Friday, 8 February 2013

Mood Swings, Muffins and Matisse

Eldest is having a growth spurt.  I had noticed some hefty mood swings recently, and his appetite (which is usually tiny) has increased several times over... he eats more than me at the moment!  As with all times when my children exhibit unusual behaviour, I take it as a sign that I need to draw closer to them - and this week I have really enjoyed the chance to spend time together working on his lapbook.  He had quite a few really lovely comments made about his first lapbook (as shared in "We Love Mondays"), and that spurred him on to do an even better book next time, for his "fans"!  Perfect opportunity for Mummy to sit down with him and spend time working on it together.  He still did all the work, but I gave him a few tips, like for every animal pictured, include their name, where they're from and an interesting fact about them.  I don't want to load work onto him so it becomes a chore, but I do feel that he is ready to be stretched a bit, and left to himself he has great ideas, but tends to rush them through a bit - so I've sat with him this week and helped him to focus on getting each page exactly as he wants, not rushing over mistakes.  We've had so much fun going through it together, giggling over mispronounced words and funny facts found while researching, it's been lovely!  I'm so grateful for Home Ed once again - the chance to spend quality time with my boy when he most needs to be reminded that he's loved.

And today it wasn't just Eldest, either - I had some precious one-on-one time with each of my boys, while their siblings were occupied elsewhere (it would be lovely if it were like that every day, but usually we just muddle along, bouncing between rooms, children and activities).  Eldest and I worked on his lapbook as mentioned above, and later I also "helped" Middle with his lapbook.  Whereas Eldest's lapbook is almost entirely done on the computer (with a bit of cutting and sticking) and our working together involves researching, some dictation etc (him to me), Middle's is a lot more practical and hands-on: I've printed off lots of little folded-books, flap-books etc for him from the Homeschool Share templates, some of which already had the information written inside, and we had lovely some snuggles this morning with Middle reading the amazing body facts out to me (he particularly enjoyed boasting that he had more bones and better hearing than me because he's younger).  Then once Youngest had finished his puzzles and time on Reading Eggs (in the same room as Eldest and me, so I could marvel at how much he has progressed while having time off), he and I went to bake some muffins - "just you and me".  He particularly wanted to make some that our lactose-intolerant lodger could share, so we made some carrot muffins.  I thought they were lovely, but Youngest couldn't get past the thought of vegetables inside a cake, and has decided that he doesn't like them.  He loved grating the carrots though - we used the grating attachment on the foodmixer, and he relished pushing the carrots down with the plunger while watching the sharp grater holes do their thing.  He loves gadgets generally, so it was a real winner (apart from not liking the taste of the end result!)

After all the individual work we had some Mummy-led together time where we looked at some art by Matisse, using one of the Smart about Art books that we have - we really like that series.  We talked about how Matisse used just scissors, paper and glue in his later pictures, and how he liked bright colours... and we grabbed our own scissors, glue and brightly coloured paper to have a go for ourselves.  It is harder than it looks, not to use pencils for details or to draw outlines to cut along, but again, we were all pleased with our finished art...
"Insect Hill", by Eldest

"Underwater Creatures" by Middle
he took extra care over his Sea Hare (top left corner), complete with anatomically correct 'poo-cannon'!

"Zoo" by Youngest

"Jungle Flower" by Mummy

Finally we had a game of Animal Families (like 'Happy Families', but based on animals grouped by classification).  Another lovely day - but for those of you who may be tempted to compare yourselves unfavourably, you'll be relieved to hear that yesterday was nowhere near like this.  Our HE group that we were looking forward to was cancelled at the last minute, and we all felt a bit "flobberly" (it's a family word!) without that focus to the day.  So we basically did very little, which somehow resulted in a lot of mess.  I can't actually remember any of what we did - it was that 'good'!  But I'm including it here for the sake of balance: a little inspiration (hopefully) for those who could use it, and commiserations with anyone else experiencing a non-productive 'flobberly day'.  Whichever applies to you, I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

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