Saturday, 6 October 2007

Socialisation, male figures and the dilemma of figuring out our curriculum

Having the neighbours so "close" has good and bad moments. We won't focus on the bad, but rather let's think about the good shall we?

One of the great things about having closer neighbours is the fact that the children have more adults to converse with. Not only that but they are exposed to other children; for example their grand-nieces and nephews this weekend. Plus, just watching the excavations and building work going on as we watch the development of T&A's property. The children grew up with Daddy building so it's nothing too new, but at least it's in our own back yard to watch the development.
I particularly enjoyed when DS1 had some paper, pencil, hard hat, tape measure etc and "drew the plans" for their own "house". Having watched Daddy on numerous occasions working on other people's house or shed plans, it's amazing what important details he has picked up.

DS1 and DD1 really show their care of others and are a privilege to watch with the other kids. They really know how to share and encourage the visitors to play with what they have, never grumbling that "so-and-so won't get off my such-and-sucha".

Today Daddy brought out the go-kart (much to my grumbling because I knew it would wake the baby ... and sure enough, mother is right!) Our children encouraged the others to have a try and one by one the other children had a try and although our children haven't been on their go-kart in months, they were quite happy to let the others play and enjoy watching.

DS2 was thrilled because Daddy took the trainer wheels off his wee bike. As one would expect he had a number of tumbles, but considering he doesn't turn three till the end of November, he's made a brave accomplishment. Over the past week/fortnight, I have noticed an improvement both in his speed and ability on his bike, so I suggested we give him a go without the trainers. (Naturally, mother volunteers father to do this! I just sit back acting as cheerleader and photographer.)

DS2 gets plenty of tool training with Daddy and his Uncle. He's definitely our hands-on, outside boy. DS1 is the academic while DS2 is the tinker-kid. Although this photo doesn't show it ---> DS2 was in there with the tools the bulk of the time. It was only when his Uncle started explaining a few things he lost interest and disappeared from the shot!

Since Daddy ceased self-employment and returned to his trade, we have all grown accustomed to him being home for the weekend. The past fortnight reminded us just how much we value the fact he no longer works for himself ... while his boss has enjoyed a 10 day break in Australia, Daddy has had to do call-outs. Today is the last day he has to be on-call, and I do SOOOO hope he doesn't get any phone calls!!!! Nobody could appreciate more than myself having him home on a weekend, especially as baby no. 5 approaches. It is nice having him available to do some school work on the weekends I have to admit.

Catholic Yahoo Group
Our Catholic group has finally started to generate some conversation which is great. There's been a number of books mentioned in the latest conversation which I now find I'm interested in ... they'll just have to get thrown onto the Wishlist at this stage, but gosh, I'm glad to have the Kiwi groups. It's nice having information and ideas from the (mainly) USA Yahoo groups I'm on, but it's much nicer reading discussions relevant to New Zealand. Considering it was stagnant for a long time and the question was thrown out there to the group whether to continue or not, I'm very pleased it's still going!

Considering we're into the final term for the year, one of my main priorities will have to be drafting the exemption at some stage. In order to start with that we first need to figure out what programs we intend using for certain subjects. Let's see, for History we'll probably continue to use Story of the World, Geography we use everything around us ... maps of the world, maps of Rotorua, daily weather reports, that sort of thing. Reading is anything from the library and whatever tickles my fancy on the internet. Handwriting we haven't followed anything at all, we simply practice writing fullstop. For maths I chose to take the easy way out and basically leave that up to Daddy. That was kinda okay to do it that way, but I am about to commit myself to a math program. Which one, I don't know. I sent away for the Math-U-See DVD from LearnEx and while we had a little break today I had Daddy watch as much of it as possible (ie time and children permitting). Math and I don't get along, so I don't want to purchase something if Daddy thinks it was a waste of money. No matter what group you belong to, everyone has such a varying opinion of any program, so one must always make the best decision possible at the time, knowing in the back of your mind it may or may not work with your child/ren. The scary thing about purchasing any program is the fear you're wasting money! That's where the likes of TradeMe is fantastic.

I think the kids are fortunate to know about this method of trade. I've spoken about bartering before, but TradeMe really is the ticket to comprehending transactions. For homeschooling items, Harvest is just as efficient.

Over the past fortnight I've managed to sell a few things, enough to catch up on my visa anyway. So if I play my cards right, I should be able to gather up enough to purchase a program or two (fingers crossed).

Today's been a beautiful day and it's now 5.30pm. We've been lucky enough that Daddy didn't get called out to any jobs so it's been a wonderful, family day.

To finish my post off, I'm really glad the momentum has returned for homeschooling. I just hope I manage to keep it going to the end of term and finally feel like I'm achieving something instead of feeling around in the dark which is how the year has been for me.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano
Maree

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