Wednesday, 24 February 2010
Saturday, 20 February 2010
Monday, 15 February 2010
Conversationally-Orientated Opportunistic Learning - COOL!
And then we improved it:
Serendipitous Conversationally-Orientated Opportunistic Learning - SCOOL!
So, all I need to say is that I follow the SCOOL philosophy. I'm sure that will put an end to all those tricky questions!
Thursday, 11 February 2010
We made muffins (what else!), a little early for Valentine's Day, but yummy nonetheless.
We filed any bits and bobs of written work into the large, years' files I keep (there wasn't a lot, which felt discouraging) and then we sat down with tea and candles and my planner and talked over what we'd done, making a note of it as we went. Soon the list was bigger than the box I'd begun it in: French, copy-writing, science kits, ice-skating, new friends, poetry tea-times, read-alouds and more. We rounded off with one 'old-favourite' poem each.
We were all surprised at how much we had actually achieved in these dark, cold, and energy-deficient weeks. Comparing the list to the objectives I had set for the whole term, I could see that we are well on track in almost all areas and a little bit more getting out of the house in March will see us through. Taking the time to reflect gave us something to celebrate and marked another milestone on our journey.
Tuesday, 9 February 2010
In the last four days, my little girl has been out on a swimming trip with her god-parents, had two friends (sisters) round to play when they came over with their dad for Sunday tea and is currently upstairs with the 'new' girl who just moved in across the road. Tomorrow, another Home Ed family is coming for lunch, with three little girls of around my daughter's age. The first three of these I had no part in initiating. The mum coming tomorrow was introduced to me by a mutual friend and, again, I had no part in causing this to happen.
I find it tricky to balance taking control and going with the flow, but I am reminded this week that I don't have to do it all, that God does answer prayers and I can let go and let things unfold.
Monday, 8 February 2010
Socialization: the process by which infants and young people become aware of society and their relationships with others.
Socialise: to behave in a sociable manner, eg at parties, etc; to spend time in the company of others.
This led me, as it so often does when perusing a dictionary, to check out another word: 'sociable'. This means 'friendly', 'companiable', 'fond of others' company'. (It also means a type of open horse-drawn carriage. You never know when that might be useful in a crossword!)
So it would seem that, as an adult, I have achieved socialization: I am aware of society and my relationships with others and I can operate successfully in society. I have friends and I can get along and even work with people I wouldn't chose to. However, I do not always socialise. I like to spend the evening in by myself, just a book or a jigsaw for company. I am fairly sociable and I enjoy spending time with others, but I tend towards the introvert end of the spectrum.
I think that my children have also achieved socialisation and I am tempted to think that the fact they have friends is evidence of this. Socialisation is a skill that can be practised at home, especially with two siblings. I think this learning process can be more explicit and intentional with a loving, invested adult around, someone whose skills are more developed and so has something to teach.
I think the real concern for me, then, is whether my children have enough opportunities to socialise. This, of course, depends to a certain degree on how sociable they are. My eldest is more content in his own company as opposed to my daughter who is much more keen to play with friends. While my son has a 'take-it-or-leave-it' attitude to social gatherings, my daughter is always up for a play-date or a sleep-over. Again, it is about being intentional and noticing their individual needs, focussing my attention and efforts on what these particular, unique people require and not what 'children in general' might be perceived to need.
This is an issue I'd like to come back to and I'd welcome any readers thoughts. How do you manage with your Home Educated children. How do you think your children's school experience meets these needs? How did you learn socialization?
Friday, 5 February 2010
On reflection, it is obvious that, for most, it is simply the first question that comes to mind about a subject which they may never have come across before. To me, it feels like a constant battery, weight and import increased by repetition. I have absorbed this worry, this questioning, and it undermines my peace and confidence. So I have decided to re-frame the question: What evidence do I have, about my own children, that they lack friends or have trouble making friends?
‘Exhibit 1’ On our last two camping holidays, all three of the children have made friends with whom they have cycled, played in the playground, hung out in the tents with, and continued a pen-pal relationship with when we’ve come home. Clearly, they have the necessary skills to get to know other children, to interact with them, to build a relationship with them and to have fun together.
‘Exhibit 2’ All three belong to, and have belonged to, ‘extra-curricular’ groups: Cubs, Rainbows, Climbing, Gym, Film Club. While they have not always enjoyed every club they have been a part of, they have all been a member of some kind of activity group with children their own age for a number of years. Clearly, they are able to fit in to, and function within, a group setting.
‘Exhibit 3’ My eldest went on a group holiday this year, a week away from home, not knowing anyone else that would be there. He had a fantastic time, enjoyed every part of it (except the cold swimming pool!) and came home with increased self-confidence and a handful of friends’ addresses to write to. Clearly, he is able to make new friends and cope well without my constant presence, guidance and protection.
‘Exhibit 4’ In the last couple of weeks, all three of my children have had a local friend to our house or been to play at a friend’s house in our neighbourhood. Clearly, they have friends and the opportunity to play with these friends.
So, I will practice my answer to the question, “How do they make friends?” : “Very well, thank you.” And I will re-read this post when I feel wobbly!
Thursday, 4 February 2010
Wednesday, 3 February 2010
My life feels a lot like a jumbled jigsaw. Perhaps, in this concrete acting-out, this parable, I will find the confidence that all my little pieces will fit too.
Tuesday, 2 February 2010
If only I knew what it is that makes days work this way, I'd do it every day!