Saturday, 17 January 2015

January : a start

The schools went back nearly 2 weeks ago following their Christmas holidays.  So too did we...sort of...

Kiddo has been asked regularly about going to school (being tall, people think he's older). We went shoe shopping (kids feet grow at some rate!) and the girl serving us was great with him, asking about school/nursery and he told her he "didn't go, because I would have to go for the whole week, and well, that's no fun!"
School has been on his mind, especially when all he hears when we are out is "oh, he'll be going to the school this year" or "is he excited/ready for the school?" (never asked directly to Kiddo, always to me, about him) or on the odd occasion when asked his age, is usually followed by "oh, you'll be at the school this year".  With this being the sole conversation surrounding him when we are out (apart from the woman in the light shop who warned him (when he didn't want to talk to her) that Santa's Elves were still watching out for all the boys and girls who weren't behaving after Christmas(!!) who was met simultaneously with an "Excuse me?!" from me and a withering stare from Kiddo.

Anyways, back to the topic of school : Kiddo decided that he wanted to play at schools. I was to be the teacher, and he, with his Lego mini-figures were the pupils. Great! I used to love playing schools and the best bit was always being the teacher.  Unfortunately, Kiddo did not enjoy my class.  He did not think it was fair that I asked him to wait until the bell had rung before leaving to go and play, or when I asked him to stop talking to Batman whilst we were reading, or that I split him and The Riddler up for making too much noise when we were meant to be learning about the Gruffalo, or indeed the fact we were learning about The Gruffalo and not dinosaurs as per his preference.....after 5 mins, I rang the bell signalling 'Play time'. It was at this point, the rebellion was formed... they hatched a plan...but it's ok - Kiddo informed his mother of the plan before it went ahead, so as not to get into too much trouble (well I do keep telling him that it is better to be truthful than lie or be sneeky - if you are bold enough to try something that might get you into trouble, be bold enough to be honest about it).  So, back to school and the bell rang.  Back to class, next lesson was to be writing - the letter G (for Gruffalo).  As soon as lessons began, so too did the revolt.  "We are learning about dino's not The Gruffalo", "We're not listening" "We are going out to play". "School is rubbish we are going home". So endeth this lesson and the playing of schools.

Since then (actually from later that very same day and for the following 5 days in a row) we have been studying geography.  It was lead by Kiddo, I followed behind him (still got my 'teacher' groove on by using his chalk board to write up our findings. I just cant help myself...)
Kiddo has an enormous world map on his bedroom wall (got it when he started remembering where Dino fossils were being discovered and he loved knowing where USA or Mongolia were on the map, which moved to "Auntie N lives in New Zealand, Auntie E lives in Sweden and we live here!"), he also has another map which we sent away for after collecting 10 barcodes from the wrappers of Bear fruit yo-yo's. It came with 80 stickers of flags from around the world - the packets of yo-yo's has cards in them, each card a different country and he's been collecting them.

The game started with Kiddo picking a country on the Bear map, matching it to the collector card, deciding which of the 7 continents it was part of and then finding out from the big map, the country's capital city and currency.

We discussed what animals lived there, what the weather was like and what sort of food people ate.  Some of the info he knew, some was found from using the big map or the atlas and some of it was guess work based on where the country was, ie Spain was warm so there must be lions.  Did it matter that he was wrong? Nope, I could see how he thought that lions could live in Spain.  Will he remember all the info we gathered? Maybe some, def not all . Did he have fun? 5 days of this, each time a different country, and lasting upwards of half an hour each time, suggests that he did.  What did he actually learn? Apart from what we were actually studying : country, continent, capital, currency, weather animals and food, that not all info is right infront of you and you have to go looking for it, there is more than one way to source what you are looking for. Plus it is improving his reading.  He enjoys identifying the flags of different countries, and made some flags of his own, both in paper with crayons and in Lego too.
We bought the new magazine that has come out - the 3D Globe one - part one came with part of the globe, a statue of the Eiffel Tower and info about the planet and France. He loved it so we have subscribed for the future issues. Which incidently arrived today after first publishing this post!

January so far has been a contrast to the buzz and biz of December, in that it has been really quite chilled, relaxed and we have just gone at whichever pace has suited at the time.  Its been a time for going slow and enjoying the peace.  Lego has featured heavily in the first weeks of 2015, days have been spent doing little other than making and playing with it.  Connect 4 has not left the table in over a week, having become the game we play over breakfast and supper.  Books have been read, by all 3 of us. I have finally switched off the telly (apart from one episode of Celebrity Big Brother - purely for that epsisode, and wished I hadn't, and then again for Question Time, again I wished I hadn't).  It has been lovely to take our time to refresh and relax.
My current pile

Hubby and I got some time to ourselves with a treat date day/night through to Edinburgh (Kiddo stayed at my mum's).  Our favourite city and go-to place when we get a chance to get some some couple time. Lunch, dinner, drinks and browsing in book shops, breakfast, coffee and cakes, train, chatting, laughing.  Bliss.
Post-breakfast coffee and cake in here for a change to the Elephant House. Lovely as it was, will be resuming custom at the Elephant House next time.  The EH holds a special place in my heart - Hubby and I drank coffee and ate chocolate cake here on our first date

The snow adds to the feeling of peacefulness, the winds however.... We haven't really had very much in the way of snow (thanks Grangemouth for the thermal fug that hangs over the district melting any snow before it falls), much to mine and Kiddo's disappointment. He is desperate for proper snow to build a snow man and have a snowball fight.  The winter I was pregnant we had real proper deep snow, same the following year (when Kiddo was not even a year old), but now I have an almost 5year old desperately wishing for "a real wintertime".
Yesterday Kiddo and I ventured out into the bright January sunshine and blue sky (and freezing temperature, but in my new sleeping bag, aka puffa coat got in the sales, I was super cozy) down to the empty park, save for a couple of dog walkers. From the park something caught my eye - we took a wander and ever so quietly, watched 4 deer grazing on the grass. I took my gloves off only long enough to take a rubbish photo. Then from nowhere a blizzard was hitting us sideways.  Kiddo was in the middle of a "real wintertime" snow storm. He really ought to be more specific with his wishes! We trudged back to the car walking sideways like crabs, where upon arrival, the snow stopped, the wind died and there was a blue sky once again!!!  Never mind, back home we had hot choc and mallows.

We have met up with some of our friends, whom we have not seen since before Christmas for some playing and blethering, who too have been enjoying their start to 2015.  Looking forward into the rest of the month, we are starting a new forest school for 6 weeks, which has us super excited, and are going along to a new home-ed group that one of our friends has started in Fife, where the topic of the session is pirates.

Living and learning more simply in 2015 is so far, serving us well.