Friday, February 24, 2006

Take Cover!

After S's meltdown over the gf diet yesterday, we decided to go as a family to do the weekly food shop. We first visited the health food shop. As we thought, S ran around the shop picking everything up saying "can we have this?", "Look Mum - pizza!", "Can we have these chocolate cookies?" and other similar exclamations. It helped get the message across that going gf did not mean giving up his favourite things, just changing which ones we bought, or how we made them.

I know that change is hard for him, so I was really proud of him at lunch when he sat down to his crispbreads and crudites without a fuss. Of course, the chocolate cereal bar afterwards helped! He has been told that if he continues to be good about his lunches, we'll make the gf pizza mix up together for lunch one day next week.

I am very proud of my lads for the way they eat. They have always been into fruit, and, ever since we did a project on nutrition, they have dutifully counted their fruit/veg portions each day. The standard UK guidance is 5 portions a day. This of course is an arbitrary figure that came about in the 1990s following the WHOs recommendation that adults eat around 1lb (400g) of fruit and vegetables a day. If you take a "portion" as being 80g, that gives the figure of five portions. Despite being quoted universally as being a recommendation of the WHO, it was never actually a recommendation, or a target. The World Cancer Research Organisation's research shows 10 a day would be the optimum, for example. Also, there is no guidance on types, so some people could claim to be meeting their quota on tinned fruit (with possible added sugar) and fruit juices. We have discussed all this with the boys, and follow the "rainbow" principle - following the fact that different coloured fruit and veg have different properties and therefore a varied "coloured" diet is beneficial and broad.

Generally speaking, each lad has 3 different vegetable crudites at lunch, followed by a banana. At dinner, they have two "portions" of vegetables (usually peas, sweetcorn, sweet potato and parsnips). For supper, they have 3 pieces of fruit (usually raisens, apples and pear, or another banana). In addition to this, they always have at least one glass for pure fruit juice - either carton or freshly juiced (if Dad's home and working the juicer!). They put me to shame!

It has been a fairly quiet day, education wise, as the boys have had one of the house-wide games in progress. They started out using playing cards to create bases for their armies (using toy aeroplanes and army vehicles). This evolved during the day, and currently, the cushions from the 3 piece suite are being used to create 3 bases, each child has a toy shopping basket on their head, and they are "shooting" each other using the toy bananas, and throwing plastic fruit as hand grenades....

The beauty of the internet for home education is the resources that it places at your fingertips. There are some brilliant sites out there. If you haven't already found it, have a look at the award winning Woodlands Junior School website. It is very accessible for 5-10 year olds and has some great educational games.

For older children, encourage debate by finding out more about democs (deliberative meeting of citizens) . Homeschool groups could use them, or how about families?! I remember my family always used to debate stuff. We used to have the evening BBC news on whilst we ate our dinner, and the family would then argue (I mean debate!) the stories of the day afterwards. Most times, it would end up with my Mother and I on one side, and my brother and Dad on the other!

My dh and I try to encourage debate amongst ours too. At the moment, it is only really J that is interested - but he is very opinionated! He is very vocal on the rights and wrongs of some of the decisions that governments around the world have made, and it very keen on conservation too.

I'm waiting to hear from my brother to find out when my SIL will be out of hospital, so that we can go and visit. My Mum saw them today, and said that (of course!) her new grandson is lovely.

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