Sunday, May 28, 2006

I found out today the name of Tabi and Matt's new babies. The bigger baby is called Madison Olivia (7lb8) and Meadow Violet (4lb15). Madison is very alert and looks around a lot, while Meadow is more like a premature baby. She is very sleepy and doesn't feed well, so she is feeding formula from a cup at the moment. I can't wait to see them. I just want to fly over right now! I will leave it a while though, until she gets on her feet and all the visitors have died down. Then I can have them all to myself.

Yesterday I was so sick with the cold. I was miserable. It started on Saturday evening and then yesterday I was streaming. I spent the whole day in my pajamas with a handful of tissues. I drunk half a pint of wheatgrass and spirulina, in an attempt to boost my immune system! Today I am feeling fine, with hardly any sign that I had a cold at all. But poor Sam has it now.

So yesterday was the day all the P7 kids found out which Secondary School they will be going to. Sam has been accepted into the integrated College, which he is so pleased about - and so am I. The other high school seemed like a terrible place to send a child. So we applied for the integrated college, but we had a 50/50 chance of getting into it. I wasn't sure if we would be accepted when the school phoned to ask me to clarify why we fit into the category of 'other religion' instead of Catholic or Protestant. They really wanted to box me neatly into one of the other categories and I refused. That made me wonder if we wouldn't get a place, because we were too much hassle. Anyway, he got a place and I'm much happier about him going there in September than the High School. I'd still much rather he stayed at home, but I feel we need to give him to opportunity to try secondary school out, otherwise he will always resent us for taking that chance away from him. We have agreed with Sam to do a one month trial at the school, and if he is unhappy we will continue to home school him. I really hope that he enjoys it there, and learns as well. It seems like a nice place, with only 20 children per class instead of 30. They have a great drama department which suits Sam perfectly. My concern for sending Sam to school is that he will daydream the next 5 years away, as he is prone to doing, and may come away with nothing.

On Friday I took the kids swimming with Heather and her daughter. I spent most of the time in the baby pool with Luke, freezing to death. Heather and the kids played in the bigger pool. I think the children all enjoyed themselves. I did manage to get Luke into the bigger pool for 10 minutes but he clung on to me for dear life the whole time. We got out much earlier than the others and watched them from the balcony. That evening we had a barbecue in the garden with Heather & Davy, although the weather wasn't as good as Thursday and we all had to wear coats. But it was good fun anyway. Steve and Heather did all the cooking and I sat there lazily watching. I did help tidy up afterwards though! In our house I seem to do all the cooking and cleaning, until we have visitors when Steve takes over. Therefore all our visitors think that Steve does everything!

I've decided that I will change Sam's school work schedule between now and the end of term. I am going to do away with a lot of the reading that he has and get him to concentrate on maths, spelling and grammar. I want him to be up to scratch in September. I believe that if children read a lot of good literature then the spelling and grammar will all come naturally without sitting endless mind-numbingly boring spelling tests. Sam and Jude are both reading way above the level that they were expected to in school. I am sure Sam's P6 teacher would be shocked at the progress he has made in reading. When it comes to writing we have concentrated more on developing imagination and style, rather than correcting spellings. But over the next few weeks I will concentrate more on Sam's spelling. I know he can spell as well as anyone else, but often he is so caught up in the imagination and drama of his writing that he forgets that spelling even matters. I would worry that he goes to high school and the teachers will presume he is not achieving because he spells badly. Teachers are not known for noticing talent in a child, but for noticing correct answers and correct grammar. Who needs an imagination, or flair, or talent??? As long as they can answer the right questions in the right way.

This is a photo Steve took of the kids in Belfast yesterday. Because I was ill Steve had to take Sam to stage school. They went to the market first, and then Daddy, Jude and Luke went to the cinema whilst Sam was at drama.


Maddi said...

That's such a cute picture of the kids. They all look happy.

If good writing meant you had to be able to spell and punctuate then there would be no need for editors!!

But I guess it does have to be important when you get older and have to work a boring job for a living!!

I think you do learn grammar and spelling from reading too though.

Davy said...

First of all Id like to point out that Steve's camera isn't very good and I've actually got a lot more hair than these photos suggest.
I'm also glad you cleared up the myth that Steve does all the cooking in your house. Despite this we really enjoyed the BBQ, particularly the spicy shoeleather!!