Saturday, October 13, 2007

Busy Again

I forgot to mention on Tuesday that the drive to the play area was a typical HE car journey!

Do you have them? Something about being in the car that seems to trigger off all those conversation; conversations that, via a variety of tenuous links and tangents, can take you to all sorts of exciting places which, afterwards, you can't work out how you got there!

As the weather was so awful, we naturally talked about rain. William asked why the rain drops on his window looked a different colour than those on another window. So that led to a discussion about light, absorbtion, refraction, waves etc. Then we looked at the tyre tracks being left on the road by the car in front. So we discussed friction, pressure, centrifugal force, and I explained why tyres have treads. Then Samuel commented on the spray being thrown up and said it was like a hurricane; the rain was being sucked up with the wheel (like things being caught up in the cycling wind) and then thrown out. I was really pleased as making that comparison meant that he genuinely understands the concepts involved.

In fact, when we discussed light, Josh explained something to Samuel, and then Samuel explained part of it to William - I love it when they are teaching each other!

Wednesday and Thursday have been a bit tough as Jonathan baby has been very fractious and I've had two very bad nights. Thursday night he woke up every hour, which was NOT a lot of fun. Consequently, I haven't exactly been a ray of sunshine. But this is where I am actually grateful for home ed.

When the two oldest boys were at school, if I had a bad day, I'd go and pick them up from school, grumpy and yelling at them to be quiet etc, and the whole evening would be a disaster. Now, we are all in it together, and far more tolerant, understanding and flexible. I know that even on a bad day like today, on balance, they have had good with the bad, rather than the only time they are with me being "bad".

Thursday the boys continued on their free trials of Meleto, Education City and Maths Upgrade, and also reawaken their interest in Patrician III. In particular, they are playing a multiplayer game, by being on different pcs in the house and playing together over the internet!

The game teaches them trading, business skills, bartering, commerce, taxes... between this and Sim City they are probably more clued up than their schooled peers! The other good site that Josh has used is the "Red Box" site from the Government.

Yesterday afternoon Josh went to take the exam for the kayaking course that he has been taking. For five weeks he has joined with a group of other kids from our group, to take their RYA first certificate. I'm proud to say that he passed! Next week he starts a similar course for sailing (which is something he's really interested in).

This is the first thing he's done on his own - both without his brothers and often without us, as someone else has sometimes taken and collected him. I've watched him "grow up" considerably over the past five weeks and I'm really enjoying watching him blossom.

As if to reinforce this maturing that puberty is bringing, last night instead of reading before bed he put on his pc and found an internet radio station to listen to for an hour and a half! He said it was "helping me relax"!

It feels very strange, as I still remember being a teenager; I can't get my head around the fact that now a son of MINE is a teen!

Whilst he was out the other two each went onto separate pcs. Samuel did his emails and his blog, and Willaim played a star wars game which he can (just about) play on his own. We are trying to encourage him to WANT to read so that he can play these games without so much help, but I suspect that is a shot in the foot as he LIKES having his brothers "have to" help him..

This weird speech of his (WD) is making it harder for others to understand him at the moment. With every "i" sound having suddenly become "oi", strangers can't understand him. I wish I knew why this had suddenly started.
Meanwhile, baby is still colicky and I am fearing some kind of lactose intolerance; I think its more because of how he is feeding that an actual intolerance.

The free trial for "Learning Upgrade has run out, and I merrily signed up for a free reading trial.

I should have thought first.

Samuel got incredibly upset that he couldn't do the maths (even though my mum is going to pay for him to have it all the time now) and refused to do the reading. It was a reminder of the fact that I really have to think about things from his perspective first, rather than always acting on what I think is suitable.

Yet again I realise just how hard it would have been for him if he had still been in school.

Today we had a photographer round from the Daily Mail that we had been interviewed for, so that was something different to start the day with! They are doing another HE story, after their one about the large family the other week. I'll let you know when its coming out; they've interviewed a number of families for it.

We got out the microscopes and the Hot Wires sets, so that we had something visual to use (as we don't do workbooks!), and when the photographer left, the boys carried on with them.
The Hot Wires is something I can recommend; whilst Samuel was not interested in electronics, when it involved looking at circuit diagrams or the science of electricity, give him these chunky bits to put together and create things with, is really working. (He also enjoyed the visit to a power station that we did in our first year of home ed!)

He's just built an FM radio with it and the fact that the first station he found was playing the Sugarbabes (his favourites) definately has helped reinforce the lesson!

Did you see the Teacher's TV programme on HE on Friday? I thought it was very positive. Admittedly, it shows a fairly restrictive view of HE, but then as the target audience was teachers, then it is probably as well to show more middle class, intellectual people. I don't think the teachers are ready for autonomous learning yet ;o)

However, when I'm blogging for them next week, I may try to explain it!


Wobblymoo said...

I love those car journeys, they are just so different now from what they used to be. I'm looking forward to seeing what sort of attention your blog attracts.

Vinod said...

We feel for you regards starting out Math Upgrade or Reading Upgrade. Kids get hooked on moving up the levels, and they don't want to stop!

Best wishes,
The Learning Upgrade team