Thursday, June 29, 2006

The lost half...

Just to finish off yesterday’s post with the bit Blogger lost! It’s much more reliable to post from word, but I never know how many of you can see my nice script or whether  IE/Firefox customizes to a standard font. Anyway - that’s not interesting…but then the rest might not be either!!

I went out yesterday afternoon, supposedly to get some fresh air after being indoors for a few days. Paul has had study days and has therefore been out 9 am- 10pm for a couple of days, meaning kids, kids, kids for me! BUT I ended up still taking two shopping with me or leaving P. with two howling girls. So P & E came with me. P ended up spending her remaining birthday money on a new Flava doll and pretty necklace from Superdrug, so I guess it was worth her coming. E, on the other hand was a bit of a pain because by routine she would normally have been asleep at that time of day.

I got a couple of great books in The Works.. One was a drawing book with instructions for drawing cars, amongst other things, for Joel and a lovely primary level atlas for Boo. I’m planning on doing some basic mapping work with her early next year. I also got some Schofield ad Simms nursery activity books for P,. as the books I currently have for her she simply finds too hard. It’s perhaps not so much the concepts, but the writing aspect she struggles with.. She can’t seem to get the pencil to move across the page from L-R yet, but gets stuck going round in circles - Bless her! I would be happy for her to not bother at all and just play lots just now, but she is SO keen to learn and wants to included in school. I am still concentrating on getting Boo reading and writing with more ease and, although I don’t begrudge P some time, it’s not really what I want to be focusing just yet. It’s her turn after Christmas after all and then Boo will have to fend for herself a whole lot more. Thankfully, Boo is beginning to be able to read instruction in textbooks and work a little bit without me now :), which does afford just a little space for working with P.

Aside from all this industrious learning going on here atm, there is a whole lot more ‘general’ stuff too. Whilst walking in town P and A like to spot different shapes - ovals, rectangles, triangles for P and pyramids, cyclinders, cones and cubes, etc… for A. It’s quite a fun game and keeps them well amused, whilst also improving their observation skills and maths :) And then there’s the conversations that happen every day - always amusing, sometimes educational!

Life is good ATM and I am feeling blessed to be at home watching my kids develop right alongside each other. Joel is going through a majorly bossy phase, which is a trial for us all, but he’ll get past it and I know there is really nice kid underneath - somewhere, who I’m looking forward to seeing soon!! I listened in on a potential argument between the boys the other morning and I was impressed to hear Jacob negotiating with Joel in a way that diffused the situation and brought about a happy compromise (it was about who was going to be A’s boyfriend in their intricate Mums and Dads game - they were fighting over her - lucky girl!!). It’s good to see that they can do it , especially Jake - even if they don’t very often :) In some ways I long to have him at home again. In others I know it will still be a challenge when we try again for Yr7.

Caleb is very demanding for attention a lot of the time and we can both see a repeating of Jacob in his character. Let’s hope I really learnt the first time and can prevent some of the issues we had/have with Jake recurring with C. But C is very cute and this time I feel able to adore him in spite of him being hard work, whereas with Jake it got me down and I felt I was always fighting with him - nothing changes - and although I knew I loved him I really had to convince myself at times :(

Well that’ll do for now, or I’ll never have any visitors - you’ll all be so bored!

Blog later about today…

Not much to blog, but...

Maths - yup - Joel only got one wrong in his revision test today & that meant ALL his word problems were correct - we're getting somewhere :) !
English - yup - nice journal entry from Joel today on 'our garden' :)
Science - yup - ongoing experiment on moving molecules (dying water) + weather project which involved an experiment to show how warm air rises (more food colourings is water ) note to self - need to buy more food colourings!!
History - nope - tomorrow
Cookery - yup - made chocolate/plain shortbread 'windows' (so that's also science, maths, hygiene....all rolled into that too).
Had fun
- Yup! Played Othello with Joel today (thinking & reasoning) and let the kids play for ages on 'Arthur's thinking games' (Boo) & 'Jump Ahead Yr2' (Joel) - so that's IT too I guess :)
- bought a book in the works today that'll help Joel draw better cars :)
- another nice book from the works today to do some basic mapping skills with Boo in Sept.
PE - yup swimming, ballet, clubs - done!
Social Development
- yup - we have our usual crowd around come Friday.Handwriting - yup - started Boo on Getty Dubay Book C today. I'm not sure that she shouldn't be using Book B really, but I don't have it, so she started in book C and as she seems to want to keep her lettering smaller anyway it might just be OK. It certainly seemed to please her today and what she did looked good. She understood the shoulders, waist, bottom (feet) bit really well and I really think that will help her remember what size her letters should be. It really is a VERY good scheme isn't it?! So that's a new 10 minute daily for her schedule

aaargh - just lost half my post, but I'm too tired to repost now - it's way too late. Suffice to say we have been having lots of fun outside school too!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Hmmm - Mozilla or IE?

Trying our Mozilla on the downstairs PC. It does make Merry's blog fit work better (although it appears to be fine on IE upstairs, but not down - why would that be?), but makes the pics in my blog not quite fit. Anyway - I'll give it a go. What is the general feeling about the two these days?

Couldn't resist...

My creation, originally uploaded by pcjjap.

...playing with this toy!

It's Ellie in need of DEORANGIFICATION (a hampton household generated verb - "to deorangify" - meaning to clean off the remnants of spaghetti bolognese and such like orange sauces, from any necessary body parts!!)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Busy Achieving :)

After a fun, but hectic weekend it’s back to some sense of calm. It seems our weekends are always busy these days; filled with kids activities and shopping trips on Saturdays & church responsibilities on Sundays. Saturday was tennis and ballet as usual. Mum did those runs while Paul went out to do the shopping and I planned the menu for the week, paid lots of bills and forgot to start the tea (a cook-all-day type tea)! As soon as everyone was reassembled and lunched, Mum & I took Jake to spend the rest of his birthday money, while P. stayed home to mow the lawn! I am really impressed with what Jacob has managed to spend his money on this year. All in all he received about £80. With that he has; added £10 to the cost of his mobile phone to get the one he really wanted, bought some better earphones for his MP3 stick (he couldn’t keep the others in, he has such little ears!), an England football kit, an England watch, an England tracksuit, some football boots & a football. 10 guesses as to what he is into just now and what he talked about all afternoon!! Even his mobile has an England flag on the front!! I think only his MP3 stick had nothing to do with football ;) The life of a 9yo boy..!

On Sunday it was church as usual in the morning, only Paul & I were both in the band and as there hadn’t managed to be a practice in the week, we had to all be there by 9am!! Now anyone who knows me knows that is tough! But we did it and with three kids in tow. The other 3 came down with Mum, but I had to make sure they were ready before I went out too.

Then of course Sunday afternoon was the footie. Although we normally are a ‘no TV on Sundays’ family, I figured the world cup was allowed to intrude on that just a little. So that meant having lunch (a roast) done and dusted and all cleared up in time for the match - managed that too!! (OK, now you can applaud :) and tea had to happen whilst it was on, because immediately after the final whistle we all had to troop back to church for a ‘vision sharing’ meeting. Normally only one of us goes to the evening service - usually Paul - and the rest of us stay home because I don’t think the kids cope very well with two services just yet. But last night was unusual so we all went. The kids were a little noisy, but not too bad considering England had just won the football and the boys especially were a little excited. It was a good meeting - quite exciting all that we have planned :)

Then it was straight back home to a piece of fruit & bed for 6 very tired little children.

Today has gone well - all the goals achieved by 3.30for once. I always aim for 3.00pm, but with extra play times in the day, trying to teach three at times and general dawdling about their work at points, more often than not we are not finished at 3, especially on a playgroup-run day.

I realised today that Joel really needs to work on his spelling, or at least his accuracy. I don’t know if he actually can’t spell the words, or if he just doesn’t slow himself down enough, even in a test, to make sure he gets it right. Often when I question him about how he spelt something he will say “Oh yeah!!” and proceed to tell me how it should be spelt, so I think it’s more a speed-spelling problem in reality, but all the same it needs some attention paying to it. I shall probably leave it to focus on that next year now though, it’s a bit late now to target it this year.

I’m really impressed with Boo and her maths. Today we were doing different ways of making 5 with rods and she deduced (all by herself - which is what I like about Miquon; I don’t feel like I’m so much ‘teaching’ her maths, as showing her ways that numbers ‘reveal’ themselves) that “3 & 2 make 5 and 2 & 3 make five, and 4 & 1 make 5 and 1 & 4 make five - cool! That’s easy!!” I figure if she gets to that point by her own powers of deduction she is much more likely to retain it than simply drilling her with the ‘facts’. So tomorrow she knows we will learn what makes six and she is really excited about it :) I can’t remember EVER being excited about maths at her age. I love to see her so thrilled by it. My plan is to then use Singapore to ‘practice’ and remind her of what she has already worked out, before we move on to subtraction. I’m hoping she will then quickly recognise the correlation between the numbers when we get to that point.

I’m also really impressed with her writing skills. I gave her a random spelling test last thing today - words she hadn’t previously learnt, just to see how well she can piece them together. She managed bunch, golf, thing, smash, bench and a few others as well without any trouble at all. I need to start encouraging her to try and write short pieces without my help. Just maybe a sentence or two at first and not worry too much about the spelling. I know they do this in schools, just to encourage free writing. I don’t wholeheartedly agree with the non-correction idea, but I might give it a little try. Having gone the other route with the boys and ended up with two reluctant writers, I feel I’ve not got much to loose really. I think I would need to strike a happy medium, so I would work on praising her efforts, as I’m sure what she writes would be phonetically correct and then put the words she has spelt incorrectly into a ‘word book’  (like a child’s-own dictionary) and make a spelling list from them for her to learn for the next week. I think that could work quite well as a combined strategy. It would mean increasing the flow of her writing, expanding her vocabulary and improving her spelling all in the same breath and without making a single mark on her work to discourage her. What do you think everyone - how does that sound to you? Do you think it might work.? My main concern is to not end up with another reluctant writer, when at the moment she is anything but.

Jacob has gone to a friend’s for tea tonight. Joel has swimming and Caleb needs to go the Dr’s (little private infection - bless him!), so tonight looks to be a little hectic too. Fortunately I think P. is going to do the ‘transport’ runs while I get on and cook tea - Pork with pears tonight. So best get on and do it then..! :)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

And then the Day was Gone...

Some days just are over before you know it, and today was one of those. It seemed to get off to a slow start and trudged along, but never seemed to really get going. We did some English this morning and finished the day with a quick 20 minutes of Maths, but in between seemed too much of a slog for nothing much achieved. I tried to do some history with them both. Before lunch we finished off looking at how each of the first three kings of Israel was good and bad and what they did that pleased and offended God. After lunch we looked at the division of Israel into the two nations of Israel and Judah. For myself, being no bible scholar I’m afraid, it was new learning and that can sometimes be fatal for the kids because I am too interested to keep it at their level. I think I managed to explain in quite well on this occasion though and, coupled with the maps of the land that they coloured and I outlined, I think they understood it OK in the end. Joel then did a crossword as revision of the section we have just finished. Now we move on to look at the rise of Assyria and then of Babylon. Those topics I should be able to broaden a little by having a look more widely at the Assyrian & Babylonian civilisations, but I don’t want it to get too big. I’m thinking that maybe the children might be more interested in the tapes now too - as least Joel might be, but I think they might still be a bit above Boo’s head - sadly!

Other good things that did happen today were some ‘stile’ work, which did involve some written spelling practice too, (tick that off my list for the week) and Ellie enjoyed some time on “Dr Zeus’s ABC” CDRom, with Phoebe and ‘Fred the Ted’ (the playgroup bear on his travels to our house this week) looking over her shoulder.

I was hoping to do some of our plants projects today and for Abbie to get some computer time. I’d also wanted to finish off our “I can do anything…” poem, but neither of these things happened. We did manage to do some rhyming practice in history though - just one of the fun exercises that go with it, so maybe that might have helped when we come to finding rhymes for our poem, but it looks like that will be waiting ‘till Monday now. :( And sometime I’d like to do some more of our “Super Science Concoctions” (a fantastic freebie download I got the other week and started with the children. They loved it but we haven’t done any more yet… same old, same old!!)

We didn’t even get any reading practice or tricky words done today. Jake has spellings to learn tonight so I might still be able to squeeze some reading into the day!

Just for those interested in such things;

Current books being read in our house;

On Abbie’s reading list is; “Josie the Jumping Frog” by; Anne Cassidy
“Nick’s Birthday” - Jane Oliver
“The Princess and the Pig” - Usborne Castle Tales
“Little Lamb” - Kim Lewis
& a collection of the ‘Train stories’ from Usborne.

Joel is reading “The Phantom of the Subway” - Geronimo Stilton (Scholastic) ….” and then he has “The Popcorn Pirates” (Alexander McCall Smith) on his ‘next’ list

Jacob is reading “Horrid Henry’s Nits” - Francesca Simon (nice!) & “Revolting stories for 10 year olds” - Helen Paiba.

I am reading (each one very slowly) - “Use Your Head” - Tony Buzan
“Rachel’s Tears” - Beth Nimmo & Darrell Scott
& “We’re in this Together” - Celia Bowring

Paul is reading “What’s so Amazing about Grace?” - Philip Yancey” & “Too busy NOT to pray” - Bill Hybels,

Together with the girls I am reading - “The Pony Mad Princess - a surprise for Princess Ellie” - Usborne
To Abbie I am reading “The Mill Girl” (one of the ‘my story’ books)
To Phoebe I am reading “Sharing a shell” - the Gruffalo guy. We’re reading that too. :)
Ellie’s favourite book atm is “I Spy…” - a book where you have to hunt for various objects in the big picture.
Together with the boys I am reading - “Circus of Adventure” - Enid Blyton of course - when and if I can ever get them to bed together at a sensible time, or in a sensible mood these days
To Joel I am reading “Stories for 8 year olds” - an allsorts book.

So for someone who is not that into reading there is quite a bit of reading happening here at the moment, which is good. :)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Poets Corner

This week has gone pretty well so far. I’m still wondering how long until the bubble bursts! I have had to do a little bit of nagging this week - mostly towards Joel on Monday, but since then things have continued along the going smoothly path and even though I had to nag him he did actually complete everything I asked of him. Nagging, I guess is just really par for the course, but it is so nice not to really have to sit on his shoulder to see the work get done. It’s really more about getting him to stay in his chair than doing the work and left to his own devises he would get it done, just maybe not before the end of the afternoon! Anyhow, he’s racing through Singapore 2B - it’s seems something may have clicked at last :) . When it comes to working out word problems, or anything where he has to figure out the operation, I have taken to asking him to write either a ‘P’ (for part) or a ‘W’ (for whole) next to the sum before he starts dealing with the numbers. That way he immediately knows whether he is adding or subtracting and I am more able to see where his thinking has gone wrong (if it has). When we get to multiplication and division, which is the next section, I shall do a similar thing. Thankfully, it does all seem to be taking shape in his little mind at last. I think the Miquon has helped more than I know, even though we haven’t carried it through to this level. I might go back to it yet, I’m not sure; just to help cement things even further in his mind, but when I look at it, it all looks so easy compared to what he is currently doing. I’ll see where we get to this half term. I’d like to get the nitty gritty of 2B out of the way really and be on to the ‘fun stuff’, maybe even complete it before the year is out, but that seems like a lot of work in real terms and it would be nice to play with Miquon alongside some of those concepts, which would mean they would take more time. Well, we’ll see…

Abbie is also coming along nicely with her maths. She seems to ebb and flow with both books. Today she really was keen to do ‘rod’ maths, the other day she was thoroughly enjoying the colouring in the Singapore EB book, but yesterday was quite reluctant. I think the problem with Sing’ EB is that there are a lot of activities and colourings of a similar kind at this point - just covering different number bonds, and although she was keen to start with, it feels a bit samey now. Miquon on the other hand, although essentially just as repetitious, maybe does not feel quite so, because it is asking a different question each time. So, although the operation is the same, the numbers (and therefore the colours of the rods) and the answers are different each time. Also, the rods FEEL so much more real than coloured pots on a page. I can see the understanding of what she is doing beginning to register on her face more when she uses the rods. I am really pleased I have chosen to team up the two books for her - it’s definitely working and she is so far never really reluctant to do any rod maths work.

Poetry is carrying on well and Joel wanted to use his skills in his quick write today, so these are todays productions;

If I Were the Teacher…

I would be nice.
I would be funny,
I would work hard.
I would play games with the children,
I would teach the kids maths, science and journal.
I would do music lessons
I would read with the kids.
I would have lunch with the kids.
I would work in year 2.
I would make it silent. (as if!!!)
I would ask them questions.
I would like the kids.

I’m wondering which of these he thinks I do well and which he thinks he could do better! I guess his poem is more of a list, but he set it our nicely and to me it’s a start. The very suggestion that he makes it ryhmn freaks his out mind and although I know that is not essential in poetry, for a list like this it does help the reader be a little less bored I think! I gave him a super sticker none the less, as I thought is was a pretty good stab at a poem.

Poem 2 was a ‘consequences’ style poem done between the three of us (Joel, Boo and myself) taking two turns each. We were particularly concentrating on exaggeration. Joel absolutely got the idea, but I could see Boo was struggling to know how to exaggerate on purpose! It came out like this;

I Can do Anything…”

(C) I can run as fast as the wind.
(A) I can sail a speed boat.
(J) I can climb to the top of a sky scraper.
(C) I can crawl through the longest, darkest tunnel.
(A) I can fly as high as the sky.
(J) I can ride a super-fast storm cloud.

There seems to be a bit of a ‘high’, fast’ &’ sky’ theme happening there! Obviously it wasn’t going to rhyme being done like this, but tomorrow we are going to work on extending it and maybe even trying to add in some rhyming couplets. Prior to writing it we had a massive ‘brainstorm’ session and all their ideas are still up on the whiteboard, so they can pull on them tomorrow. I’m hoping that tomorrow we will be able to produce a lovely BIG poem to go up on our display wall. :)

Other than that all the children have spent a fair amount of time on Reader Rabbit (at various appropriate levels) these last few days and that seems to be relatively productive. It’s certainly helping Phoebe with her number recognition. She likes to go on it while we ‘do school’ - I think it helps her feel more included. I must admit I do think it’s tough on her. She wants to join in so much, but her pencil skills, other than when colouring, are not ready for school work yet. Coupled with immature language skills (normal for a 4yo though), she often struggles to understand what I am trying to get her to do if I give her a ‘workbook’ as she would wish me to. I do feel sorry for her when she simply can’t understand, and when I say she just isn’t ready yet she doesn’t understand that either - she so WANTS to be! I would happily give her loads of colouring to do, but she wants more than that and then gets upset when she can’t do it, and even more upset if I try to help her!! Ellie is often asleep in the afternoon these days and, often out of boredom I think, Phoebe goes to join her for a nap - not that that is a bad thing in itself, I just don’t like to think she does it because she’s sad and/or lonely. Today Boo had her best friend ‘R’ round after school and I thought the three girls would run off and play together. Phoebe loves R and is always asking to play with her too. But I turned around 5 minutes after R arrived and Phoebe was nowhere to be seen. She had taken herself off to bed and I have no idea why. She is such a reserved little thing at times and she won’t always tell me why she is sad. I hope that changes over time, but I suspect it won’t. I guess I just have to make sure I’m available when she needs me to be… Bless her!

That’ll do for tonight. Hopping off to bed now :)

Friday, June 16, 2006

Busy People Kind-of Day

It’s been a really busy day today. First it was Friday group, with lots of Mums & Tots here today. Thankfully it was a gorgeous morning, so we all sat in the dining room whilst the children all played together beautifully in the garden - all 14 of them (ages from just one right up to 9!). I was a bit how I imagine it would be if I ran a playgroup!!

Then after lunch I had promised the children we would go to the library, so we dutifully did, accompanied by my friend Sue and her two boys also. We spent a little while in there. I set the children a target of no more than 5 books each this time. That’s always more than enough and I do have to get them all home! I also borrowed a couple for Jake that I hope will spark him to read a bit more readily. One of which was a Horrid Henry book and he seemed thrilled with that choice (

Once that deed was done there were a few errands to run in town (bills, etc…) before rushing back to send Joel off to footie with his friends and take Boo off to swimming with me. I have done so much walking today - that weight should be falling off me! (I’ve lost about a stone in all so far ( ). Boo is doing well in her swimming, putting her face in and looking good on her back. Joel loves his weekly football. He reckons he score 8 out of his teams 11 goals to night, but I think that might be a bit of  a tall story on his part, although I do imagine he is quite good - and he is left footed!!

Tea, six kids to bed, plan the weeks menu, blog and I’m wiped!! It seems to have been a day full of people today and my bed is calling me - maybe even a book to fall asleep with...


Thursday, June 15, 2006

And so it continues...

I still cannot believe how well this week has gone. The children took to calling me 'teacher' at one point today, as if the whole thing were just one large extension of 'Mums & Dads' , so I played along - well if it works..!

After Bible study & handwriting we begun the day with Boo doing Jolly Phonics (although she seems to pretty much know all the sounds now, even if she hasn't formally learnt them) and Joel doing some spelling practice in a sticker-type book, but with some quite challenging words for a 7yo. Then we moved onto Maths. Well actually I let Joel have some `you choose' time and he chose to go on Raindow Rock, maybe he thought that might get him out of maths, I don't know, but he played on that for ages while I did some maths with Boo. Then they swapped and Boo went on Rainbow Rock, which I thought would be too hard for her as its based on the Primary series and we're not there yet, but she coped fine and it helped me see that she might be ready for it come September, despite my fears that she wouldn't be. I gave her a pile of teddy bears (little plastic ones which clip together to hold hands) and she was able to do the number bonds exercise. She started with, say 9 bears in her hands. She then put the given number in one hand (say 5), how many were left in the other hand? Type in that number - 4 -easy!! I was right about her though - she is difintely a kinsthetic learner, she really needs her hands and eyes to see the numbers, but she's getting the concepts too and she told me today how she really loves Singapore maths while she was colouring in various combinations of coloured cups!!

After lunch we continued our poetry lesson with each of the children writing their own version of "I Am Me!" All Boo had to do was replace the animals in the original, with animals of her own choosing and copy out the format, concentrating on capital 'I' and full-stops. She did very well. Joel was given the same task, but he had to add in adjectives to make it more interesting and keep the rhymn. This was where I could see his more advanced level of thinking and sense of rythmn, as he actually managed to create a 'size' pattern and hold the meter, without being prompted to. He wrote;

I am me.
I am not a big, scary lion.
I am not a tiny flea.
I am not a huge, grey elephant
I am

After that I got them to recite and act out the original poem together (they worked together to figure out the actions although Joel took the lead, as I would expect. I need to sometimes say that it is Abbie's turn to be 'in charge').

On Monday we move on to looking at rhymning pairs. We will end up of a poem entitled "I am"; happy, sad, etc... I'm looking forward to hearing their take on themselves! ;)

Follow that up with ten minutes each reading to the 'teacher' and we were done.

OK - so there wasn't anything terribly exciting in that 'curriculum' today and I think too many weeks with too many 'essentials' and we could all get bored, but it's been such a disrupted and odd kind of week. Being the first back after 2 week hols, starting with 2 extra kids one day and breaking off for another morning for a doctors appointment. Must make sure we throw some science into the mix next week, and some history. I'd like to run around Wales this half term too, so that we can venture into the rest of Europe next year (after a quick mapping skills review). But let me just make a little list of everything we have touched on, or covered this week, just to reassure myself that we are being broad enough;

Bible study - daily
Handwriting - daily
Creative writing - daily
maths - daily ; addition, fractions review (on RR), mental maths
social studies
PE - plenty of that every day - tramolining, football, obsticle races, hula-hooping, swimming, tennis, cycling, etc..!
Science - the bottle xylophone is a sort of water experiment I guess!
reading - daily
listening - daily
drama - acting out poetry today and social situations in the game on Monday
life-skills - shopping!

and I'm sure there have been plenty occasions where they have just 'learnt' something without being formally taught it.

So - smiling at you broadly and looking forward to next week :) If this continues I shall feel even more truely blessed to be having the priviledge of seeing my children daily growing up and growing more full of knowledge with each passing moment. I love the 'I get it' look that shines from Boo so often at the moment and the sheer joy she has in the discovery of her up-til-now hidden abilities. THIS is why I home-school. Not to fight with and endlessly nag my children into submission to my demands, but to show how wonderful knowledge can be and encourage them to be hungry for more of - and to ensure that each day they live they can see God's hand on them and grow to understand His plan for them.

BTW - Caleb is an increasingly confident walker and has discovered today the thrill of pushing a small, tatty old doll's buggy around the garden. So much so that he screams at anyone who should dare to suggest that they'd like to play with it!!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Going great guns!

Boo can add! We did the first few steps of addition today - no problems. She completely understands what that's about. GREAT!

Boo can read! She read a book to me today, from start to finish which contained the words 'argued', 'shivered', 'glinted' & 'gleamed' - it was the story of the wind and the sun. ACE!

Boo can write! I bought "100 literacy hours" for Year 1 from WHSmiths today and thought I'd have a stab at the first lesson - writing poetry about herself (or rather what she is NOT!). It was a breeze :) I thought I'd go for year one as we are so nearly at the end of reception year and I thought she could manage it. It looks like it will be a good fun resource to use for English next year. It has good 'copymasters' (which makes it non consumable) and lots of 'ideas' for lessons. I figured, as Phoebe will be joining in next year too, it would be nice to have 'class' lessons a bit more. Joel joined in with Boo today and although it was rather easy for him he enjoyed it and it's the kind of stuff I've never really known how to cover with him properly. I plan to get the Year3 book too and then he can have appropriate level work to do whilst still being part of the 'class' and the girls will get a sneak preview of what lies ahead - you never know what they might pick up ahead of time. I often feel the NC targets (as these books are aimed to meet) are not challenging enough, so I envisage us breezing through some of this because it will be easy and there are just a few children, but then I also feel that sometimes it is good NOT to have to work like a trooper but simply to enjoy the ride! So I think these are going to be a good buy :)

Joel can do maths without a fuss and get it all right AND get 30/30 in a non-verbal reasoning paper! WOW!

Please someone - tell what happened in the holidays?

School has felt so different this week. Relaxed, fun, keen, motivated ... and yet as far as I can see I've done nothing different. I've come up with a couple of new ideas, but they are nothing flash or anything.

I pray it continues long, but somehow I suspect it's the calm before the storm! Anway, I shall enjoy it while it lasts - just like our great British summer eh?!!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Ooops - missed this one!

Joel's racing car - FAB!! Posted by Picasa
Abbie wrote this today. She dictated and I wrote first, then she wrote underneath and drew the picture to go with. It's what I remember doing ather age and thought it might work for her - it did. She loved it! :)
And this is her tricky word tree so far - it's blooming nicely :) Posted by Picasa

Crinkle Art - Part 2

This was Phoebe's picture. I drew it, she filled it. I think it's beautiful how she did it.
Abbie's is really clever I thought - original ways of using the tissue paper.
And this is Ellie's! Posted by Picasa

Latest Art work and some...

Abbie draw this from scratch - following a guide and then called it 'Lucy' :) It's in a tank with water around and stones at the bottom too.
This one is Joel's same fish
Abbie drew this too - the same day. She was on a roll!

Pics of Birthday Boy!

 Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 12, 2006

Birthdays & Busy days :)

Well - I can't believe it quite, but Caleb turned one yesterday (despite my ticker being apparently a day late!). This may be the last chance I have to celebrate a 1st birthday if Paul wins (if I had my way there would be more babies!) so we made a bit of a meal of it - literally. Jack & Tracy were staying for the weekend with thier family, so we had a BBQ and asked over Caleb's Godparents, Michelle & Brendan, and Geoff & Helen (other close friends). So in all there were 9 adults and 11 children milling around in the house and garden. It was hot and sunny and we had a lovely evening :) Caleb was happy to have lots of his favourite people about too. And so we enter his second year...

Aside from birthdays (it's was Paul's last week and mine this week too - as well as father's day - June is not our cheapest month!!), it has been a great half term. The boys had a fantastic time away on Energi camp. I don't think they thought about home once and from what they had to say it was full of late nights and mischief as all good camps should be!! Abbie and Phoebe really loved staying with their cousins for a couple of nights and apparently were quite happy to be away from home too. I'm so glad my children are like that, although it makes the future flight from the nest seem that little bit closer! The little ones seemed to have coped OK with my Mum for the two days too, so that was a relief. And Paul and I had the most lovely two days away. In times like these - that happen all to rarely - that make us stop and BE together, we actually had time to realise why we fell in love in the first place and actually that we still really LIKE each other as people and share some common interests, aside from the kids. We still can spark each other's fire and we can still really laugh together. We can walk and say nothing and just we comfortable in each other's company, or we can chat freely about anything as well as challenge each other on things that need a nudge in the right direction. It was just SO good to have that time. Now the bank account needs to catch up with us!!

And then of course it's back to life, but not with a bump as the children were re-instated in dribs and drabs - first the babies, then later that evening the girls and a couple of days later the boys. Probably more of a bump for Paul, as he had to go to work the same afternoon we arrived home - pants for him :(

The second half of the holidays was pretty busy too, but mainly with having friends over for cups of coffee and play days. It has been lovely to relax and enjoy the garden, have water fights and play in the sandpit (that has been such a brilliant buy). Have I said before how fantastic it is to actually HAVE a garden?!

Back to school today, but a friend of mine asked me to have her girls (10 & 7) for the day as they had an incet day and she had a course to go on. It was great to have them here even if it did mean school was a little 'different'. I didn't want the girls to feel like they had had a tough day at school, but at the same time I wanted to give them a flavour of our school and not give mine another day off. So we did music this morning and made a bottle xylophone - ace fun. then we played socially speaking game for a while. Collected Phoebe and played for a bit inside. Then after lunch we did some drawing and 'crinkle art' - sticking bits of scrunched up tissue paper on the pictures to 'colour them in'. It was a very successful day and encouraged me that it is actually more fun the more children are involved in the learning - looking forward to a couople of years time now - really am!! :)

Time to go watch Teen Terrors - might blog more later...