Saturday, September 23, 2006

Another OK Week

The reading mission presentation evening was nice. The kids were very chuffed to receive their certificates and ‘gold medals’ (Jake really believed the guy when he said they were real gold - how gullible can a nine year old be?!) I was expecting them to get a prize, because I thought some of you had said that your kids did, but no - no prize other than the fake medal! Just as well the kids thought that was what I meant by “a prize” really :)

Abbie completed a half terms worth of Yr1 MEP maths in the past three weeks and next week we’ll start on MPH 1A - I think she is more than ready now and will enjoy it more for having done some solid ground work in Miquon and MEP. The first bit should be breeze for her I think.

Joel wrote a nice little story with the help of some ideas for ‘Igniting your Writing’ - about an A5 side of paper. It was a bit of a push to get him to write that much, but after he got over the idea that it wasn’t optional he knuckled down and did quite nicely - and got a good sense of achievement at the end of it too :) For some reason he always seems to get half way through a story and give up (about half a side). I know it’s common at his age to jump to and ending, but all the same he needs to be encouraged not to and this time he made it. Hopefully next time it will be easier. I just need to make the next time not too far away to keep up the momentum.

One more week to go (which nicely gives me time to tie of ‘materials’ in science and Joel to finish PM2B - hopefully) before we take our first quarter-term break and have a “Yes” week. I’ve told the kids it’s not a free-for-all week, but one which I want them to fill with a variety of activities of their choosing and I will endeavour to say “yes” as much as I possibly can. Idleness is not an activity and will be rewarded with ‘tasks’ so they had better keep busy! Play is allowed a bit more than a usual school week, and even educational TV might be an option some mornings (but not all), but it is essentially not a free-play week, so much as a free-thinking week ;-) So I am expecting lots of Hama, painting, playdough, Lego, Knex, Geomags, trips to the park (weather permitting) - that kind of stuff..! Probably means lots of mess too, but hey - it’s meant to be a chill-‘n’-learn time, so I’m not going to worry too much. Hopefully I will have some more quality time to spend with the tinies too, whilst the biggies are occupied with their own activities. And I also hope it will set us all up for a fresher three weeks before half term. It’s amazing how quickly even Boo gets worn down. Three weeks in and she is flagging come the afternoons. I don’t how they keep going in school - or how I ever did for that matter. I do remember feeling very tired and flat some days and feigning illness so I could just sleep and/or get time-out from the busyness of the classroom in the sick-bay under stairs (that was in ‘junior’ school, when I was 7 or 8 - my Mum worked at the time and could not collect me).

Jake has been difficult the last few days - very explosive. Tonight’s funniest quote said in his fit of rage was; “You are the worst parents I have ever had in my whole life!!!” At which point of course P & I could not contain our laughter - bless him, he couldn’t see the funny side of it very well! Tonight it was all over misbehaviour at the table (slamming cutlery, complaining, rudeness, etc…) which led to him missing out on his cake, flying into a rage, begging to be allowed it & not winning, screaming shouting, stamping and so on and so on. He’s quite scary when he gets like that actually and I find myself having to comfort the littlest ones at times. Tonight it was Caleb stood looking stunned outside the door as it was slammed in front of him. Jake adores the babies and would never deliberately harm them I know, but I don’t want them to grow up afraid of him and he really does loose control of himself at times. :( When he eventually simmered right down he could see the irrational disproportionate nature of his behaviour, but he still thought we ought to have given him the cake despite his attitude - because he “hates 2 day old food and won’t want the cake tomorrow!” - somehow I think he just misses the point of consequences, but then he misses the point of reward too!!

Ah well - tomorrow’ s a new day..!

Here’s the pics from the Reading Mission Awards. Jake as ever had to be a showman , but sadly my camera batteries were too flat to be quick enough to get a pic’ each of the others, so they are just in the group one. P & Joel front centre kneeling, Jake centre back row, with certificate on his head and Boo just in front of him smiling beautifully :)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Progress, Pity and Ponderings…

Although seemed a little slow I put that down to perhaps the ‘Monday’ thing. But despite that all we managed to miss today was History and that partly because of minor change of plan. Boo was supposed to be going to R’s after school, but R’s mum decided to pick Boo up on the way to school instead of on the way back - to give R a surprise when she ran onto the playground :) That was fine by me and as History is a joint lesson it meant that Joel had to miss it too - not that he minded that too much of course! They both enjoy history, but the last lesson of the day is always the toughest to get through.

Both A & J spent some time on BBC Dance Mat Typing today. Boo just tickled the first exercise before R’s mum arrived, but I think she could get the hang of it quick enough - if she can just keep her thumb out of her mouth long enough to keep her fingers on the ‘home row’!
Joel is doing pretty well with it and has got to Level 2 - session 5. I need to encourage him to use his skills when he is using the keyboard on other occasions too, as at the moment he reverts to one finger and hunting for letters. I guess once he’s learnt the location of all the letters it will be a whole lot easier to use full-time. I wish I had gained this skill when I was his age - it’s been a lot harder to learn in my 30’s than I think it might have been when I was younger. I still make far too many errors and use the backspace much more than I would like to, but I’ve definitely improved recently!

Tomorrow is football trials at Jake’s school and I feel desperately sorry for Jacob. He SO wants to be in the team and I actually think he might stand a chance (especially as he is left footed and therefore a rare asset), but without a car to ferry him home from school outside of regular pick-up hours he simply can’t. I’m hoping that maybe his teacher (who happens to be the footy coach too) might have a little sympathy on him and allow him to try out later in the year when hopefully Paul will be driving and we will be running a car. I’ve written him a note to that end. It’s tough on the poor little lad. He’s quite good at footy, but he’s never played in a team and therefore lacks ‘team skills’ and is sometimes unwelcome on the footy pitch at breaks. He could do with playing in the team to make him more acceptable (‘upping his cred’) with the other lads.

What else...?

Tomorrow is the Reading Mission presentation evening at the library. I think everyone is looking forward to that :) That coupled with us hosting our first house-group at 8pm. The group we were attending has over-grown the house it was in and had to ‘multiply’ three ways - one group now to be held here. I guess that now means my house has to be respectably clean two days a week! I am seriously considering a cleaner again, even if just for an hour a week (I don’t think we can afford more than that) as whilst I can keep on top of the house in holiday time, in term-time it is just a little too much to have to teach three primary age children, mother two pre-schoolers and keep house all at the same time. It means I end up spending most of Saturday tidying and cleaning, as well as trying to plan the next week of school and make sure the kids are all ready for their various activities, get Paul a shopping list ready and spend some ‘fun’ time with my family. Saturday is really the only day-off Paul gets and in reality it rarely seems like one. It is most often filled with activity runs, shopping and “Dad’ll fix it” jobs, gardening and such like! At least if we had an efficient trained cleaner she could whizz round twice as fast as I do and get the place looking ship-shape without the interference of smalls at her feet all the time trying to help! If she came on a playgroup morning when there is only C. asleep upstairs and us working downstairs in one room she could have the rest of the house to herself. I think she could probably safely leave the boys room and the dining room to me and I could manage to keep on top of those ( I seem to be able to atm and now that the boys can actually dust and hoover quite respectably when they team-up their room looks quite good occasionally!)

Other bits of news…

Caleb can now climb out of his cot!! I forgot to blog it on the day, but the other day he woke up from his morning rest and before I got upstairs to fetch him was at the bottom of the stairs - calling out to see where I was. I thought he was at the top and guessed he was out of his cot, but jumped when I bumped into him at the bottom! I think that was the first time he has safely descended the stairs alone too - and he did it forwards, much to my horror!! Since then he has discovered he can also ascend the metal rungs of Jacob’s bunk-bed and joins Jake most mornings in his bed! 14 months old and already I think I’m going to have to put him in a bed, as he is simply dangerous climbing out of his cot. He dangled himself on the bars for a while, then climbs onto the changing table (which goes across the cot) and lowers himself down. I could remove the changer, but I think he would simply find a more hazardous route down, so I may as well admit defeat and set him free! Hopefully he will go to bed nicely though as he seems to still not try to get out when he knows it’s sleep times - day or night :-). It’s just the morning I anticipate a bit of disruption to and I am not a morning person - ho-humm!

Phoebe has started attempting to write her own name today :-). It looks a bit like this; Pб∂bp - interpreted that's Poebep - but it’s a good start I think. She was SO proud of herself and I was really proud of her too for having a go - something she is really not that willing to do very often. She is obviously beginning to feel more ready to try stuff. When I picked her up from playgroup today she looked such the big girl - all dressed in denim jeans and jacket, hair tied back and gingham headband, skipping along quietly and running a little with Joel, hunting for feathers and saying very little. Whereas El’s on the other hand looked like the wild flower she truly is (and even Nicki thinks she is bit different to how A & P have been!) - hair madly flying everywhere (she refuses to let me do anything with it except put a brush through), leaping and bounding and chattering loudly about her morning, bright pink doodles (I hate those shoes - she loves them!), leggings and a fleece. They are so chalk and cheese.

I love the way I can have so many different ‘flavours’ of child all in my very own family:
I have Jake; explosive, impulsive, rigid, black & white, hyperactive, sporty, highly intelligent, loud, funny, sensitive, considerate of others when they are finding things tough, beautiful - oldest son, biggest brother!

Joel; bossy, stroppy, grumpy, fiddly, fidgety, witty, imaginative, kind, generous, bright, ‘prince charming’ - playmate brother.

Abigail; little madam, wilful, stroppy, dreamy, zany, witty, image-conscious, tall beautiful ‘blonde’, creative, bright, biggest sister.

Phoebe; wilful, determined, whiney, quiet, internalising, fragile yet resilient, ‘princess’, floaty skirts and jewellery, also imaginative & beautiful - blonder and yet not so!

Elisheva; my ‘wild flower’ - mischief maker, manipulative, inquisitive & curious, questioning (endlessly!!), fiddler, avoider, chatterbox, loud, funny, show-off, wilful, beautiful albino!

Caleb; scary little monkey! climber, screamer, demander, funny, clever, ‘part of the gang’ - handsome, winsome little lad!

So that’s my team. I wonder what I’ll say about them all five years down line? Will the picture have changed any I wonder..?

Got to go now and do some science planning. It’s all a bit too mudding atm and I waste too much time deciding what to do each day.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


OK - At long last I’m blogging! Just getting to my blog atm is pretty tough. Schooling three at three different levels is working out tough - although it is going well I think :)
The resources that I’m using this year seems to be just right, if perhaps a little to ‘plentiful’. The ‘Springboard’ introductory book’ (which is Joel’s basic English course) is such a cinch that Joel tries to make it more difficult by reading into the questions more than is there! He should zip through that pretty quick and get onto the stuff that is more appropriate for his level. Education City is proving a big hit with everyone and they are all spending quite considerable amounts of time on there. It’s great that I can pick out the activities that fit best with what we are learning at the time. So in science we have been looking at different ‘materials’ and backing up our paper/experimental work with Ed City stuff. :) I picked up some excellent resources in WHSmith for science too (after I had of course ordered Science resources from Peter - forgetting that I had) ; “No Fuss - Science Photocopiables” (£12 only). I got both KS1 and KS2 books - I thought I could not go far wrong at that price seeing as they are completely non-consumable and 100% legally photocopiable :) I also got a S&S KS2 Science Revision book which actually works really well as a textbook and all the children can understand the topics OK (despite it being aimed at 7 -11 yr olds!!). I’ve then been using the S&S ‘Starting Science’ workbook on materials for A and the Photocopy stuff fro A,P & J.

We’ve been using MEP Year one for A so far as my Sing MPH books didn’t arrive until today. She’s almost done a half terms work in 1 ½ weeks!! Admittedly I haven’t been doing the 45 minute lessons with her, but that’s because I felt she probably already had most of the concepts it introduces down pat already - having done EB last year - and apart from learning the meanings of the <, > and other related signs, there has been nothing new so far. Joel has been finishing of 2B of PM from last year - covered time and capacity in less than two weeks, so should be done with that pretty soon too - especially as he now spurred on by the arrival of the ‘NEW’ maths books. Having looked at the MPH now I can see that it is a much slower programme and probably much better suited to Joel speed of learning. That coupled with the lack of ‘practices’ and ‘revisions’ he is likely to be a much happier bunny altogether I think :) Looking at Boo’s I think she will race through some of the initial stuff and that will give her a real sense of achievement. She has really got to grips with some maths concepts over the summer just simply by asking her to work things out occasionally. I think we will carry on using MEP on occasions though - perhaps to ‘pad out’ the year and Miquon to cement the learning where I feel we need to, but I don’t want to overdose them on maths!!

Abbie loves Jolly Grammar as I knew she would. The S&S ‘Basic Skills’ is good too, but it is a bit demanding in terms of the amount of writing it requires. That says she doesn’t complain nearly as much as the boys would have at her age (or even now for that matter) and her writing is coming along nicely. Her spelling is beginning to be a little more sensible too now :) The Early Comprehension I go her she likes too - it’s really very easy - story sequencing and stuff like that. So she is happy all in all. She has also almost completed the Year 1 ‘STILE’ materials and then she’ll be into Year2.

Phoebe on the other hand, having been raring to go last year when she didn’t have too, doesn’t seem to want to lift a finger this year and is reluctant to do anything!! I have a stack of workbooks for her to get through and I can’t get her to the table! She loves Ed City though so that is a plus. I don’t to push her too hard either as she is so much more fragile than the others have been - it’s very obvious how easy I could go wrong with her. I know I can be a bit of a hard task master at times and she simply won’t have the strength to keep up with me, so I really need to watch myself. But to be fair to her, she is at playgroup 2 mornings still and going to H’s another morning, I really only have her two full days - and one of those is a non-school day. In the afternoons she is quite tired and I think that’s why she lacks enthusiasm. I’ve tried to keep to the fun stuff in the afternoons for that reason, but I can’t force her to take part really as, tbh, I still think a lot of it is a bit over her head - despite me trying to make it multi level. How, in reality, do you target an 8yo, 5yo and 4yo all in the same breath?! I’m sure she gets a bit lost at times and I’m not helped by the fact that she refuses to give me any feedback, so it’s hard to know what’s really gone in. She goes mute on me ‘in class’ time. Anyhow, I figure it’s a bit like when she was learning to talk - or rather not - she stored it all up until she felt she was really ready to let it come out and only then she started talking. One thing that has been a hit though is the little ‘start Write’ box I bought - both girls love it and I can see that it might be exactly the starter P needs as far as getting her to ‘have a go’ without the help of dots to follow. I am thinking that maybe I need to give a little of Friday afternoons over to Phoebe getting some one-on-one time, and maybe even more so after Christmas when she will be left playgroup and at home full-time. I have pretty much decided I am not going to start teaching her to read until next September and to just carry on with nursery level stuff for this year. I believe she is simply not ready to learn it all yet and I think that gently introducing her to letters, without requiring her to really learn what they sound like, is the way to go with her. She might surprise me and learn some of the sounds anyway. If she does it’ll be a bonus, but I want her to feel like she is just having fun! And I want her to get a more ‘broad’ spectrum of learning that just learning to read. There seems to be a whole host of things she has simply not ‘picked up’ - like the names of kitchen appliances for instance and what things are made of - hence the ‘materials’ topic atm. She didn’t know what a kettle was, bless her! I don’t know if I really have never told her, or if she simply hasn’t picked up these very basic things.

SO that’s us for now… gonna do the meme thing and leave it at that. I have a thumping head, this has taken me a couple of hours and tea is nearly ready. Plus I need to go chivvy the kids into clearing up a bit.

But first to respond to Kerry’s Tag - who obviously doesn’t realise that I REALLY don’t read very much at all!! One book a year maybe..!
Anyway… I’ll have a go…

One Book that Changed My Life - obviously for me - The Bible
Two Books I’d want on a dessert island - Mr God this is Anna (Fynn) & The L-Shaped Room (Lynne Reid Banks) - the only two books I’ve ever really loved and read more than once!
One book that made me laugh - hmmm - can’t think of one. I don’t really read funny books. I like to weep when I read!
One book that made me Cry - most of the books I choose to read make me cry! The two above not being exceptions of course!!
One book you wish had been written - I probably wouldn’t have read it if it were!!
One book you wish had never been written - don’t know enough about literature to really know - but “Our Mutual Friend” (Dickens) is pretty aweful and made my A level English literature pretty hellish (yes - I did do that despite not enjoying reading - don’t ask me why!)!
One book I am currently reading; I always have more than one on the go and take forever to read them! So currently “The explosive Child” ( Dr. Ross Greene), ‘Rachel’s Tears’ (about the Columbine shootings) and ‘We’re in this Together’ (Celia Bowring - about being a minister’s wife).
One book I have been meaning to read; the sequel’s to ‘Mister God this is Anna’ (Anna’s Book & Anna & the Black Knight). I’ve have a compilation book, so that counts as one! But it’s been on my shelf for two years now!
5 people to tag - err dunno - if you’ve not done it then go ahead, consider yourself tagged!

You Are 40% Control Freak

You have achieved the perfect balance of control and letting go.
You tend to roll with whatever life brings, but you never get complacent.
oh so true - I like to think! :)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Too Late...
It's 1.45am. I'm too tired to blog properly, but suffice to say; so far so good :) It seems my materials for this year are going down well atm. I'll probably not get to blog tomorrow as I'm 'quiz mistress' for our inter-church quiz night -should be a laugh!! I'll likely blog Saturday -when I'm supposed to be doing the newsheet!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Funsters Is Fun!
Even if there is the odd grumpy moment ...'s hard to resist the thrill of the climb!

Going UP ...

...and through...

...and just remind me, how was I supposed to get down?
The slide might work!

We never made it to the beach, but this a close second best.

'Chillin' in the Pool!!

The Challenge here is to 'spot' four children!

Ah... there they are!!

Again another lovely day was had by us all. I've decided that Funsters is £25 well spent for a couple of hours vitually kid-free (and that includes the £8 bus fare). After this we went home. I went on to do some shopping for bits in Nantwich and P brought the kids on home to do some 'chillin' at home - namely lots of reading. Jacob managed to finish one book (he's read a whole 'Horrid Henry' book in two days :) ) and started on another tonight. He needs to finish it pronto! Phoebe is in the middle of quite a long chapter book, so I'm having to read to her lots to leg-it through the book with a view to reading just one more shorter one to complete her reading mission (I've done it as a read-aloud mission for her).

I managed to get my self my much sought after replacement white gypsy skirt for just £6.20 - and a top to go with it of course, which cost just a little more than the skirt, and came away with a new outfit for £14.20 :-) Maybe now I can bring myself to say "Goodbye" to my old faithful white gypsy skirt, which is really now a cinders rag, with holes and tears galore and totally unwearable - but I've worn it since I was 15!! I also managed to get some Jeans for Jake for £1.60 a pair! All from Ethel Austin - just in case you were wondering. I got Boo a pair of Barbie skates in a Charity shop for £2.50 and a cap for Joel for £1 (he never had a new one this year). Then I popped into the works to pick up some sketch paper and came out with three new books for the girls, another "I can Draw really Cool Stuff" book for cousin Sam for Christmas (missed his birthday)and a model car kit for Joel. I also grabbed some stationary bits in WHSmiths and a skirt for my Nan that she admired the other week when she was here.

When I got home the kids were engrossed in Princess Diaries II and P went out to town to get something for tommorrow (our wedding anivesary - 11 years!) and came home with fish and chips. I haven't cooked for a whole week - that's what we do 'on holiday' - we never cook!

So all in all a very productive and happy day :)