Monthly Archives: July 2015

Feeling Appreciative!


Last week, chatting about the ups and downs of Home Educating, two lovely friends made the (not uncommon) comments of  “I don’t know how you do it”  and “I couldn’t do it”.  They read my blog (thank you!) and were incredibly positive about all the fun we have and the learning we do.  Of course I only write about the good bits.  I did admit that there are ‘wobble’ days.  Days where I don’t feel like we are achieving very much at all and activities that really aren’t very interesting to write about, like the spelling practice, or times tables.  Consequently my friends felt I should be writing another, alternative blog, the ‘bad bits’, just for them!

I’m not intending to do that as I’m not sure it would make for very interesting reading, but I will admit to having days where we clash: The recent heat made us both tired and irritable.  Fortunately that has passed, as has my worry that spending all day everyday together was the cause of every bad mood we had in the house!  There seemed to be a lot of mornings where he just looked plain fed up, and we couldn’t pin point the cause.

In an effort to turn things around and put some more positivity back into our days we have started filling ‘abundance cups’.   I first heard about abundance mentality at a conference I attended recently, hosted by an inspirational lady; Rebecca Robertson.  Rebecca talked about the scarcity mentality that many people have and how she now focuses on all the positives in her life, putting them into a cup, with a view to tipping it out to remind herself of these (she explained it a lot better than that, but you get the idea).

Three cups and several strips of paper later and we now have our little family set of abundance cups.  Every morning the boys and I think of something we are grateful for, something that we appreciate and pop it into our cup.  In a month or so we will empty them.  What a wonderful, visual way to remind ourselves of all that we have.  The idea is not to focus purely on the material things, but to appreciate all that surrounds us.

Our first entries were telling – C has written love and food, whilst L has drawn trains and planes.  He emphasised that these are toy ones.  He’s not feeling appreciative of transportation around the world!  It really is a positive way to start each day, forcing us to reflect and be a little mindful for just a few minutes each day.  I recommend it.  It’s a great mindset to be in.  Already it is influencing how we are spending our time.  I felt we needed to reconnect a little, and so some thinking about friendship and recognising our need to cool off, literally, have shaped the last week for us.

puppet show of Charlotte's Web
puppet show of Charlotte’s Web

DSC_0198Having now finished Charlotte’s Web, we have also taken some time to think about friendship and what it means.  Charlotte and Wilbur are very different, and yet become firm friends.  C has had a long think about what friendship means to him.  We have looked at friendship poems and and written a little card to a friend with a personalised poem, valuing him as a good friend.  Writing in this way focuses on the creative process, rather than just describing how something is.  We have explored how poems are fully enjoyed when read aloud and that you don’t always fully understand the meaning but can still enjoy the reading. This has led me to finally getting around to trying out a poetry lesson I saw on my Twitter fee:   Y2 at my old school had taken a Pie Corbet theme – if words cost 10p , and you have £1 what will you choose?

This activity is a powerful way to get children to think selectively about word choices.  We followed the lesson just as the year 2 class did.  Looking closely at ‘The Eagle‘ , unpicking it’s meaning, we looked at personification and listed lots of examples.  Then, using the imagery from the Enchanted forest last week, he began writing a poem about the Serpent’s lair, using as much personification as possible.

To cool down on a very hot afternoon  we also took a trip to the beach this week, and used this visit to further cement the ideas of personification with a short and sweet poem about the sea.  I love that both the boys appreciate the beauty of nature (or maybe they just humour me!) and the sky was pretty spectacular on our drive home.  So much so that we stopped several times along the coast to look at the cloud patterns and colourful sky.  It was C who thought it would be good to paint it.

Paint supplies are getting low, and so instead we re-created these scenes with oil pastels.  Not quite finished and he’s now working on a lovely reflection / sunset but it’s all about the process.

seaside pastel at 4 1/2 years
seaside pastel at 7 1/2 years

The temporary vegetarian

My boys have become vegetarians.  This is the result of a number of influencing factors:

We are reading Charlotte’s Web and the thought of Wilbur being fattened up for christmas has bothered them.

A very good friend has recently become a vegetarian.  He’s 7 too, and very cool.

We have been involved with Ted Ed; a group where the children researched and presented an idea or topic about which they were passionate.  During this another good friend shared his reasons for being a Vegan. He’s clever.  He’s 7 and knows a lot of stuff.  Stuff worth knowing, which makes him pretty cool too!

It’s hard to know which of these has had the biggest influence, I take guesses but then change my mind.  I’ve explained that I buy organic meat (that I like to think it had a happy life before it arrived to us) but I have respected the choices they have made.

But I’m not writing about them being vegetarian because I think that it is particularly interesting to anyone else:  I wanted to share how this lifestyle choice of a 4 1/2 year old, who also decided he would be a vegetarian, affects his daily decision making and thinking process.

“I keep telling you mummy, I’m a veg-e-tarian now” said with very agitated gesticulating hands (because I keep forgetting).

So, we were at the end of a little shopping trip and queuing by a chiller cabinet full of stodgy pastry snacks. I mentioned that I was a bit peckish and what a shame they were vegetarians as we could have shared a sausage roll.

“Oh but I’m not going to be any more”

I explained that you don’t just chop and change depending on the day.  If you make a choice you need to stick to it.  I couldn’t help but notice the lady in front of us trying not to laugh as she pretended she wasn’t really listening.  Something we’ve all done I’m sure?

He decided he was no longer a vegetarian and wanted to share a sausage roll with me.  Which he did.

One mouthful from the end, he gave it back to me. Too spicy.

“You can have it back now mummy.  I’m going to go back to being, to being… What was I?  Was I a Vegan?”

“No you were a vegetarian”

“Yes, I’m going back to being a vegetarian now”

My kind of Vegetarian 🙂