Monday, September 25, 2006

Three quality hours with three quality kids.

I went out of my way, yesterday, to give Steve a relaxing day. He slept all morning after the exhaustion of the fair, and then I ran him a big bubble bath, and tried to make the room as calming as possible, with incense, candles and music. Then I bundled the kids into the kitchen and tried to keep them quiet, so Steve could unwind. Our bathroom is downstairs and Luke was very interested in the music and smells coming from the bathroom. Steve was so relaxed at the end of the day that he decided to cook a curry. He kindly cooked enough for two nights so that I didn't have to prepare dinner tonight. (Monday nights are always hectic as Jude has to be at brownies by 6.30, and I'm always trying to squeeze dinner into that half an hour slot when Steve gets home at 6).

In the evening (Sunday) we all watched half of a DVD about Esther, from the Bible. We will watch the other half next weekend. It was some fun trying to explain to the kids exactly what a harem is, and why the king was 'interviewing' prospective wives, but they seemed to enjoy it. It was nice just to sit with them and watch something like that. We have a few of the DVD's from that series, (Samson, Jesus, Paul, Moses, Abraham etc). Sam and Jude watched the Jesus film a few months back.

Today was a pretty good day. Nothing amazing happened, but we have all been happy. I spent an hour doing some maths with Jude. I can give her more help with maths this year, since Sam has gone back to school. He had the bulk usage of the mathematical side of my brain last year (it's not a very big section of my brain and is quite spongy). I found out that she had been working out answers to division by drawing lots of lines, eg 25 divided by 5 would be IIIII, IIIII, IIIII, IIIII, IIIII, answer 5. Could I explain to her how to work it out any other way? She started to get upset, as she tends to do if she doesn't understand something. As usual, I told her not to get upset. I explained that it doesn't matter if she doesn't know how to do it, as she hasn't learnt it yet. I said that I wouldn't be cross, even if she got it wrong every time. I told her that I'm bad at maths so I understand how confusing it can be. She was welling up, as usual. But this time she managed to keep it in, and actually enjoyed learning with me. I tried to explain that she could work out division if she knew her times tables. It was hard going, but eventually the penny dropped. She was answering those questions that everyone hates. The first one was along the lines of "there are 30 chairs in 6 rows, how many chairs are in each row?" (of course it wasn't written simply like that, it was written as a riddle!) I managed to show her that the question was 30 divided by 6 equals what? But she couldn't divide in her head. So I asked her if she knew how to do 6 X ? = 30. She knew the answer to that was 5. But I couldn't get her to see that it had anything to do with the original division question. We got there in the end but sometimes I wonder if I'm making the learning process harder because I don't really know what I'm talking about. I will need to spend a lot of time with her this week to make sure she really understands the concept.

After all that maths I spent another hour playing with Luke. I got down onto his bedroom floor and played cars with him. I find it fascinating to watch him play. You can see so much of his little personality by watching him in his little fantasy world. I picked a car, and he picked a car, and our cars went to the cinema together. Then we picked another car each, and these cars went to the beach, where they encountered a crocodile that tried to attack them. Then Luke got all the cars out of his car box and we lined them up in neat equal lines, which he loves to do. I tried to take a photo but couldn't find the camera. He put certain cars together, buses went next to each other, tractors went in front of one another, then he arranged all the red cars together and got all excited about the colour red, showing me all the things in his room which were red. There is nothing he loves more than to share his special things with someone else, whether it's his favourite toy, place or movie, he loves to share it and share that specialness with someone else. I quite enjoyed myself!

This evening I spent another hour with Sam. He was all excited about his English homework and asked for my help. He had to research a flower and write notes about it. At school they will write a report about the flower. He told his entire class that his mum is a professional gardener! "Well, you are practically, aren't you Mum?" He chose the nasturtium for his study and we learnt all sorts of interesting facts about the plant. Then he spent 20 minutes telling me all about 'Troy". (Not the DVD!) In stageschool they are studying the Greek story of Troy for a play which they will be putting on at the end of term. The whole story obviously really sparked his imagination. I felt sad that he was no longer home educated, as we could have done a big study on Troy while he has the interest, to run along side his drama.

I went out into the garden with him to look at the nasturtiums, and realised that the garden requires some attention. Some of the sunflowers were blown down in the gales. The play house was blown on top of my parsnips which have been crushed, the peas have gone mouldy and died and need removing before they infect the red cabbages, which are now HUGE and ready to harvest, I think. I was delighted to see a huge marrow, lots of courgettes, and some tiny weeny (plum sized) baby butternut squash pumpkins. How exciting. The winter vegetables are now starting to thrive as the summer ones die off.

This afternoon I also watched the first in the new Jane Eyre drama series, which was on last night. I recorded it for Jude as she showed a real interest in the adverts for it. So we watched it together and she really liked it. I never did read Jane Eyre, but if I find it in my book shelf I might try to read it before watching the rest of it. Otherwise I'll never read it.

Well, I'm off now to relax a bit for the evening. Just going to tuck the kids in and then chill. Plus I plan on looking up a few bean and lentil recipes.


Anonymous said...

I think Jayne eyres one of the best books i've ever read. I was so upset when it ended.

Anonymous said...

I read Jane Eyre too but it's a woosy book for blokes to read so I'm staying anonymous.

Jules said...

Sounds like a lovely fruitful day :-)

Hazel said...

Wow Davy, I'm really impressed that you read Jane Eyre, that you can read at all, for a bloke. Oh, sorry, you wanted to remain anonymous didn't you? Whoops.
he he

Lin said...

Just wanted to say hi and that you are quite right with the maths stuff.
Division and multiplication are opposites of each other and multiplication is a great way to work out division. That sounds a bit mad so hoping ypou understand what I'm on about, lol!