When the winter strikes this family seems to hibernate. I don't think I've been outside for longer than it takes to step into the car in days! Not good I know, but I hate getting cold and a lack of any real sunshine, just grey, gloomy skies, doesn't make outside seem very inviting at all. So I stay in and busy myself with 'winter' activities. If you follow me on Facebook, or Instagram, you might have some inkling of what has been absorbing a fair portion of my 'spare' time these last couple of weeks!
Minnie has been busy making stuff too ~ for Secret Santa and other upcoming events. She also baked a rather fabulous 'blueberry and lemon' cake ~ which was DELICIOUS and may just need to be replicated for a certain home-ed Christmas camp...
Bugs had an 'adults entrance' test at the local 6th Form College last Friday, and scored a very good level 2 in English, but only a level 1 in maths. I think the low maths might be because he did it first and gets brain freeze when he's nervous. He told me answers to questions he'd skipped, in the car going home! Anyway, this should - hopefully - mean he can go into college on the Level 3 B'Tech. It'll all depend now on his interview and portfolio, so I hope he sells himself well when it comes to it :D. The very worst scenario is that he'll have to go in on a Level 2 course and do an extra year ~ which won't do him any real harm I'm sure ;D He could always sit a GCSE English alongside it and then he'd have that coveted piece of paper!
Once we have him sorted, I need to start thinking about Taz's path into college!!
H.E. wise life just ticks along really. I already posted our rather fabulous art from this week (previous post), and otherwise it's been pretty uneventful. 'All About Spelling' is still working a treat for Lilo and DD (Stitch opted out this week, but as he's only 5 so there's plenty of time to play with for him, and it was probably going to advance beyond his ability to keep up before long anyway) and they are already onto Level 2 and flying through. Lilo is able to tangibly understand how much it is helping her ~ just giving her clear rules to work with has made a world of difference already. Even better is the fact that they both really enjoy it :D ~ I never thought I'd see the day that Lilo enjoyed a spelling challenge, and yet she does, every day! So much so that she has even begun to venture into a bit of free writing at last :D
Stitch had a bit of a meltdown this week and I was struggling to hold his attention, so in the end I decided it wasn't worth the fight. I sent him away with the freedom to play all day if he wanted to, but he had to play away from the school room where everyone else was trying to work. I went and chatted to him, explaining that if he really didn't want to join in with 'school' he was free not to, but that I was too busy to waste my time fighting him to pay attention, or to not be a distraction. If he wanted to learn with us he was welcome back whenever he chose. I figured he'd not want to play too long alone, but actually he played in his room for quite sometime before arriving back and asking to go on Reading Eggs. He then moved on to Sumdog, but got stroppy when DD didn't want to play against him ~ having a tantrum he almost pulled the laptop onto the floor (breaking the headphone jack). So, he was then 'banned' from school until the next day! The rest of the week I basically let him come and go at will and some of the time he chose to be with us, and some he didn't, but tbh, I think I might be better approaching life that way with him. If he is away with the fairies then getting his attention is a losing battle. When he's choosing to attend he's great and he's certainly not going to suffer for not going 'all out' with him. He's already 2/3rds of the way through his Yr1 maths curriculum and onto map 11 of Reading Eggs. My only struggle is that he really only wants to learn in front of a screen, so I'd really like to find some other kind of learning that inspires him. He is becoming an avid reader, so I find myself yet again considering FIAR...maybe that might fire him up a little, but how to squeeze it into our days might be a challenge to me... All the same, I think if I did, it would be something that Chip would thoroughly enjoy too ~ he is such a booky baby!
It's funny ~ I wish I'd learnt these lessons sooner ~ I'm sure I'd have been much less stressed about Bugs all those years ago! Even now Bugs struggles to attend when his brain is having an off day, but he can almost always work with a screen or his 'creative' side. Some days he takes himself off and plays guitar for an hour or more, and then when he returns he can focus better. These days he understands that his learning is his responsibility and he makes his own choices (much to Sergeant Taz's disgust!). I understand Bugs now. I wish I had then. But seeing how he works makes it so much easier to understand Stitch, because he is so much like Bugs in many ways ~ a full on boy, with boundless energy and zero attention for almost anything that is not of his own instigation! But take him from where HE is and he's a willing enough learner... It's knowing to jump off the wagon at the same time as he does that's the challenge, or at least knowing to let him go!
So that's H.E.
What else ... Yesterday 3 of the children were sick (mysteriously), although everyone seems fine today. The upshot of that was that we had a telly & games day :D. We played Uno, 'Tale Spin', a few rounds of 'Take 2' (which is played a bit like Bananagrams only everyone starts with 7 scrabble tiles each and shout "take 2" each time someone uses them up) and then a really good game of Scrabble. I wanted to put Victorian Farm on the telly, but I couldn't get it to work using the Wii's internet channel, so we ended up with a bit of 'A Place in the Sun' (surely you're not going to tell me that's not educational ;) ~ house price comparisons between N. Wales and Spain were quite interesting...) and some 'Time Team' ~ excavating a Norman castle ~ which was great for consolidating some teaching on archaeology that I'd done with the younger boys (i.e. what it actually is). Later on the big boys and I watched 'A Tale of Two Isles' ~ looking at life for some British people trying to set up life in Corfu - interesting to see how the fall of the Greek economy has affected them.
TP has started going to the 12+ group in gym tonight (a huge group of 40 girls with a very loose definition of the '12+' age grouping...), but she thoroughly enjoyed it and is ready to be pushed a bit more :D
So that's us this week. Catch you next sometime!