View From My House

View From My House

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Reptilian Friends, Scaries, Art and Cupcakes

Above: Kai's War. Below: Dante's Scorpion Fish eating Bees.

Above: Labyrinth's Fantasy House and Garden.
Below: Raven's Chimera (see Resistance: Fall of Man)...So we're a little bit lax in screening 'violence' from our children's viewing pleasure. They do actually realise it's make believe and fun even if they are a bit young.

Above and Below: Raven's Halloween Book or some parts of. I didn't help him with any of it, I just can't believe how quickly he is picking up writing! He asked for this little book too, so no coersion, totally natural stuff going on here, his chosen genre and his rapidly advancing abilities... It might be a bit hard to see, but those are properly formed words, something on par with Kai's writing about now (he's just about to turn 7).
As part of our lessons (and finally getting the right time), we made these lovely Gluten-Free Cupcakes premixed by Basco. Wow, they are nice, and highly recommended, that icing and chocolate flakes come with... It isn't much fun for the kids though, one to break an egg, one to pour in some rice milk, one to scream "when is it MY turn???" not to mention that all five were interested in helping today...
Well, this week has been all about Life In Cold Blood , determined to finish off this learning unit, so far this week we've watched Dragons of the Dry and Sophisticated Serpents, and done quite a few lessons. Naturally since there are thousands of snakes/reptiles I kept it down to just a few to concentrate on... Frilled Neck Lizard, the Vieled Chameleon and the Anaconda so far. I'll be honing in on our Aussie Snake Friends soon. When we move to Victoria, Dante's put in the order to convert his fish tank to a reptile one and have some tiny snake, can't recall what he called it, but they eat ants apparently. I'd much rather a mountain dragon lizard or some such personally. But that's off the topic a bit, can I help it being focused on our dreams???
I haven't even mentioned I'm taking a different approach. Lately they've been a bit restless and bored, so I'm upping the ante with lessons, so they have to read aloud for 15 minutes/to themselves for 15 minutes, do 20 minutes of structured math, do set lessons (in this weeks case it's the reptiles), do some form of art work (usually drawing), and write 5 sentences. Not a huge amount, you're probably thinking. Plus they have to have their chores done before we can start (they've been quite neglectful of that - who wouldn't if given the opportunity). Other than that their time is their own, and given a day they get all that done by lunch (not yet but getting closer) they are welcome to play with computers/PS3s etc. Oh, and they are going to start learning to type so they can blog weekly.
Obviously it was timely today so we got to bake the cupcakes. There will be other bonuses and extras to be given out randomly to help them be happy little achievers.
Just one more thing... had an interesting conversation with the eldest two today. Dante was complaining bitterly that he wanted to be a "normal boy" and not have to be in trouble lots. I asked him what he thought a normal boy would do? He just shrugged his shoulders, so I reminded him. Of the extra stress of getting up early, getting ready, no time for playing games/watching TV just eat and out the door to school, to sit down and be bored and write for ages, and have 1 hour of play and eating broken up by this and that and having no real choices about what was going into his head (they have totally autonomy about WHAT they learn here, as previously mentioned)... then home to more reading homework (and this is only from what I remember from him in preschool (his school was pushing very early literacy he was doing preschool - where's the fun in that? What ever happened to a carefree childhood without homework in primary school?) With mum or dad rushing around to make tea and cut lunches for the next day, an early bedtime so it can all happen again in the same rushed/stressed manner the next day. He brought up the long bus rides and the pushing around and lack of seating (well the bus we had to get on from his school was just that... primary/high/college and uni students in the same space practically, you can imagine.... and if not that the struggle to get a parking spot in front of the school with active patrols of policemen telling you to buzz off and come back later to pick up older students (even if they were due out less than 10 minutes later). And Labyrinth perked up and told me something she'd never ever admitted to before (she used to complain about going back to school until she decided being home was much more fun and relaxed)... "Yeah, and you don't have to be told you're doing everything wrong and not to talk/do that and have the teacher yell at you all the time."
Just made me realise what a wise move it was taking them out of their childhood prisons, Q.

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