Monday, 23 April 2012

Variety is the spice of education... I think

We had a slow start to today (still recovering from Saturday) - which is FINE because we CAN! Yay!  Imagine if they were still in school & I'd had to revert to Sergeant Major to get them up, ready, and out to school... *shudder* (excuse me for the 'HE Mummy' gloating moment).
Anyway, once they got going, they really went for it, as we'd arranged for friends to come round in the afternoon and they wanted to be able to play on the Wii with them.  I know incentives & rewards aren't everybody's cup of tea, but the boys have really locked onto the star chart, so we're running with that for as long as it works and they see it as a positive thing :)  The only problem is, DS2 seems to get discouraged if his brothers get stars quicker than him, so he does need encouraging to stay with it, but if it gets too negative for him we'll try something different - nothing's set in stone :)
I'm still exploring ways to inspire them & have definitely found that if we do the same thing every day they get VERY quickly bored (not only the same subject, but even the same resource within the subject).  Just because they enjoyed something one day, I am quickly discovering it really doesn't mean they'll want to do it again the next day.  Whereas one day they might love their workbooks, the next day they might want to do something computer based or more hands-on creative.  Ah well, it keeps me on my toes I guess.  And I know it's ideally more about following their lead, but they're not used to thinking that way yet, so I just keep offering suggestions, & seeing what they go for.  I'm sure they'll be suggesting their own ideas very soon! 
DS1 enjoyed using his dsi to take photos of us, then manipulate the photos into weird and wonderful pieces of art :)  He also got stuck in to one of his library books: Eyewitness Guide to the Ocean (his favourite ever subject).
DS2 wanted to do some drawing, so we got out our much-loved and often-used How To Draw series of books, by Dan Green - absolutely the most accessible drawing books we've found when it comes to the boys being able to easily follow instructions and produce something that looks like the given picture.  It may not be high art, but it really builds their confidence :)  DS2 also enjoyed doing some of his Animal Mazes, as it feels like playing, but is really good for fine motor control, and as such, boosts his handwriting - and he really enjoyed reading a book to me too (it's usually me who reads to him at bedtime; he loved the novelty of it being the other way around)
DS3 - again - started a workbook and just kept going until he had finished, he loved it so much :)  This time it was a 'getting ready to read'-type workbook that we've had since DS1 was little, so it's now out of print & I can't post a link - but anyway, DS3 loved it :)
The Maths Whizz accounts don't go live until next week, but the boys enjoyed the sample lessons so much, I asked them if they'd like to do a bit more today which they were all excited about.  DS1 did 3 lessons at his level (Key Stage 4, for those who are interested), one of which DS2 really liked the look of, so he also did that when it was his turn (despite his being technically KS1) - and got them all right :) DS3 was determined to have a go too, so I sat with him and we went through the Reception games (aimed at age 5).  He's three but hungry to learn & good with numbers - once I showed him what to do he loved it :)
So, five stars each on their chart, but the learning didn't stop there... we've also stumbled on a lovely nature project... Nottingham Trent University have some Peregrine Falcons nesting on their roof, and in partnership with the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, have got a live webcam showing the parents and hatchlings, which is on all day.  We are already loving the Peregrine nest, and I can foresee plenty of learning opportunities as we watch :)   Also following the nature theme (we are definitely wildlife fans), we have been enjoying "Our Planet" (thankyou CBeebies!), with DS2 particularly fascinated by the dung beetles.  Yay for nature projects - Mummy's favourite :)


  1. You all seem to be doing really well Rachel. So long as you can work out some breaks for youself sometimes too.

  2. LOL, well - that's the plan... ;)

  3. We are allowed breaks? :-P

  4. Like you, I have found I have adapted regularly to the kids learning needs, trying things finding they aren't working or find more interesting ways to learn. Nothing is set stone here.

    DS1 is more set work now, but that's because he is working towards iGSCE in Maths & English next year.

    We have also found TV inspirational, films, documentaries ...recently the "Senna" formula 1 drivers documentary...trigger so many questions, introduced a new sport and showed a man at the top of his sport who honoured God. I also have found the BBC history documentaries awesome, for capturing a real life image of history. Also movies like Oliver sparked interest in the Victorian times with lots of questions like what were work houses etc.

    I have found even computer games very creative and learning tools, both boys have learn't to spell from computing, also there are games like 'Minecraft' which the boys and their Dad play together, which are incredibly powerful creative games, like Lego on a screen. DS1 has learned to write applications for admin job positions on gaming forums, which were very impressive for 13. Also he is regularly having online debates, usually about evolution v creation, which is excellent for learning to express himself clearly and put across his point. So even 'screen time' is very productive and positive.

    Sorry to ramble on your blog, but big son is busy with Maths and little son is playing so I am having a break :-P