Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Blog the Day - The Home Education Way

I don't do this very often, but triggered by the blog the day in history, here is the story of what we got up to yesterday - (I found it an interesting exercise, if only because it demonstrated to me how much we get up to, even on a quiet day.)

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Today, thankfully, we have no formal commitments. Am relieved as we haven't had a proper day of rest for at least a week and we'd rather be around anyway since W is staying, which is always a great pleasure, not least because he has the endearing habit of asking penetrating questions at mealtimes - within earshot of the kids, and an even more endearing habit of appearing to listen intently to the answers. In fact, I am quite sure he does indeed listen because he then appears to take any ideas that come his way for a quick test run in a slightly less endearing, indeed rather more unnerving fashion.

Anyhow, last night, Dh and I felt on firm ground, since W asked about the history of ideas in Western art, and in collusion we managed to produce a brief summary of Gombrich's Story of Art. This morning at brunch, W asked about how to distinguish a scientific idea, something which should come easily to me after all that Popper and Kuhn. Of course I gave him the good Popperian answer about falsification. All the while I could see Ds (9) out of the corner of my eye, sitting at the head of the table, looking for all the world like Dr Seuss's rendition of the worm in "The Big Brag"...eyes sort of popping out of the top of his head. I couldn't work out whether he could understand what was being said and will have to try to check later. It made me realise that for all the theories about truth-seeking, (about the value of doing it, about the growth of knowledge through conjecture and refutation, about holding one's theories tentatively, about subjecting them to criticism, about acting on one's best available theories until a new and better one comes along), I hadn't actually talked to him about the distinguishing quality of scientific thought. This is a new idea for him.

Meanwhile Dd (4) is growing up in good critical rationalist tradition. I haven't tried to express anything other than the basics to her so far, but so much is implied in the way that one deals with life, that she comes out with CR theories through implicit acquisition of those ideas.

Anyhow back to basics: Dd and Ds spent some time making necklaces with the Hobbycraft beads. Ds then went back to his Lego Starwars city and filmed a further episode of the drama and then went on ebay searching for more Lego Starwars deals. Ebay is a great educational tool: Ds is perfectly happy to perform the necessary multiplications, additions and subtractions, (comparing ebay versus shop prices, for example), which he would simply refuse to do were it in a maths workbook. Dd made a birthday card for a friend, and did a bit of a workbook with logic puzzles. She then drew and wrote for quite a while until a home educated friend of hers popped round and they disappeared upstairs doing goodness knows what. Dd's friend is passionately in love with Ds, a fact that doesn't actually escape him, though you might think it did. All in all this means that Dd's friend is utterly gorgeous to him, and Ds responds politely and gently, which I think is fine, given the circumstances. Ds then wanted to write some captions for a Star Wars story board he'd drawn. I suspect he kept the written narrative to a minimum, however - the handwriting practice must have lasted all of 7 mins max!

Dd's friend departed after tea as we thought we might go kickboxing, but it finally stopped raining, and we chose to stay in the garden instead. The usual games - I had to time them both round a new obstacle course, count chin ups, cartwheels, etc. Dd runs like the wind and I feel Ds could too, but he dips too much as he runs. I am not sure whether he is just loose limbed, or trying to cope with getting taller, but I just long to yell at him to hold his body together a bit more...but what do I know! He now beats me over 100m by a whole second!!!! This is a disastrous development. I couldn't beat my mother until she was in her 50s. Oh well. We then played frisbee until Dd collapsed T shirt up, tummy down, on a previously undetectable nettle in the grass. It was tiny, but stung her all over her belly. Ds ran about making her a poultice of dock leaf, ice and washing up liquid, (a treatment he and friends had apparently arrived at on one of the camping hols over the summer.) Ds was so kind and Dd so grateful - they were both so gorgeous to each other and I am grateful for doing this exercise, as it makes me realise that they are often like this but that I tend not to notice it!

We then had to get in the bath immediately as all of us were covered in mud. It was one of those moments when you are glad that LA officials have clocked off for the day, since had they turned up, amongst other things, they would have found Dd naked, with the remains of a dock leaf poultice plastered all over her belly, and mud squished all over her face. As it was, a family...mum and 2 sons turned up while we in the bath...but they are perfectly used to our unconventional timing. Friend talked about the horses - she wants them to stay with us ad infinitum, which is great, though it turns out that one of them has a suspected sarcoid...Bother. Children played a chase game and PS2.

Dh and W then went off for the evening to the footie. Have missed two invites this evening, (one to the football, the other to the philosophy group), but in what will almost certainly be seen as being overprotective by some, I have responded to Dd's request not to go out tonight. I am not quite sure why she suddenly needs me more, having not done so for some time, but I am sure that trying to force her not to feel this way will not help and am perfectly happy to stay home, not least because it may be good that I miss the philosophy group this time round, since bf and I are so relentlessly Popperian that the rest of the group are probably getting irritated with us by now!

The children danced and ragged until about 22.00 hours when Dd collapsed suddenly, and Ds settled down to watch...guess what...Star Wars. (Thank goodness Dh is also an aficionado, since to me it makes absolutely no sense at all.) Dh and W reappeared at about midnight. All is well.


Anonymous said...

What logic puzzles workbook is that you mentioned?

Carlotta said...

I can't trace it now, but it was one of those that look as if they come from WHSmith, A4, which contained a load of puzzles that required child to work out what came next in a pattern.

It is quite likely that it was one that I optimistically bought for DS some years back but which is only now being Dd!