Sunday, July 26, 2009

Busted Bus, photographs, tot-school and STuff!

I can't believe it's been a whole week since I blogged! It's not been the most exciting week. last Monday night we had some friends over for a meal and I got to take some photos of their now almost 3 month old daughter. Since then I have spent most of the week working on them to make them more professional looking. The problem with my lovely bridge camera is that is struggles indoors without bumping up the ISO too much and ending up with really grainy pictures, so if I want to gift people with my photos I have to go to work on them to remove the 'noise' (blotches) and/or lighten them - all without making them look like porcelain dolls. It can be quite difficult - and time consuming! The sooner I can save for a new PROPER DSLR the better :D

Off the subject of photography, before I bore you all to tears... On Sunday, after Paul had done a 400 mile round trip to Portsmouth on Friday/Sat to drop my Mum home (she's retired now and won't be back up here for a bit), the bus delivered us all to church and collected the drums (from elsewhere), but by the time it got back to the church again it was sounding VERY poorly and Paul had had to force it into gear :( We almost all got lifts home - just in case - and Paul crept the bus home in 2nd gear! On Wednesday our now very-friendly mobile mechanic (A) came out to take a look, but initially couldn't see the problem, so he took it for a drive down the lane - it never made it back again!! All the gears and drive just 'went' less than half way back up, so he towed it back to the house (no mean feat!) with me behind the wheel (first time in almost 9 years!). The following morning he came and replaced the clutch. When he took the gear box down the clutch fell out in pieces!! He said we had been lucky to get anywhere with it all ;) He also said Paul needs to be gentler with his left foot!! LOL Thankfully it was not too expensive a repair in the end...BUT!!! NEXT DAY... Paul drove over a parking bollard at work (because he had to turn a bit to reverse out) and PUNCTURED a wheel!! He was supposed to be coming home to take Beefy to her extra ballet practice ready for her exam on Sunday, but she never got there :( Anyway - that is all sorted now, but the car is still making a few odd noises... Thankfully we have A booked to come and pre-MOT it on Thursday and then it will be MOT later that week - hopefully it will be happier after that - for a bit anyway!! It seems to have needed a lot of work lately, but when we think how hard we work it, it is a pretty reliable car :D And so far, it has never packed up on us while we are not at home, so that's good too!

On the health front - Swine Flu reared it's ugly head at church last week (a little boy who was being dedicated ended up with it on Tuesday!) and two of my kiddos have gone to bed with sniffs and sneezes tonight, no temp' though, so I'm hopeful it is just a common cold, more over because I am on creche in the morning and two sick kids to stay home with would be a pain!!

We are now taking a break from school for the summer, but some of the kids do have few bits I want finishing off before we start again - they each know what! So I am trying to take the opportunity to make some resources for NJ. This week I made these (based on an idea I cadged from Carisa over at 1+1+1=1);
My problem with this little man is that if he does not feel challenged he will deliberatly get things wrong, just to make it more stimulating for himself. So to begin with he did this;
then he pointed out the errors -
and corrected them (that's him saying "there") -
All this totally un-prompted!

I figured that he wouldn't be able to do the plain shapes, no colours one (thinking he was primarily colour matching) and that he would likely just throw it all about and be silly, but I was wrong...
First attempt he did this
Obviously this was just right for him because he did not play the 'wrong place - naaaah!' game initially. He only did that when he did it subsequently - and then he got bored and plonked something on top of it so he couldn't do it any more - beats throwing it anyway :D
Other than that there hasn't been a great deal of organised learning going on, but pleasingly the children do seem to be picking up stuff in the school room and choosing to play with it more than ever they did in our old house. This may, of course, be because things simply are MUCH more accessible to them, but it may also be that our new box-system has reminded them that actually there IS a lot of fun stuff to do in our school room :D CT in particular has been consistently picking up a magna-doodle copy-number book that we have (I'll photograph that another day), and trying to learn his numbers from it. It's actually a very useful, fun, self-learning tool and actually, I will be pleased as punch if he learns his numbers by the end of the summer without me even trying to teach him them! Maybe this un-school system could work for my younger ones... but I am quite scared to give it a try - I'd need to do some research - and just HOW far do you let them go if they are NOT learning the basics by themselves? And with all the 'Badman' stuff and the encroaching of regulation, I'm not sure that now, after 7 years of having set routines in place, would be the best time to do a U turn and try something new! But then again, maybe I will! I have never been one to submit to something I don't agree with and I have always TRIED to shape our school around my children's needs as much as possible - it just so happened that my eldest sons were ones who very much needed/thrived on routine: One, because he struggles to function well with it (holiday times being prime example of that - grrr!) and the other because he likes to keep his life well ordered (he is neat as a pin, punctual and diligent) and it suits him well to have school that way too. Babsi would have been fine with a more casual approach, but being an easy-going, chilled-out kind of girl she is happy with routine too. Beefy would probably have done a little better in a more free environment. She struggles to keep to time (very slow and steady) and I have already seen a big improvement in her attitude to school with the arrival of the boxes (smiles more about the thought of school and is keen to see what the day has in store each morning :D). Belle, as you know, is flighty and up until now has pretty much been un-schooled anway, simply because any attempt to 'box her in' and she has frozen on me - let her out and she learns freely. I've seen it work for her - and she spends a LOT of time with CT, such that I think her 'style' has rubbed off a little! He actually is naturally much happier in routine, but he is a little stressy worry-wart, so I think any sense of failure or pressure could really stifle his learning. I'm not planning on doing a massive amount of 'teaching' this year for him anway, but I shall wait and see where his interests take us. Right now - it's definitely numbers :D. NJ is a very bright kiddo too and I am going to be stretched to keep him challenged I think, but even so, at least I can see that now and prepare myself!!

OK - that's enough - I'm tired -I've waffled - it's late! Remember to check out my my 365 to - I post the best pics there!! And don't forget to mention that you dropped in :D


Nicole {tired, need sleep} said...

What a beautiful baby! And great pictures too! :) I love the shape wheel - that's a great idea. Thanks for sharing your week!

Susana said...

Your pictures are amazing and the shape wheel is a great idea--never seen this before. Thanks for sharing it!!