Archive for the 'Hobbes' Category

OK, so it’s not all bad…!

I’ve finally found something I like about the school holidays!

There are loads of great kids events going on, and we’ve been taking full advantage of them.

Last week I took Sukie and a friend to a Creative Writing workshop led by the author Michelle Paver, at the UK Wolf Conservation Trust. (Michelle’s latest books feature a wolf as one of the main characters, and she is a patron of the trust.) Sukie had a great time, learning about the mechanics of writing, picking up tips for getting published, asking lots of questions of one of her favourite authors, and having a go at writing a short story whilst sitting watching wolves for inspiration!

On Friday all three girls did some flint-knapping at a local museum. By the end of the session we all had rather cool replica flint scrapers to take home, and I was the only one to hurt myself, getting a little over-zealous with the whole process! Since then Sukie has been collecting flints when we are out and about, and doing a bit of knapping at home!

Today was a percussion workshop. Despite the doubts of various members of our party, a good time was had by all. They learnt some simple rhythms on djembe drums, did some very complicated body percussion, looked at lots of different musical instruments and learnt an African song. They were all very keen on giving their dad a demo of the body percussion, and Willow is planning to make her own drum. Inspiring stuff!

Art, craft and photography next week!

Is it really necessary?

Ah, the Summer holidays; glorious sun-drenched days of lazing around doing whatever you please…or the bane of home educators everywhere???

Today we had a great afternoon, visiting a local gallery which had a Family Open Day with lots of lovely free kids activities and workshops. We met various home educating friends there, enjoying the sunshine and opportunities to get arty. Sukie, Bobbie and Willow participated in the “drawing and sculpture” and  “make a clay tile or coil pot” workshops, and Sukie had a go at throwing a pot on a wheel, though she was disappointed not to be able to take her effort home afterwards. Best of all, they did all this with good friends, and let’s face it, the right company can make any endeavour a pleasure! Unfortunately, all good things come to an end, and we made our weary way home, pots in hand.

Within minutes of being home Bobbie and Willow were playing happily with some of the children who live in our street, who all go to school. All went well for a while- paper and pens were taken out so that they could sit and draw together, then acoustic guitars were required- how idyllic! Right?

As usual, things started to go pear-shaped after about half an hour- squabbles, name-calling, certain girls storming off saying that they were now “worst enemies”. Me sat indoors, sighing at the inevitability!

Bobbie and Willow are rather nonplussed at this seemingly “normal” childhood behaviour. Why do these girls feel the need to boast and lie and fall out every five minutes? This is not something they tend to experience with their home ed friends- no need for constant one-upmanship and trying to impress, they take each other for what they are and value each others differences.

Now, I’m not suggesting for one minute that Bobbie and Willow and their home ed friends get on perfectly- far from it. We have more than our fair share of sibling dramas, and they have been known to argue with their HE pals- but these things tend to pass by without the need for prolonged slanging matches, bitter grudges and side-taking.

So I sat surreptitiously listening and wondering: is this where I go steaming in, the over-protective mother- ordering Bobbie and Willow never to play with these children again, getting embroiled in the petty quarreling? Or should I let things run their course, hoping that they see the situation for what it is, and make their own decisions not to get involved?

I know that this scenario is nothing out of the ordinary- it happens every day up and down the country, in a playground near you. I’m sure that the general consensus is that it’s all essential childhood experience- girls are bitchy and gang-up on each other: that’s just the way it is. Trouble is, I’m not sure I believe that. Surely there are other ways to go about resolving conflict? Is all this really necessary?

I remember the playground politics when I was at school, and the price of fitting in. I don’t recall learning much from it, other than the fact that it was all a bit daft and pointless, and to be honest I think Bobbie and Willow have come to that conclusion without having to go through 11 years of schooling!

So….I kept my thoughts to myself today; will I manage to do so for six long weeks? Well that’s up for debate!

Eclectic Home Ed- Eclectic Life!

It seems wrong to start without an introduction, so…

I am Hobbes: home educating mum of three daughters, Sukie, 11; Bobbie, 9; Willow, 7; and wife to Dandy- whose age shall remain undisclosed!

There are a lot of terms bandied about for various Home Education “methods” or styles, but I think the one that sums us up best is probably “eclectic”.

This generally means trying out a little bit of this and that, and seeing how it goes!

It’s fascinating to see the way that each child works, and what excites them. Similarly, when something doesn’t work, we can stop it and try another way.

It’s this ability to adapt an approach to fit your child’s learning style and passions that makes home education so efficient. Well that and the small class numbers!!!

We’re not completely autonomous- I do sometimes try to direct the childrens’ learning, and lately we’ve been doing some project-work with other HE families, so there’s an element of “teacher and pupil” there.

On the other hand, what we do could by no stretch of the imagination be called “structured”!

Some days Sukie will still be in her bedroom reading in her PJs at 11am, while Bobbie and Willow have already made and eaten breakfast, created their own “book”, bounced around on the trampoline, watched a bit of TV and filled in their Tadpole Diaries.

Of course some days have their own routine based around the various groups and clubs we go to. At the moment these include Brownies, Guides, HE groups, projects, climbing and ice-skating.

While the girls love all their various activities, sometimes the days they enjoy most are the ones when we have no time constraints, and if we want to stay at home all day in our pyjamas, reading, talking, cooking and playing games, then we can.

For me, this is the beauty of home education- the freedom it affords us as a family to choose how we spend our time together; and the freedom it allows the children as learners, finding out about the things that interest them and doing things at their own pace.