Friday, February 10, 2006

The Best Laid Plans

So much for the schedule :)

Well, it lasted three days, and I'm glad we tried it. Might try it again next week too. I feel much more confident about HE when I know what we're doing.

Yesterday my plans went out of the window as I had to go to the doctor's and have my ears syringed...lovely. Mind you, I'm still half deaf in one ear, and they assure me it's not wax...which is rather worrying. Hazel's going to ear-candle me next week which really helped last time I had this problem, so fingers crossed. Jon and Emily went off to tai chi and had a ball, again. Keep finding Emily at odd moments doing the movements or sat quietly with a ball of energy in her hands!

Then the rest of the day somewhat went to pot as I had to go back out again to pick up Grandad's medications and to get cat litter. All of which is far more of a performance than you might imagine, so it was time to abandon any pretence of education, take Emily with me, and head for some retail therapy, this time at the art section of a nearby garden centre. On Monday they came back from the art course with a list of colour paints they needed, specific pencils, canvases etc etc etc. We found out the hard way several weeks ago that the cute little 12ml tubes of paint you get in the sets don't even last one person one painting, let alone last three people a ten week course. Biiiiiiggg bottles required. Umm. It's not a cheap hobby, this one! Mind you, my Mum's helping out with buying stuff too, and they came back yesterday with a lovely table top easel for Emily to use in the classes. They'd already bought her a full sized easel for Christmas, but it's too big to take to the course, so now she's the proud owner of a natty little one as well.

The artist leading the course was talking to Jon at the end of the last lesson, and said some really interesting things about Emily. Apparently, he reckons she has a very unusual amount of talent for her age, and says it will be very interesting to see how she develops over the weeks. Perhaps he was just being nice, but he didn't have to be that nice, lol, so I'd rather like to think he means it :)

Anyway. So, apart from the English and maths Emily worked at while I was out at the doctor's, yesterday was pretty much an education-free zone. Made up for a bit this morning, though, with Design & Technology, which was, after all, in the schedule. We spent hours learning about and experimenting with levers - after playing (sorry, working) with the setup for a while, Emily was able to draw all sorts of useful conclusions about pivot points and how far away the pivot needs to be from the load and the effort in order to make it efficient. We also simulated a wheelbarrow type lever by taking some string up over a higher up rod, turning the downwards pull into an upwards force. Or something. Seemed to make sense at the time, although my mind is a complete no-go area for this type of stuff! Big thanks to my Dad for providing the equipment and the ideas, without which we'd still be very much in the dark, lever-wise ;-)
We also made an archimedes screw and Emily had great fun successfully getting blue water from the "river" to mix with the red water in the "irrigation ditch".

Later on, we made a motorised meccano one too.....or at least attempted to. Worked slightly less well than the hand twirled one, mainly because it was going much too fast and we couldn't get the motor into a lower gear.

Found this very helpfulmechanisms and movements page on the Flying Pig website Hazel showed us ages ago. Explains all about types of movement and how one type can be converted to other types using levers, pivots, cams and the all the rest. In terms even I can understand. Sure to be much referred to as we move on...we're supposed to be looking at compound pulleys next, and it's all a bit beyond me! (How did I completely miss all this stuff at school????)

This afternoon we once again abandoned the schedule. Jon and Emily went out for a really long ramble through the woods and popped into the local library on their way. They came back armed with poetry books and an eight audio cassette version of the first Harry Potter. It had to happen. She's been utterly indifferent to HP so far, on our few albeit half hearted attempts to interest her. Not any more. Emily spent the rest of the afternoon ensconsed in her room drawing whilst listening to the tapes, and she's now watching the film with Jon. I sense a new mania arriving.

I'm really pleased with how this year's HE is panning out. We seem, bit by bit, to be achieving what we set out to achieve. Having definite goals for this first part of the year certainly helped. We wanted to focus a bit on poetry, for example, and that's been a real hit. Emily's spent hours recently reading She's All That as well as various other poem collections, and she's really enjoyed starting to write her own. We're getting quite a bit of technology work done, and art has really taken off. Maths is pretty much up to speed and getting even better. We've been a bit thin on the ground with history (although it was in this week's schedule....) but given how much we focused on that last year, I'm not going to beat myself up about that. There's just so much we want to do, though, and so little time. When Emily was at school it was a punishing routine of get home - destress for half an hour - have tea - do reading book - do homework - go to bed - get up and do it all over again. Now we've got all the time in the world and we still can't fit everything in!


1 comment:

Kris said...

No - do not write shorter blog posts. Honestly, the very idea...!

I like the pivot point experiments, and the archimedes' screw - but then my brain is wired that way. Myf's, however, plainly isn't!

Will have to book in a visit for week after next, before Myf goes back to school. Have to get my socialising in before we're retricted again... :P