Saturday, 10 March 2007

Taking the rough with the smooth

The last couple of days have been far from the glory of mid week. There has certainly been a fair amount of rough with the smooth and I'm feeling worn out and fragile.

The 'rough' has included a car crash in which none of us were hurt but it looks like my car will be written off (it's still in a ditch at the moment awaiting recovery), a £38 fine on children's books at Durham Library and Blackie the guinea pig was found stiff in her hutch this morning. I could go on but I won't.

On the brighter side we completed our study of Ping today. We have only done four days which some may say is 'wrong' considering the programme is called 'Five In a Row' but I just feel that we have really enjoyed it, learned lots but it was starting to loose it's sparkle. I don't want to sicken them so we're quitting while we are ahead. I think it is important to use these curriculum's rather than them using you.

Over the last couple of days we have covered

  • Buoyancy - chatted about the boat boy and carried out a buoyancy experiment looking at how a bottle floated when it was full of water and how it floated when it was full of air.
  • Water safety - went over the 999 drill, talked about lifeguards and flags at the beach. Drew pictures of a rough sea, lifeguard and red flag flying.
  • Pandas - native of China - and also incredibly cute. We watched a really cool video link called Tai Shan's first year (highlights) here
  • Drew pictures of pandas using charcoal - a very messy business.
  • Yangtze alligators - we checked out this site
  • We used green lentils to count out how many various family members Ping has

  • We placed the Ping story disc on China

All in all I am really impressed with how our first book study with FIAR has gone. I never imagined we could have covered so much stuff from one simple book. I think they have enjoyed the four days and learned quite a lot. I would hate to fall into that trap of placing 'tick boxes' at the top of my priorities without having regard as to whether the children had actually learned anything. I don't want to go through the motions of studies just so I can feel I have done something but the children have got nothing out of it. I don't think that has happened here. To the contrary I think they have gained lots. Just voicing my worried and concerns about this sort of approach.

I am not certain what will unfold for next week. I may have a look and choose a short story from FIAR as we are going to have transport issues plus it's Tees Valley Meeting, the first trip to Rainbows and I had hoped to do something on a Red Nose Day theme one day. I sense it may be a week to take things easy.

Off now to try to muster the energy to bake a beetroot and chocolate cake from a new recipe in Country Kitchen Magazine. I really can't be bothered but have promised Hermione....

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