Monthly Archives: January 2014

Week 3


So this week has been a good week.  Ot and iig have been determined to get their independent work completed early in the day and have worked well on Whizz maths, reading eggs press, the timetables and spelling apps and have enjoyed topic work this week.  B has worked in spurts, doing some maths seeds and reading eggs when he fancies and working on sight vocal and number bonds along with some phonics refreshing and extending.

Ot has worked hard on his handwriting when we do our folder work (this is aimed at writing, grammar, punctuation etc) and is trying hard with re-calling the dictated sentences as well as learning the poems.  He finds the re-call most challenging-he often substitutes a phrase that has near enough the same meaning but isn’t the exact phrase.  It’s a bit like he sees the big picture of the sentence, understands  the meaning but doesn’t remember the details.  Interestingly if we hadn’t started to use these particular things I would not have noticed this because he has a great memory for things he has watched and listened to but I’ve realised that much of what he has good re-call of is story based or spoken in the style of a story.   I also can really see the value of dictaton for him as it enable him to build up his ability to remember and write but takes off the pressure of having to think of your own sentence, remember and write which is something that in the past it is clear is too much for him-I think in the past when we have re-called the sentence for hi we may have been hindering rather than helping as this means that he ‘needs’ someone else to remember so he can write so independence is not achieved or he is in the frustrating situation of remembering and writing a few words and then having to think and recreate a sentence again and again.

Tig has been working on handwriting and taking time and care-this is made easier because there is less writing than previously and again he has to re-call and write not create, re-call and write.  Tig’s auditory memory is pretty good and he generally can remember a 2-3 sentence chunk word for word and put in the correct punctuation.  

Both Tig and Ot have grasped the concepts of adverbs well, including adverbs that tell when and where and are able to ID verb, subject, adjective and adverb in a sentence.  I like the thorough but very simply chunked approach to the grammar and it reminds me that quantity is not everything!

B has made a connection between + and – facts that with some reinforcement will enable him to develop a much quicker re-call.  If you know 3+4=7 he has realised you also know 4+3=7; 7-4=3 and 7-3=4.  He  can work out 1 more and 1 less and is beginning to spot that in subtraction sums when the numbers are number that would be next door when counting the answer is 1 e.g. 5-4=1; if you were counting back you’d go 5,4.  We’ve dragged the number friends out this week to have a look at these ideas which has been good fun.  He has a very small number of the first 100 words left that he don’t know straight away (there are some that he can sound out) and has been reading sentences that we’ve made up and messages etc.  Whilst I don’t feel like he can read I think it’s more that he is not reading yet….most of the skills and knowledge is there it’s just waiting for him to really want to or need to read larger chunks of text.

Topic this week has been the reproductive system.  TIg and Ot have enjoyed the different videos and brain pop quizzes as well as discussios about when they were born, when I was pregnant, if we’d have any more babies and more.  Ot asked if having babies was very painful because he thought it must be so I endeavoured to explain that whilst yes it was painful, it was for me a different kind of pain, with a pattern and flow that I knew I’d get a baby at the end and I trusted my body to know what to do -IO also pointed out that I had 3 children so it wasn’t so painful I din;t ever want to do it again.  

Everyone enjoyed art this week-me included.  We looked at the women from Brassepuey (sp?)  which is the oldest know carving representation of a human face, read a little about her and stone age art then had a go at carving faces in soap.  The physical sensation was great and  lots of time was spent using different tools to scratch, break of large chunks, scoop and gouge holes etc.  In the process various shapes were made and Tig saw an elephant in his piece so worked on bringing out the features he could see.  Ot created a bear and B did a face and a ladybird.

The boys all cooked a batch of muffins, Ot’s were berry surprise (cherries, blueberries, raspberries and which chic chips with either lemon curd or cherry jam in the middle); TIgs were chic chip and Bens were double chic chip- 4 had raisins in too..


Week 2


So I didn’t blog last week-maybe it was lack of sleep!  I’ve discovered I need a good 8-10 hours to function and not be uber grumpy!  Last week went well, we had lots of calm, B is struggling a little with unsupervised time and is being’annoying’ in an attempt to engage his brothers so they will play….we need to resolve this!!!  We had a Friday Feast of sticky ribs, BBQdrumsticks, corn bread, home made tortilla crisps, coleslaw and salad-yummy!

The boys were learning about the endocrine system in topic and enjoyed finding out about the adrenals.   We are being hermits a bit and we need to work on getting out for some fresh air over the next few weeks.  I also found some of the cutest welsh collies and border collies …..



Our first week of 2014 back ‘at work’.  Literally for TB (The Boss), who is back at work after a lovely Christmas-another week and he’d really have properly relaxed; and also for the boys in so much as we move back towards some more structured, formal learning.  I am taking an unpaid leave of absence from work for the Spring term, for various reasons  and it has been a bit of an eye opener….We knew that the boys would probably, over time, find it easier as there would be a regular routine to each day and that there would be less pressure to fit in the bits of formal learning which we do.  We thought that this would take weeks, maybe even longer so it was very surprising to see this week just how calm and settled everyone was.  

It has made a huge difference.We’ve covered all of the key bits of formal learning before lunch every day, had free time after lunch and pottered around playing, sitting and chatting and all doing our own thing with various amounts of interaction.  I’ve exercised for at least 30 minutes every morning; we’ve had a settled story at bedtime (which had slipped away in the last few months), the house is clean and tidy (well as much as it ever will be), animals are cleaned out and fed, and everything feels so much less pressured and more relaxed.

Perhaps the biggest difference is the absence of pressure I feel to squash the formal learning we need to do into my days with the guys, that I’m able to fulfil this in a relaxed way and still have fun and not feel that I’m not getting the essentials done.  For us a mix of structured and autonomous works-we are fairly structured in the mornings covering maths, grammar, punctuation and reading skills as well as topic (currently science based) some coding, scratch, art and blogging.  B does more little chunks of phonics, sight vocab and number facts with me and does some independent work using reading eggs and math seeds (both of which he really loves).  So pretty much the 3 R’s and a topic we work on together.  We also listen to a composer for a few weeks and look at an artist (although this week we’ve not done too much with them.)  We are using Friday as a review day where we review what we’ve learned, I help with any tricky bits, we catch up and everyone Blogs about their week.

B and I have just watched some dines and are now watching the BBC program about polar bears and we’re popping out this afternoon to pick up E’s new glasses.

It’s like we can breathe, that there is time, no rush, still purposeful but there’s room to breathe and enjoy.  It is wonderful and surprising and if we’d known we’d have been here sooner!  TB and I were talking and we both agreed it was a dramatic change in the boys and the whole feel of the household…smiles all round!