Just after New Year we eventually received our brand new set of Spielgaben (Version 4). It arrived around 9pm in the evening, after a LOT of chasing after Parcel Force, but that's another story, and the children immediately wanted to get playing with it ~ all of them!
The Spielgaben was kindly bought for 'school' by my Nanna (well, she just wouldn't let me pay her back, so I'm considering it her gift to us), and primarily for Chip, but I know there will be benefits to having the set for more of the children than just him. It's just that with him we can start from beginning and perhaps discover a whole new way of learning! He's not a 'sit down and be told about stuff' kind of child, so my traditional way of Home-edding is probably not going to work too well with him. I needed to find something more 'discover and learn' for him, such that he can tell ME what he is learning ~ and I think this will hopefully be just the ticket!
Session 1 (sorry no pics): We used the yarn-balls and played 'hide the ball' under a paper cup. I thought he'd be quickly bored by this, but I was wrong. He loved the game. With one ball hidden it was really easy for him to tell me which one. With two balls he had to think a little harder, but could still manage it well enough. Three hidden balls really pushed him, although he did manage that too; however, he didn't want to repeat that one, and instead wanted to hide three balls from me ~ which was fine of course and, in hindsight, I should have gone with his idea to hide them around the room because that would have meant him being creative about where to hide them, but instead I suggested that they might get lost and encouraged him to just hide them in his pockets. Oh well, this is a learning curve for me too!
Session two was definitely much more creative and much for follow-his-lead. The suggested activity was designed to introduce the very basic concepts behind subtraction and addition;
- draw a 'road' on a piece of paper,
- put cubes along it & write 'rules' on the paper,
- make 'counter' cubes,
- mix up ten 'number' cubes in a box.
- play a race to the finish game.
Chip also seems to be really getting into drawing at the moment and is beginning to move from the 'what have I drawn' stage - where he asks everyone what it is he's drawn and agrees with the idea he likes best, to the 'what shall I draw stage?' - where his drawings are far more carefully considered and deliberately drawn.
"Phoebe standing on the grass. She is wearing her glasses."
In other news..
Joel (Taz) had his college assessment test yesterday, to hopefully get him in on a Level 2 Btec in Music (performance). We were supposed to meet the Head of Department, but she couldn't make it, which is a pain as I have questions I'd like to ask about what he needs to bring/do for interview. Then the person doing the tests with him was otherwise occupied with a 'social services incident'. I could have easily helped him with his test, as I was allowed to sit with him and he was left unsupervised, but I didn't, because that would be cheating!! I must say I am not particularly impressed with South Cheshire College in terms of their organisation skills, but Jake is happy enough there, learning well and it does have a nice atmosphere about the place. So, Joel did his 'free writing' piece, which I'm sure was fine (although it wasn't very long) and then he scored a Level 2 on his English test (which I think is GCSE level, or above), but didn't do so well on his maths. This is the boy who is working through some pretty advanced maths on Conquer Maths (surds and such like), but apparently has completely forgotten how to do most of the very basic operations (addition and subtraction with re-grouping, multiplication with carrying, and long/short division). EEEK!! Looks like we might be covering some old turf then before September! I'm sure it will all sweep back in, but I'm a bit stunned that he has even forgotten these things. Surely those operations, repeated time and again ad infinitum during his primary years, should be like riding a bike ~ they are not skills you usually loose, are they?? He says he can do it all in his head (but that would have taken too long of course), but can't remember how to do it quickly on paper. At the end of the day though, his results were the same as Jake's were, and they let him on the course he wanted based mostly on his interview ~ which is why it is quite important to find out what the music department will want at interview.
The rest of our week has contained a lot of 'getting back to normal' ~ swimming, gym, clubs, dancing; that kind of thing plus an awful lot of exercise-biking! We are on target so far, but it's quite tough to keep it going already. 12 days down - only 5 weeks and 5 days left to go! AAArrrrgh!
For more information about our challenge, and if you'd like to sponsor us, please go HERE ~