Monday, February 06, 2006

Results Of An Organisation Frenzy

See, this is why I was bemoaning my lack of organisation the other day. I did finally get organised late Sunday night, and my, what a difference it makes. We've had a hugely successful day and since I've sorted out exactly what work we're doing for the rest of the week, it might even continue...fingers crossed.

I'm now the proud owner of a little planner which lists exactly what we're going to cover for each "subject" each week, and on what day. Well, OK, so it only has this week in it, but it's a start. I can't promise it'll last, or even that we'll want it to last beyond a week or two, but it sure makes me feel better.

This morning we finally got round to using Emily's sewing machine - only five weeks after she received it for her birthday, so that's not bad going for us (we still have unopened items in the cupboards from Christmas 2004 and her sixth birthday...)

She loves it, and I must say she's taken to it like the proverbial duck to water. We spent some time practising without thread first, "sewing" lines on paper and going round corners and in circles. Then Emily learnt how to wind the bobbin, load the bobbin and thread the machine properly and.....drumroll.... it was on to proper sewing on fabric. She was thrilled to discover that the machine does lots of fancy stitches - it's a proper adult machine, as all the toy ones seemed extraordinarily flimsy when we looked at them - so she spent a while doing zig-zagging, smocking stich and so on. She sewed a little felt pocket, and stitched some hearts onto backing felt. Got the hang of reverse stitching to finish off, and of pulling the thread through to the underside to finish off that way too. All in all, it was a huge success.

We've got some nice purple fabric that she wants to make a skirt with, and Emily also has plans to do a huge Spring themed wallhanging with machine appliqued flowers, butterflies etc. Hmmm. Watch this space.

Next up on the "timetable" (!!) was maths and with efficiency that is sooo unlike me, I'd already gathered the materials we needed, so we spent a happy half hour working on mental maths strategies using near doubles like 83+80 and the like.

After lunch we worked on English for a while. I loved the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks as a child, and I thought it would be fun to introduce Emily to that genre. I also loved the Choose Your Own Adventure ones, which were for younger children, but I'm struggling to get hold of those at the moment. Anyway, we talked about the concept and I showed Emily some of the books we do have, and she was very taken with it. Thought it would be a good idea to start with a story/plot flowchart exercise, so we spent a while drawing up a flow chart for the Beauty and the Beast fairytale to show how it could have been turned into a choose your own adventure type tale. Emily then had a first go at plotting something of her own with a flow chart. Eventually, she's going to write it up on numbered cards, and then (even more eventually) she can put it up either as simple webpages or in a powerpoint presentation type software thingamijig.

Then it was time for some IT. We worked through the first few pages of a KS2 IT workbook and didn't think much of it, so we abandoned that for some practical work - Emily spent the rest of the afternoon using Microsoft Publisher to design some advertising bookmarks for us to send out with our orders. She produced a lovely design with a graphic, word art headline, border and bullet points (text was mine but the design is all hers); I was really impressed, and it's certainly a good enough design to use.

A quick tea, and then it was out with Jon to the first lesson in the art course. They came back two hours later worn out but with more beautiful acrylic on canvas works, this time a snow scene showing the path to Scotter church. The artist leading the course had said it was a really hard one to start with, and I can see why, with so few colours used, but they both did exceptionally well. Will take photo of Emily's later. Would take a picture of Jon's too, which I love, but my extraordinarily perfectionist hubby hates it (sigh) and it's already been rescued from the bin once. To anyone who knows him well, that probably comes as no surprise. I have refrained from hitting him. For the moment. There are only seven people on the course (with Emily, Jon and my Mum being three of them!) so it's pretty personalised tuition!

Yesterday Emily spent the morning with Nana painting the fairy cottages we made at the clay class a couple of weeks ago. In the afternoon she braved the Nancy Drew Curse of Blackmoor Manor game which I have to say is 500% more complicated and harder than I thought it would be. It does say for age 10+ but I've got so used to ignoring age guidelines that I didn't think it would be a problem. It's reallllly hard for her, but to her credit she's sticking at it and not giving in! Yesterday afternoon Emily also helped Gramps to make a frame for her Sandy Sea acrylics painting - here she is with the finished, framed article just before it was hung at the bottom of our stairs in what is now dubbed the Art Gallery and awaits future developments with interest...

Tomorrow we're doing some art and geography in the morning, then in the afternoon we're doing gymnastics/yoga, maths and English. So it says in my planner - now, don't mock :-))

In other news, today is our 9th wedding anniversary; Emily had created lots of lovely cards for us which was the perfect way to start the day. Mind you, we had planned a nice takeaway meal this evening....only to discover the takeaway is actually shut on Mondays. Grrrrmph. Still. My beloved of 9 years is a master chef, especially at short notice, so I shall await my anniversary dinner with delight :-))

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