Wednesday, 31 December 2008

I wish I could fly!

Rushing to my daughter as she wailed with distress today, I wondered what could be wrong. 'What's the matter?' I asked, worried.
'Why can't I fly, Mummy?' she asked, quite seriously. 'I've tried and tried. I've flapped and tried a parachute but I still can't fly!'
I felt awful as I had to explain to her that people can't fly without hang-gliders, planes, hot-air balloons etc.. It reminded me how small she still is really, even though at 5, almost 6 she sometimes seems so grown-up!

Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Solstice Crafts & Poetry

We've been doing lots of Solstice art, craft and poetry in between being ill. Here are some of our efforts:

My son decided he was going to illustrate a poem from abook this festival but my daughter has written her own poem as usual:

The Tree Is Pretty

Christmas lights in my room,
To shine out in the gloom.

Baubles sparkle, baubles shine,
I put my lights in a line.

The tinsel sparkles on the tree,
Lots of presents for me to see,
I am so happy.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Pondering attachment

Having just read Hold On To Your Kids: Why Parents Need To Matter More Than Peers by Gordon Neufeld & Gabor Mate I have been pondering on attachment. I've always been a fan of John Bowlby's ground-breaking theories, but even though I was aware that attachment theories are currently out of fashion I hadn't really quite realised how much this view of childhood and family has been left out of most modern childcare books. Even those in the 'attachment parenting' genre rarely seem to actually mention the importance of attachments and the problems lack of attachment or insecure attachment can cause.
The book was truly radical in its recommendations and very thought-provoking in its conclusions of how many of children's current problems and society's ills can be laid at the door of inappropriate attachments while children are growing up. I can't even attempt to summarise the scope of the arguments and evidence presented, but would urge any parents out there to read it. But beware, it's one of those books that makes you reflect on your own childhood and see areas where you (or your parents!!) went wrong and the consequences of that. There were a few tears for me as I read this book, as suddenly some teenage experiences made sense for the first time.
So, my pondering on the importance of attachment continues and I feel I have had a fundamental shift in my parenting perspective which is having practical consequences for my actions as a mother, and also maybe as a friend.
Coming soon - pictures of our Yule crafts!

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Another book

What with the nasy weather, and the children taking ages to get to sleep, I've been doing lots of reading recently, and here's another review.
How Children Learn At Home by Alan Thomas & Harriet Pattison was a fascinating read - academic yet accessible and rather inspirational and quite a relief for those of us using mainly informal learning with our children. I was particularly interested in their comment that the way informal learning was acquired in all its chaotic, leaps forward, regressions and general piecemeal nature was highly similar to the way learning is acquired at the cutting edge of scientific research, the methods of writing novels, composing music and various other highly creative and high level projects. Maybe my children will be geniuses yet!
The way the book is split into different subject areas - reading, writing and maths in particular makes it easy to find the area you are most interested in and the quotes and example from families are illuminating and fascinating in themselves.
All in all a great read, especially if you're home educating using informal learning methods, or if you want to know how these ways of learning may fit in with school.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Book review

I've just finished reading Crap At The Environment by Mark Watson and enjoyed it. Though I don't really class myself as 'crap at the environment' as Mark Watson classed himself and have always been interested in green issues and done my best to stay informed and active about it, I do really see his point that so many people are put off even trying because they don't know where to start. To address this problem, he started a small movement called Crap At The Environment or CATE to welcome other people who felt they wanted to or ought to make more effort with green issues but didn't want to go the whole hog, or were embarrassed to join in with groups that already knew more. And he surprised himself in the process - the more he learned and the more effort he put in, the more green he found himself being, to the point where he suddenly realised he'd become the very people he'd ridiculed for being 'green extremists' just a year before. His struggle with complex issues and his pragmatic and realistic approach make his book very readable (as well as the fact he's a very funny comedian) . And whatever shade of green you think you are, it's always good to re-visit the reasons these issues are important and to remind yourself of the basics. Well worth buying for any hesitant would-be greenies this Christmas!