Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Out Of touch

I don't know about you, but sometimes life just runs away with me. I wasn't 100% over half term - had a raging sore throat and a bit of a temp to boot. I'm largely over it now, but it did make 'catching myself up' over the holiday just a bit more challenging. I had loads of stuff to do and sort for the church Sunday School (now that I am in charge of the rota and resources, etc...), I had a stash of marking to do and the following week to plan. I wanted to get some more materials printed of for DD & Stitch, but that didn't happen in the end. I also wanted to finish up some photo editing I had promised to some friends. I finished one set, but only just started on the other - sigh! Put that together with visitors either end, sleep overs and a birthday (Taz turned 11 on the 24th), it all got a bit busy, busy. Not that I mind that, it's just I still feel like my tail is lost somewhere!! :D
Life ticks along anyway. H'ED is going well. I'm thinking that, in the light of current potential legislation, I might stop talking about 'home-school' as, although I have a school room and, to all intents and purposes, we have a fairly structured school in our home, I would not like to think that I will be forced to continue this way if I should choose to move away from it even more than I have in recent times. My children's education is more valuable to me than my system - so from now on I will call it H'ED as that better fits with how I feel our nation should view what we do :D
Anyway - H'ED is going well..! Stitch is beginning to get the hang of not being such a pain and is a good deal more involved in our day than I remember any of the others being a toddlers. He has his own little supply of resources which he has free access to. I haven't changed this around as much as I would like to due to a) lack of time, b) lack of creativity, c) lack of courage (i.e. there are lots of fantastic ideas out there I could use but I can just envisage what Stitch would turn them into!!). But he has his favourites that he has a go at every day, sometimes more than once and he spends a LOT of time playing on PoissonRouge - or rather roping in someone to play on it for him as his command!! :D Each other child has a 'slot' in their boxes to spend time playing with him and now that he has got used to that he is responding well to it and is not demanding that it be me quite so much. I too, try to make at least one slot in each day to spend time with him, but it's not always easy.
Bugs & Taz are doing well with their new Science and English materials. It is interesting and challenging enough without being too much for them. It's good to have them working on something together, although in reality they often do it separately because Taz is a fast worker and Bugs not so, but at least they can compare notes :D
DD has suddenly started to blossom: He has got the hang of things that six months ago were way beyond him. He can now tell me the beginning sound of most words (still struggles a bit with 's' and 'z') and find another picture that begins with the same sound.
He can now match up pairs of things that 'go together', like hat & coat, salt & pepper - which shows a vast increase in his comprehension of language and the world around him.
He can also count up to about 14 quite reliably and count out objects up to about eight. Beyond that he loses count of objects and as he can't 'count on' yet it gets a bit difficult!
He knows all his colours - although for some reason has begun confusing blue and purple on occasions, and interesting some shades of blue and green. My dad and Taz are blue/green colour blind, so maybe he is too - not tested yet.
He can verbally label numbers 1, 2, 3 and sometimes 4 now - so that's progress too. Matching up the numbers on his workbox is really helping with that without even deliberately working on it - learning by the back door I call it :D
He knows the names of most of the basic 2D shapes.
He can complete simple sequences (ABABA..., ABBABB..., ABCABC...)
He can hold a pencil correctly (most of the time, and when he gets it wrong it's only to put his 2nd finger on the pencil instead of under it).
He can almost write his name independently and has fantastic pencil control when writing inside 'hollow letters' or over dotted ones. :D
He forms the majority of his letters correctly and understands about starting at the top and ending at the bottom, also about working left-right, top-bottom, which he does now about 90% of the time instinctively and no longer makes a fuss about it when prompted to do so the other 10%!
He DOESN'T yet know very many letters (only 'curly c' and 'kicking c', 's' and 'o'), but tbh - I don't really care - he is enjoying himself and I can see life beginning to make real sense to him now. In the light of this, he now can put together full sentences - including all the 'little' words (I, it, the, on, to, etc...) and asks more sensible questions than he used to, with genuine interest in the answers. He sometimes can then follow up with a subsequent question. This is a real marked improvement in his speech and makes life so much less frustrating for all of us :D His diction is gradually improving too, although he can still be hard to understand at times, especially when he has mis-remembered what something is called, or how a word should sound. When he does this, we not only have to work out the sound of what he is saying, but also what he is meaning!! He still gets a little frustrated with this, but mostly he gets that we don't understand him now, and tries to say whatever it is more slowly and carefully, rather than just screaming at us (and making it worse) - and when he does that we can usually get to the root of what he means eventually :D He is then able to hear us say it correctly and repeat it back without error.
I don't know what the Early Learning Goals are for a Reception age child (and I don't really care either!), but I am happy that mine is doing well and achieving to the best of his ability and I am sure that he will continue to make happy progress with the way we are doing things now.

I am loving the way things tick round here now - I really am. It is all so much less pressured than it was when I started out with Bugs 8 years ago now - sometimes I really wish I could turn back time and get to enjoy him as a 5 year old again. Everyone told me at the time to "make the most of it - they grow up so fast" and all I kept thinking at the time was "good - this is a nightmare!" He was so full on and so hard work, but he was so funny and so full of life - so creative (yet not imaginative - which made it difficult to channel his creativity) and he just LOVED to be with me and do stuff with me. He loved looking at books and colouring and had a zeal for learning. He asked what anything and everything said - on bus shelters, road signs, everywhere, he would ask me "what does it say?" Now, I wish I had that time again - then it annoyed me! :( Now, I wish I had 'got' him as a little kid (I SO didn't) - now, I am enjoying 'getting' the young man he is becoming before my eyes. I love him to bits - I just wish I could do his toddlerhood again for him. I would do it better this time - I know I would! I watch myself with my now pre-schoolers and I love every minute (well not every, but a lot) of their mischief and naughtiness! I don't find their questions as annoying (I just switch them off when I've had enough and they soon get tired of asking - better than yelling to get them to stop and upsetting them) and have more interesting answers to give them. I try to explain the world in a way I never saw the need to before. I find them funny and interesting - and I love to watch them grow as people without feeling the need to hurry them on to the next stage. Of course there are many things that I still struggle with in my home - noise being the chief annoyance (particularly shouting to and at each other too much of the time), screaming (in anger, frustration, annoyance, or pure irrationality sometimes), throwing of things (especially if it's something of mine!), and the constant MESS everywhere - no matter how much I pick (or get the children to) up there is always more accumulating somewhere! But I wouldn't actually want life any other way just now - they will all be gone from here before I know and I just feel in my bones that I will miss it all - all those things that drive me crazy just now will be gone from my life and I will wish for them back again - so maybe I shouldn't complain so hard just now and maybe I should just live for the moment, for the here and now and keep it close while I still have it with me :D

Enough sentimentality - time for pictures;

DD loved this very simple activity - it's been buried in my cupboard for eons.
I'll get it out again for certain ;D

Stitch giving his orders!

When it's wet outside...

Scientists in the making :D

Lilo having fun and learning on Moshi Monsters - love it!

Lilo colouring her new Snowman puzzle (£1 for 2 - bargain!) with her new
not-so-cheap triangular Staedler pens!

Lilo finishing a 49 piece puzzle - solo :D

Stitch playing with his new 'pens' (paint dabbers). He had been given paper, but he discarded it because he likes to line them up, take all the lids off, knock them all down, count them (with me of course) and then match all the lids back on again - it's his own little game :D!! Occasionally he 'writes' with them!

DD doing some handwriting practice. These are homemade Write-0n, Wipe-off strips and I thought he might do one or two - he did them all :D He did get bored towards the end and it showed in his effort level, but on the whole these were excellent for him and he enjoyed them. A boy who likes to write - is that possible?!
The finished result (can't really hide the names here!) - the Nathanael one was the first he did - Daddy was the last - you can see the decline, but it's still good :D

Stitch considering his next move!!

Lilo playing on Tux Paint - she loves this too (they all do) and I liked the pattern she achieved with this colouring. It's not all colouring - they can paint and draw on this independently.

A puzzle (40 pieces) that DD did on Monday. I only gave verbal help and as he got to about half way I just left him to it - he completed it independently and I was very pleased with him. His concentration was good for this one :D

(WARNING!! - last photo - scroll down - is of a rather LARGE SPIDER who crawled out to visit us (bringing along lots of 'behind the cupboards' debris) and who the kids were fascinated with - it's Minnie holding it, not me - I'm not afraid of them, but I'd rather not hold them this big!!

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