I read an article in Good Housekeeping today entitled 'Welcome to Childtopia'. It made me ponder. It's a couple of pages long but here's a couple of snippets,
'It's an organic, sunlit, child focused world of constant vigilance in which all children are treated as if they were fragile, precious jewels, liable to be despoiled at any moment.... Where is this taking children? Not to a good place. Where you see the results most clearly is in the audition heats for The X Factor. There, children who have been indulged and constantly praised come up against the likes of Simon Cowell, who finally said what their parents never have: A strangled cat sounds better than you.'
Now, this got me thinking about what for me can be one of the most unpleasant parts of home education - being the one to have to tell the children when they are wrong. There are times when there can only be one right answer ( 2 + 2 = 4) and then obviously when it's wrong, it's wrong. I hate to witness the disappointment and frustration when I break their bubble in that way. On the other hand though I'm glad it is me who does it - were it left to someone else how could I know that they would do it in a sensitive way?
But what of those times when there isn't a right or wrong answer? What about when we are looking at something which is subjective, like singing? Is it right to always praise your child blindly to the hilt? Personally I don't think so. Surely to go about trying to build confidence with no regard for realism can only end in disappointment.
Thinking perhaps I would like to dig some Alfie Kohn and similar stuff out of the boxes which a year on are still waiting to be unpacked and revisit them.
We had a wonderful day yesterday. On the morning Hermione picked flowers and we made an ice flower bowl. I recall making one of these with my mum as a child and the memory has never faded. I thought it was so beautiful and magical. We placed a small bowl inside of a large bowl and filled the gap between with water. We used sellotape to secure the small bowl and stop it from just bobbing up to the top. We then wedged flowers down the sides and placed it in the freezer for a few hours. We took it out on the evening and had a beautiful bowl to fill with ice cream, fruit and chocolate.
We went out for lunch and it was quite a relaxed and leisurely affair. Miles is becoming much more patient and much happier to try new foods and people watch. I no longer feel that I have to shovel food as fast as I can with one hand whilst waving a toy, holding his cup or doing half hearted song actions with the other. Still a long way to go before we will be venturing out for three courses at crisp white table linen restaurants, but we are certainly making progress on the enjoyment stakes.
After lunch we headed off to Whitworth Country Park. When we got there we found there was a Red Cross event on. It was a pleasant surprise the only problem being that the deer which are usually there had been moved. Miles loves the deer so Craig and Miles set off to look for them while Hermione and myself browsed through the stalls. Here they are, father and son in the wild
They found the deer eventually.
After that we listened to the brass band and had a quick chat with the firemen who were there. Craig, Miles and Hermione all got into the engine. I wasn't invited. Probably because I looked incapable of climbing in myself and much too heavy to be lifted in without them getting some of their special equipment out.
Following this we went into the walled garden which is full of fruit trees. The Red Cross were asking for £1 per bucket which you could then take and fill with as much fruit as you wanted. Sadly everything apart from the apples had gone but we had great fun filling our bucket all the same. Took Craig a while to get into the spirit of it but after witnessing a couple of blokes older than his father actually in the trees it wasn't long till he was up there too.
We topped the day off with a lovely log fire. It's the first fire we have had since the start of the year. There's something so special about warming your toes at a real fire.
Today it was all hands to the deck as we washed, peeled, chopped and stewed. The freezer is now full of spiced apple for pies and crumbles over the winter.
The weather really is changing now. I doubt there will be any flashbacks to summer now. I guess that's it for this year. Hermione thinks we are in for a summery winter since we have had a wintery summer - kind of makes sense but I doubt it will happen. I'm feeling very introspective right now and I'm sure that is connected to the changing seasons. I'm feeling quite creative too, just figuring out what direction that might take.