Friday, 15 February 2013

It's all Encouraging (well, mostly!)

Eldest has gone off MathsWhizz at the moment, so he asked if he could do a workbook today instead.  No problem there - the boys have a drawer each with workbooks in (that I was beginning to think would never be used), so he found the Maths one from this set, and got to work.  It was really interesting to me how exercises that I know he has done on the computer with little problem became harder when presented in a different medium, in this case on paper.  I suppose this is why it's important that they have a variety of resources available to them, to help them to consolidate what they have learned - and I'm encouraged to note that left to themselves they naturally choose to use different methods of learning after an amount of time on another...  Of couse, there's also an element of referring back to his old school workbooks that he hated - maybe the association is still too strong!  Nonetheless he said even though the workbook this morning took him longer than MathsWhizz would have done, he still preferred it today, so that's good.

Also today Eldest completed his lapbook, hooray!  He really wanted to finish it by the end of this week so we can show it to relatives at the weekend.  I was definitely more involved this time.  Every chapter was chosen by Eldest and he chose what to write, what photos and mini flapbooks to use etc;  I just encouraged him to find extra interesting facts when he came to a page and lost inspiraton - and I helped him with the layout, such as showing him how to make all the chapter titles the same size & font etc... I think it does look more 'grown-up' than his previous, first ever lap-book, which is nice, but a bit sad for me personally too, as I loved the chaotic creativity of his first one... but he's really proud of this one, and quite rightly as he put a lot of effort into it!  Both styles are effective, so it's good that he can choose which he prefers, next time.

This is the front page...  all other pages included at the end of the post, for those of you who'd like to all... (Grandma and Grampie, either don't look, or when we see you tomorrow you'll have to pretend you haven't seen it yet!)

Middle is full of cold today, bless him, though we've had no colds or illnesses in the house all winter, so I can't complain!  He was still keen to learn and do stuff though - and inspired by his big brother he also rejected the online MathsWhizz, had a look in his workbook drawer instead and found his wipe-clean workbook on Telling the Time.  Thanks to the learners clock we have on the wall next to the kitchen table, he is completely used to me casually asking "what's the time today?" and being able to work it out... so his workbook was no problem at all.

I absolutely LOVE the fact that just by giving him space to gain his own confidence, he is really starting to want to try things for himself.  When he left school he was really discouraged and refused to try anything as he had so little belief in himself... it's totally lovely (not to mention a relief) to see the change in him *Happy HE Mummy dance*
He did a little more on his lapbook today as well, but ran out of steam quite quickly, so I just encouraged him to finish the flaps he was working on so we could stick them in and not lose them - it took us about two hours of distraction and re-focus (writing one word at a time before he wandered off, or so it seemed!) and then it was definitely time to just rest!

Youngest was in a funny one today - he loved watching Middle do his Telling-the-Time workbook, and was able to join in with some of it - but then he just wanted to build things with lego (which is fine) and then generally interfere with everything his brothers were doing (not so fine), which was tricky as they both seemed to need a lot of my involvement today so I wasn't able to distract Youngest from harrassing whichever brother I wasn't helping at that point.  Happily, he eventually found the wooden train track set, so that occupied him in the end.

Oh, and also encouraging to us - simply because we are really hoping that our nestbox with camera will be used this spring - was this footage caught this morning (please excuse the sound track - I haven't worked out how to turn off the built-in mic on my laptop when recording the nestbox images)...

... it's lovely to see that having found the next box and given it the 'once-over' last month, the blue tits are still popping back as if to check it's still there and still vacant... oh we do hope they will nest in it in due time - what a lovely spring project that would be!

It's been such a positive and encouraging week - and I think in part this is because after the most recent wobble & self-examination earlier this year, I have become much more confident in our approach.  Having now given myself permission to adopt a partly adult-led approach, things are flowing so much more easily.  I had become so caught up in the 'autonomous v structure' debate, when it turned out that really wasn't our issue at all!  I'm so grateful to be part of a community that can help bounce ideas around and share helpful books & blog-posts.  Anyway, we're still very child-led too: yes, I do ask the boys to do a bit of English or Maths every day, four days out of five (whether online, in workbooks or otherwise), and I usually have a game, some baking or an art project up my sleeve in case the boys seem uninspired - but they have the power of veto in all of that if they can't face it - and the rest of the time is theirs: they lead the way when it comes to choosing projects that they want to do, or the subjects that they would like to do lapbooks on etc - and I make sure they have lots of time available for free-play, imaginative games, educational TV etc.  It just feels like the perfect balance for us for now - and when it stops being so we will tweak as necessary!

Anyway, now for the weekend, and time with Daddy after a very busy week, hooray!  So I'll leave you with the rest of Eldest's most fantabulous 'Desert Animals' lapbook...


  1. Wow, that's really impressive! So much detail, and how long did it take?! The beauty of HE, being able to focus on one thing until it's done instead of being dragged away because the timetable says so, or forced to carry on because it's the term's project!

    1. Thank you, Gonetomars! He's really chuffed with your kind comments. It took him two weeks, start to finish - and you're exactly right, it's been lovely for him to be able to spend as much time on it as he liked on any given day xx