New knowledge and Missed Events.

We’ve enjoyed a few more days in lately. Some of them admittedly have been down to my disorganisation! I’m usually a pretty organised person when it comes to getting to events but in the past week we’ve managed to miss our film festival showing and a planned day out to the Manchester Science Festival. I feel a bit annoyed with myself as they were both important events in our Home Ed calendar. Despite booking the film a month or so ago and having it written on the calendar I only remembered we should have been there several hours after it finished! So we didn’t get to enjoy the ‘Earth’ documentary on the cinema screen. 😦 Today I’d planned for us to go to a ‘Planetary Odyssey’ which is part of the Manchester Science Festival. The excuse for this one is possibly even worse – there was too much house work to do. 😦 We’re going on holiday in a few days and I just can’t bear coming home to enormous mountains of laundry and beds that really need changing. The washing up pile had become so huge that we actually couldn’t eat lunch until I cleared it! So although it’s a bit of a rubbish theme for a Home Ed blog I think the theme of the week has to be disorganisation!! I hope I’m not alone and can find some solidarity with other Home Ed parents out there!

So what did we manage to do? I did remember to take them to Wood School. A is still really happy about being able to go on Thursdays now. This weekend I did an introductory course in NVC (Non Violent Communication). The teachers at Wood School use this form of communication, so the parents with children who attend were invited first to the course. I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time. The kids went to stay with my very good friend who has looked after Jessy on and off since he was about 4. They had a Halloween show and fireworks display to look forward to. I really enjoyed the two day course. It was taught by Penny Vine. (http://www.pennyvine.com/index.htm) She was wonderfully down to Earth and has a whole hoard of children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren so her experience is vast. I was pleasantly surprised that NVC seems to be a bit more flexible than I’d imagined and really can be used in any situation. Some of it was revisiting old ideas I have learned from parenting books over the years. I’ve felt the need to abandon a lot of my old ideas since realising that Jessy often needs a different approach that is more clear and structured with less complicated language. The course gave me hope that I can mix some of my old ideas with an approach that suits Jessy which felt so relieving and reassuring. I’ve already felt calmer and more thoughtful, although I’m under no illusions that it will turn me into a sudden saint!!

My friend picked me up with the kids and after making a quick stir fry at home we headed to our local park which had a fair and fireworks display. We’ve been lucky as it’s usually on in the first week on November when we’ll be away, but it’s early this year. The kids enjoyed some rides and I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t hear a single complaint about the fact the rides cost double this time but I gave them the same amount of money so they only got half the rides. A has been afraid of fireworks ever since she can remember but we were pleased to discover that this year she didn’t feel frightened anymore and she happily watched the display.

On the ghost train

On the ghost train

VIP ride!

VIP ride!

This week is half term so there was no Wood School yesterday. The kids were very interested in the cards I brought back from the NVC course. They show feelings and needs, with the idea being that our feelings are linked to a need or needs that are being met or unmet. So for example if you are enjoying time with friends you could find the feeling card for ‘Happy’ and the need card for ‘companionship’. The children’s pack is illustrated and uses simpler words. The teacher suggested that Jessy might find them useful. He struggles a lot to articulate his feelings verbally and even when he does I think it is often inaccurate. Children who find this hard, often find a visual aid useful. He did use the cards to tell me how he was feeling and which need he felt was being met. A was fascinated by them and we worked with them for about an hour. Here are some examples using the cards:

NVC children's cards

NVC children’s cards

A has also continued with her hamster projects. She’s very excited about her plans to build her own cage. We’ve had a few tricky moments with her struggling with the concept of needing to modify designs to suit your own purposes as she became very determined to copy the plan she’d seen to the letter. I think she is beginning to understand that we need to make a few changes (such as adding a lid because we have two cats and we don’t want the hamster to get eaten!) and gradually relaxing into the idea that a project often involves changes along the way. We visited the local pet shop to stock up on supplies and have a little look at the animals. The lady who runs the pet shop gave A some spare bars from bird cages to use in her projects. I’m wondering what she’ll create with them!

Today Jessy helped me to change all the bed covers. Usually I have a very sore back after doing the three beds and my back has got worse recently with being pregnant. He was a really big help which meant I wasn’t in nearly so much pain afterwards. We looked up ‘Barbados’ on the map and A proved she has more geographical knowledge than I do as I didn’t have a clue where to look but she found it using what she already knew.

When I realised we weren’t going to make it out to the Science Festival we decided to carve pumpkins instead. We had a hilarious journey home from the shop yesterday. I told the kids they could choose any pumpkin as long as they could carry it home themselves. A picked a huge one! Jessy picked one a little smaller, but proportional to his size, his was possibly even larger! Luckily they both found it very funny as they struggled and found places to stop and rest and tried not to drop them. They both got the giggles which made it even harder to hold on to them and by the time we got home we were all laughing!

Pumpkin hilarity!

Pumpkin hilarity!

This was the first year when both the kids designed and carved the pumpkins completely themselves. Jessy needed a little help scooping out all the pips and strings. He had great fun trying though and a good sense of humour about how little he managed to get out despite trying hard! A threw herself into the messy business and despite much face pulling seemed to enjoy it!

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I gave a few suggestions on how to create an outline but other than that the designs and carving were done with no help at all. A carved Jiji the cat from Kiki’s Delivery Service and Jessy carved a skull. We were all very pleased and impressed by the results:

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We’ve put them out on our porch. We’re going away for a week the day after Halloween so I’m terribly sorry but there will be no blog next week as I will be sunning my self on a Barbados beach! Woo hoo!!