Thursday, September 09, 2004

Interviews......

Today was our big day - we had our interview to see if Paul will be accepted into Elim as a 'Minister in Training'. It's scary, as really our future as a family hinge-pins on today. We will not know for a fortnight. We think it went OK... watch this space :)

Because we knew we were out for half the morning I didn't try to cram a whole day's schooling in, but I am amazed at how much we managed to achieve anyway; Maths, Handwriting, R.E.(looking at an old traditional story (not Biblical) of Abraham and how he discovered the 'One True God' ) - the boys drew a 'story-board' which they seemed to quite enjoy doing together and was a good way to help them remember the story. I might try that for other topics too. And Jacob also did some Science.

Having had a reasonably good start to the week I can safely say it got even better. We have finished our first week of 'school' this year and with smiles all round I think. Jacob managed to do his Maths with much less trouble today - I sent him to work at his desk in a room on his own and with less distraction he cracked on. So maybe Maths needs to be a subject he does in quieter, less distracting place. The other subjects we have done this week he seemed to be much better motivated by the bustle of family life around him - like that made his imagination & thoughts come easier. We'll play that by ear, but I guess it makes sense. I have to remember to look at how Jake functions and forget about how I work, or even how I used to work as a child. For me I ALWAYS liked to be somewhere quiet and peaceful. I needed to 'hear' the thoughts in my own head (or numbers if it was Maths) in order to produce anything. Even now I cannot read or work well with noise round me (hence I don't read much - having 5 children!!) and if I am trying to read something that I have to act on or need to retain I really need hush for it to sink in. I find myself constantly telling the children to "be quiet, can't you see I'm reading? I'm trying to concentrate on this." - poor little souls!! How are they to understand what a hard thing it is for me to read amongst chatter and noise? Reading never really became a joy for me, because it has always been such hard work and required such intense concentration from me. But Jacob seems to be quite different. He seems to need constant stimulation of his brain in order for it to produce anything much at all!! That not meant to sound as if he is stupid - he is definitely not that - but just that he doesn't really do the 'fantasy' thing and so 'thoughts in his head' are an alien idea to him (hmm - some 'double en tongues' there I think!!) - he thinks almost everything out-loud (which can be very annoying at times, especially when it tells you that his thoughts are anywhere other than where they are supposed to be at any given time - and causes a constant stream of verbal diarrohea!!) - and when it comes to writing, he likes to check that his thoughts are acceptable before he puts pen to paper. The creative writing course that we are using this year is called "Just Write" and it is so aptly named and it is SO what he needs to learn to do - to almost write before he thinks about what he's thinking about too much! When we started it on Tuesday I must have said "just write" to him about 20 times in the space of the 40 minutes we were working - I'm hoping he will begin to say it to himself in time and get the hang of actually doing so. Jacob is a real thinker, but he thinks in very concrete terms, so everything is very black and white (which is VERY like me) and like I had to, he is having to learn that he has an imagination and how to use it - it does not come naturally to him (or me). So with 'stuff' going on around it is easier for him to exercise a little imagination because he can be fired by what is happening in real-life - iyswim.

Joel is verbally reluctant to do anything, but once we get started gets on fine and joins in enthusiastically. He moaned when I said we were doing R.E today because he thought it was going to be History again - which seemed odd as he had seemed to thoroughly enjoy History on Wednesday! - but once I started asking them questions he answered with gusto - so it appears it is all down-talk with him. I did end up doing a really 'teachery' thing by telling the boys to sit on the floor with their 'legs and arms crossed', purely to prevent them fidgeting and fiddling with the chalks and the blackboard when we were trying to have a together conversation about what they believed about God. I felt a bit mean, but having never been to school they just thought it was funny!! :) - and it is next to impossible to get anything sensible out of wriggly squiggly children, let alone get them to retain anything - although it never does cease to amaze me how much children can learn whilst seeming to be ignoring everything going on around them!!

As far as the 'schedule' goes, I have managed to stick to it for the most part, but I have actually used it more as a framework/checklist. It shows me at the end of the week what I have omitted to cover this week so that I can be more vigilant to cover those things next week. I think it would be next to impossible to get everything on the program covered every week. Things always get thrown out here and there - children don't work to scheduled time slots in reality do they - and nor do baby's bottoms (she says, having just rescued Joel who lifted Ellie off his lap to find poo all over it - and up her back and on her trousers - and... eeew) !!

My friend has agreed to take on the 'art' lessons and is going to do them fortnightly on Thursday mornings for an hour - when the girls are at playgroup - and leave the boys with 'stuff to work on' in between times. She has some great ideas up her sleeve and better still wants to tie it in with teaching them about God, expressions of ourselves and our relationship with Him, our uniqueness, etc... - this term that is. FAB - that's one less subject for me to worry about and I know she will do a far better job than I ever could with my ever-so-not artiness! I might just be able to manage DT - that's less about imagination and more about putting 'plans' into action - more my thing really!!

On the imagination subject - I really am looking forward to teaching my very 'fantastical' Joel and watching him blossom as he begins to find writing less of a chore - and even more so Abbie, whose whole life seems to be one made-up story at the moment. I am so glad that I do have children who don't struggle in this way, as it has always been such an obstacle to me. I really hope that the materials I have bought will only encourage their imaginations to grow and grow. That is what I am aiming at for all my children. I know that workbooks stand a risk of stifling creativity, but I hope that the ones we use will serve only as tools to equip the children and to spark ideas that they can develop at will. So far I have seen a marked improvement from where we left off last year - even in just a week.

I am a smiling Mummy today (P.O.T seeming to have passed now) ! :)
Wow - that was a mammoth post!


16 comments:

Joyce said...

Caroline - do you have a link for "Just Write" - I googled in, but couldn't find it. Thanks

Caroline said...

http://www.epsbooks.com/dynamic/catalog/series.asp?subject=11S&subjectdesc=Process+%26+Skills++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++&series=2625M

that seems a wierd link !! just try www.epsbooks.com and then look under writing - sills and process
hope that helps.

Caroline said...

the link does work though if you copy and paste it

Caroline said...

I've added the link into the post now. :)

Joyce said...

thank you :-)

Caroline said...

btw - if you like the look of it and want to order, a friend of mine can get them, so you needn't pay postage - www.ichthusresources.co.uk - Sandra will get you anything you like from epsbooks. :)

Joyce said...

Oh, I was just going to ask you if the postage is high. I'm not *really* a workbooky person, (LOL), but we have used Jolly phonics with great success, for my dyslexic dd. Having cracked the reading, we are now struggling with the writing part, and I'm looking for something to help her structure things a bit. Would you say its suitable for a just turned 8 year old. And don't mean to be offensive, so hope you don't mind me asking - I just wondered if they were secular? We just generally feel more comfortable with that. Thanks

Caroline said...

what's your email Joyce - I will email you a few sample pages if you like. If you have just mastered reading you might be better going with the 'write about me' & 'write about my world' books, which are less demanding on the physical writing front. I am using these with my nearly 6 yr old who has just finished JP likewise and they are just right. The 'Just Write' is what I am using with Jacob, who is 8 in May and it's fine for him, but he has been reading for two years now. Another thing you might consider is the follow-up to Jolly Phonics - Jolly Grammar. We have it for Joel and it is a nice slow intriduction to the process of writing, spelling, & grammar (of course). You can get that from www.jollylearning.co.uk or www.formativefun.co.uk.
And in answer to the 'are they secular?' question - yes all the epsbooks are secular, it's just that I use a Christian stockist to get my supplies! Actually most of the curriculum I use is secular - except for Geography, History & R.E (the Humanities we used to call it!)

Hope that's of some help to you. You can email if you like. pcjjap@wellyboots.fsnet.co.uk

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

Well, I hope it goes well for you with the interview, will look forward to hearing the results.

Sounds like your schedule is coming together atm, excellent.

Joyce said...

Hi, posted this last night, but it's never appeared, so try again - basically just to say thanks, and sent you my addie off-blog :-)

karen said...

Well done Caroline. Sounds like you are happy with the way things are going. Well done to all the children too for staying interested and working so well.

dottyspots said...

Best of luck for the outcome of your husband's interview :0)

merry said...

The sitting down and crossing arms and legs made me laugh - Fran is SUCH a fidget-bum - i usually send her out in the garden to do skipping or star jumps for about 10 minutes because it wears me out just looking at her!

I've decided i am going to give writing another year to just "progress" then if its still not coming together at 7 or so, i'll go and get something. We had LOADS of very formal Charlotte Mason/Sonlight type handwriting stuff at school but i'm still a very style-less writer. I actually thought that when the girls are ready to work on neatening it, rather than getting it, i might get something like Getty Dubay or whatever and do it with them!

Caroline said...

We do Getty Dubay - and I have always worked on the principle that we may as well get it neat from the start, so learning how the letters are formed and forming them well go hand-in-hand. That said...I'm not saying you are wrong (like I always maintain each child/family needs to do what works best for them). I remember being taught 'Marian richardson/ handwritting at school (and winning handwriting competitions with it) and then one year I bought an 'Italic Handwriting' book with the voucher I won and re-teaching myself a completely new style - all the letters were formed quite differently and it is this italic style that stays with me to date. But then I also do have another variations because I 'experimented' a lot with writing in my teens and looked at my friend's writing & fonts in books etc, decided which letters I liked the look of and mix 'n' matched them up. This concoction is my everyday hand and the italic is my formal letter writing hand. I enjoy having both at a good standard (although most of my letters are typed these days!:( )
So I guess what I'm saying is that teaching a neat hand at a later time can work well IF the child is interested (as I was very) and a girl is probably more likely to be interested than a boy is (generally speaking - sorry if that is a 'genderistic' remark!!), BUT I would say that correct letter formation is vital from the start because it is very hard to un-learn bad habits and habit is exactly what letters become. neatness is no big deal, but formation is. Well that is MY opinion - love it or leave it!!

Caroline said...

just for your info - Getty Dubay is very simple in the first couple of books - big and easy!