It's been a while . . . So much is going on here that it's hard to find a quiet moment to marshal my thoughts, and I'm exhausted, which makes it even more likely that I'll end up writing nonsense ;)
A week or so ago we had to fill in the paperwork for L's exam entry. Somehow that made us realise how little time he has left to get his head around the syllabus, even though we all knew the dates and he's doing fine. That has mean that he and I are spending more and more time ploughing through his books - and that really is a time sink! For the most part it's going well, even though it's a long way from the maths I know and understand. As much as anything I am learning with him, and I find that gives L more confidence if he gets stumped. A phrase that keeps cropping up is that "it's not a test", so if he needs to work things through with me it's not a big deal.
For a long time L was a perfectionist. If he did a page of maths and got 19/20 he'd be upset about the one that was wrong. Finally we're overcoming that - because so much of the syllabus is new to us, or takes things we know further, L is at long last accepting that he can do well without a perfect score. That said he's usually hitting well above 90%, so all is good :)
We have begun working through Write from the start - a sort of hand-writing program. All four children are doing it, mostly happily. The exercises are designed to improve hand eye co-ordination, pen control, to work with the proprioceptive system, to develop visual discrimination and generally to come at things from a neuro-developmental slant rather than just a repetitive one. All four children had difficulties with the first exercise - though different difficulties (as ever!)
The task was to put a single dot inside a small circle. The aim was to improve precision, develop and awareness of how hard to press the pen(cil) down, to work on hand movements and pen-grip. The circles were in columns, and got progressively closer together. L was fine to begin with, when there was a lot of space around the circles, but as they got closer together he found it increasingly hard to see clearly what he was doing. I'm guessing this is a dyslexia thing, and hoping that by working on it we can help other reading issues. M found it hard to get the dots to be dots rather than lines. He struggled from the start, but improved as the exercise went on. J was very disorganised in his filling things in - he found it hard to start at the top left and "read" across, and kept missing our circles. A found her hand got sore half way through, but otherwise was fine.
I'm hoping that since each of them had quite specific issues, working through the program will help them improve - if they'd all whizzed through it without a pause it might feel like a waste of time / money. And since the issues were so clear, it should be easy to keep track of how things are going. We're on the eighth exercise now, all of them are still fairly happy to keep going - I think it helps that the sheets only take about 5-10 mins to complete, and aren't particularly hard. So far we've had an improvement in the tasks themselves, but not in their writing. I'm hopeful though :)
I like the program, it seems very gentle in its increasing difficulty and short tasks are easier to fit in. I hope that it will work - I've read lots of positive things about it - I'll let you all know how things go :)
In other news . . . the weather! Wow! It's been so lovely here we've been out enjoying it :) We went to a local rec' and L flew his quadcopter - he's actually really good - the rest of us just hit each other with foam weapons. Then L joined in the melee. We have a large number of weapons - all of them are designed to look like fantasy weapons, for use as costume in Live Action Role Play (LARP), and they are all safe for LARP fighting. Made from foam, with a solid core, then coated in either rubber or latex they do sting, but rarely hurt (every now and then a freak shot catches someone badly, but really that's unavoidable in this sort of playing)
We all really enjoy this sort of "fighting" :) It's a great way to burn off energy, and it is a big adrenalin rush. The kids enjoy ganging up on my husband and I, and it is just a very "us" thing to do. There are probably all sorts of "soft" skills being learnt too though - hand eye co-ordination, consideration for others, not to charge from too far away or you'll be exhausted by the time you get there . . .
So, here are a few pics . . .
A didn't get hurt BTW, J is very good at not *actually* making contact :)
Someone's gonna catch her biggest brother . . . .
Just to prove M was there too :)