not numbers initially, because he can then translate the colours to numbers with no problem. I'm not stressed about it though - we were here with Jacob a year further down the line. I know that if we stick at it he WILL get it in the end. I just don't want to bore him in the process. I think we will keep at it until the end of next week and then move on. We can always come back - and I know we will anyway. And we always have Rainbow Rock to help us!!

I went to Ikea on Monday morning with a friend, and bought 3 bookcases (my friend has new Vectra estate)!! Then stayed up until 2am sorting books. One bookcase has boxes of toys on, but the other two are 2/3rds full already. It was nice to clear some space in my other overcrowded bookcases, so that I could actually pull just one book out at a time instead of four! My house is looking more and more like a library - though not to same extent as maybe Jan's does ;) ! We are now up to 5 bookcases and a cupboard almost full of books - not bad for someone who does not have a love of reading!! I feel so much more organized now. A shelf for this and a shelf for that...and the children seem to be able to lay their hands on books easier too. I did try to make it 'child mind' friendly when I was sorting them all.

My friend Cath is coming over to do 'Art' with the boys at 10 in the morning - looking forward to that and I haven't told the boys yet, so that will be a nice surprise for them. They both love Cath and she is so imaginative - I know they will have a great hour with her. :) The girls will be out at Playgroup, so they won't be missing out and maybe I can catch up on some cleaning that seems to have gone sadly amiss for a few weeks. :(

my little pre-schooler!

Had the CIS insurance man over tonight and bought Life/Critical Illness cover and a Savings Plan (we asked them to come) - neither of which we have had for a number of years and were well over due. Tick that one off my list! :)

And on the subject of my title...My friend has asked me to teach/help her little boy with his reading. He is in the same school year as Joel, but whereas Joel is 6 next month, he only just turned 5 last month. His school have used the Jolly Phonics reading scheme, but although Dom' can read a little he is struggling (or at least the school say he is. His Mum is not so sure...). The school have said they are thinking about giving him remedial reading lessons! I just think they have no brains - he is only just 5!!! His parents and I think this is crazy and it's just that he was too young when he started to really take it all on board. So... Dom' is going to come round here once a week (Joel is his best friend) and I will re-teach him from the start, doing about 20-30 minutes of work. I may have to do two letters at a time (but hopefully as it will be a kind of 'refresher' that will be OK) and set his Mum 'homework' to go over with him in the week. She has said she will buy the JP workbooks and I will say what I want him to cover. I'm hoping Joel will join in a little to make it more fun and less 'chore-like' for Dom'. When we have reviewed the basic letter sounds, and he can read to a reasonable level (like where Joel is at now), Joel and him can do a bit of stuff together. What we are really aiming for is him not getting too far behind his classmates because Michelle (Dom's Mum) can already see that it has made a dent in his self esteem and she is sure he has heard people tell him, or he has overheard them say, he can't read. So now he thinks he can't and we need to show him that he really CAN. Poor little lad - 5 and already the system is failing him. :( It's weird though, but I have always thought it would be lovely to have a small group of children in my front room all learning together in a friendly, self-paced, unthreatening way... Maybe this is the start of things to come - a little earlier than I had anticipated. Michelle has offered to pay me too (I've not decided on that one - I like to help out my friends and I just want to see the little boy thrive, but the money could be useful!!).

Still waiting to hear about the MIT - let you all know as soon as!!


karen said...

It's great to get everything in it's place and know where to find it isn't it Caroline? I have done the same as you and everything (I want her to get) is at Little chick's level including books. The fact that your friend wants you to help her boy read is a testament to what she sees with you and your children so well done.

Barbara said...

Nice to have an update, Caroline :) (Says she who is a week behind on her blog too.) Fantasitic news on the car front!

We also went to IKEA and bought book shelves this week and E also started ballet on Sat too, lol.

Joyce said...

Hi, Caroline. Just had an email from Sandra to say the stuff is in the post - which I thought was really kind of her, as the cheque couldn't possibly have had time to clear. I had asked if she could get them to me fairly soon, as I would like to take them on holiday with us, but hadn't expected her to move quite so fast :-) She is also thinking about stocking FIAR as well, which would be great. I think JP is a wonderful support for kids who find reading isn't just easy, and I don't think we would be where we are today without it.

Jan said...

Abbie looks so grown up in her ballet kit, doesn't she. And I think she was very graceful when she and C and M were doing their dance in the circus here.

So glad school's going well after all your hard work and planning. I plan lots of things I'd like to do and they don't work that well - it sounds like you really understand your children.

Caroline said...

Jan - I'm working on it & I hope I am getting better(I have had seven and half years practice already - I'm just hope it doesn't take me as long to learn to drive a car as it is doing to learn how to get the best from my children!!), but I still fly off the handle at the silliest things all to easily. :(

Caroline said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Caroline said...

Karen - thankyou!
Barbara - deja vue!! LOL!
Joyce - yes, Sandra is a star!! She has always been sooo helpful and FIAR is a good idea for her I think. No-one else in the UK stocks it as far as I know, so that could really give her buisness a boost.