It’s half term in the world of schools for friends and family and so we have for once taken our week off to coincide so that we can catch up with friends on Tuesday and have cousins to stay Thursday to Sunday, along with mutual home educating friends on the Saturday as well. We are ready for a week off, well I am and so is Bob who has been working really hard the last 3 weeks. Zog’s brain though has just taken a massive developmental leap forward and he is now constantly wanting to write words and learn the alphabet and has no concept of the need for a holiday. Suddenly letters and words are beginning to make sense and there is no half term break for his brain. He simply wants to know what letter comes next and then what letter comes next and so on in an endless stream of animal names. I keep finding pieces of paper with words all over it that Zog has written. So different in approach to Bob, Bob asked the same questions but never to write them down but to imprint them on his mind. Bob lives his learning and life through his mind and thoughts while Zog always has a pen in hand and leaves a trail of papers behind him. Bob spends bed time reading factual books, Zog spends bed time drawing pages of bugs and insects. Zog wants to fill the world with beauty, colour; projecting his imagination onto paper. Bob’s learning of the world is internalized and comes out through the games he plays and in conversations. I love how different they are and at the same time the best of friends.
Introducing cursive writing at this point has definitely been the right thing to do and writing has become much less of a battle ground than it has been. Even when he is still using manuscript for actual copy work and dictation while learning cursive and all the joins he is happier writing. Having done some reading I am looking into finding him a wobble board and adjustable standing desk as he constantly needs to be on the move and this seems to be a way to allow for the wriggles to be handled while still helping him learn to focus in one place for longer than a couple of minutes. It will also help with his posture which I have noticed is getting tied in knots with his attempts to keep his body still while concentrating. I have found one company who make great look standing table for adults and office use so have contacted them to find out about similar ones for children.
That moment of re-reading The Well Trained Mind two weeks ago with the reminder that manipulatives are still so important for maths learning at this age has been a real light bulb moment. Maths for all of us has become fun again and while the others are not doing maths as such with us they are around Bob and I and it could get tense. With manipulatives every one wants to join in so I always need to make sure Kanga has her own set otherwise I cannot be sure Bob is working with the right number so answers can very easily go askew.
It has also been a week to work on friendship dynamics and have conversations about feelings of exclusion and how to include others. How to include friends from differnet contexts in the same game when visits overlap. These are all great lessons to be learning now but that does not mean they are easy times for young boys either. Bob is blessed with great friendships and yet he is still too young to really apprecaite that. He has alot to learn about how to navigate through choices and different expectations and inclusion and yet not being responsible for everyones reactions. Along with helping him navigate that is helping him to not be everyone’s best buddy simply because he lets them all do what they want in the belief that means that they will have had a great time. To help him stand up for himself at times and be confident of his own thoughts and boundaries. To help him make friends feel included while not being the doormat to all their activites and speaking up for his ideas as well and so in doing helping his friends learn, that they all learn to respesct one another and each others ideas. Teaching maths is definitely easier, and any reader of these reflections will know I often question my ability to teach maths.
He has also been working on what to do when plans fall through at the final moment and how to adapt and deal with disappointment and work out an alternative way of spending time. Again hard in the moment but so important to learn how to deal with those events in a safe place.
Kanga continues to entertain and keep us all on our toes and is in the midst of a developmental growth spurt and we are all looking forward to when she comes out of it and frustration levels settle down again for a while.
We are reading at lunch time Little Women and at bedtime the boys are continuing with their reading of Narnia and it is so much fun to see them wake up in the morning and take on the roles of Peter and Edmund with gusto and passion.
And now for some holiday time, time to breath, let all that learning perculate deep within us and to enjoy times with friends and family.