Monday, November 23, 2009

Natural Learning ... our day so far

Lots of accidental, incidental learning is taking place here today.  Here's a summary of our day with some of the hidden learning interpreted, but mostly just jotted down on the run!

At breakfast, the kids talked a lot about Peter Pan and Tinkerbell, making up stories as usual.  Miss 4 told us a big secret ... under our house is only dirt!  Shock horror!  Not secret passages leading to Neverland, as Mr 5 likes to tell us.

We watched Bindi the Jungle Girl on ABC 1.  It was an episode about whales.  Sparked lots of discussion (kids have something to say about everything!)  Sesame Street is back, and the kids said they don't like it but watched anyway while I had a shower.  Mr 5 went around talking about "the triangle of destiny" and the ____ (everything) of destiny.  Dah da dahhhh (insert dramatic music)!  He declared today triangle day, which had obvious implications for the toasted sandwiches we had later : >

Miss 4 got dressed (a big production of choosing) while Mr 5 played with cars.  Mr 5 is still not dressed, but today it doesn't matter.  I reminded him to brush his teeth (the rest of us just do it, because it feels better).

I set up a colourful title page in a Word document, then typed like MAD while Mr 5 told me stories about Neverland.  I learned that a mere mum has NO chance of keeping up with an exuberant child, but I tried and did't kis sto mudh (didn't miss too much).  The bonus was when I showed Mr 5 the mishmash of shorthand I'd produced, I got to tell him about editing and fixing spelling mistakes.  He was highly entertained by the abbreviations and nonsense words I had to translate back into his real words.  We ended up with 4 pages after 15 minutes!  We'll probably end up with a novel ... this came about because I decided that, after a year of telling me about his night time adventures (he apparently flies to Neverland when we're all asleep, and each day tells us about his adventures with Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, the Lost Boys etc.), it'd be fun to record some of his tales as a keepsake of his childhood imagination.

Miss 4 was trying to inject her side of the story, but I asked her to wait for her turn.  I couldn't transcribe a dialogue!  We switched on the TV again for Behind the News (tick human society, world issues, environment etc.) then I let Mr 5  watch Peter Pan (did you guess it's his favourite movie?)  Usually they wait until mid afternoon, but it's a rainy day and I wanted time to answer emails.  After a while Miss 4 was bored with the movie, so she and I did some finger painting, rubbing wet fingers on dry paint disks rather than setting up the messy stuff.  It was still plenty of fun despite the easier clean up!

I wrote an essay in response to a friend's question about chores (I like writing, and as I'm currently not working on books, emails and blogging are a good outlet for all those words ... poor, patient friends!)  Then I spent a bit of time thinking ... why am I not writing books?  

I used to write a lot (I have between 20 and 50 unfinished stories) but stalled a couple of years ago when I wondered "What's the point?  There are already so many."  I couldn't waste my time without knowing WHY (despite the fact I waste time reading, doing number and word puzzles ... in which case just relaxing and exercising my brain are good enough reasons.  Dodgy logic?)  Then I thought, what's the point of blogging?   Self expression, encouragement, inspiring, informing ...?  These are also good reasons to write books (I write picture books and children's novels).  There's the minor factor (ha ha) that I'm with little kids for most of my waking hours, so it's hard to get a run on anything.  But maybe I'll give it another go.

While I made lunch Mr 5 looked at a book about racing cars and led a detailed discussion about their relative sizes (tick the box next to 'measurement' vocabulary).  Then the kids moved on to playing shops (handbags for sale today, tick 'money').  Next time I looked they were playing vets or doctors.  An invisible character, Invisible King, and his servants (Miss 4 and Mr 5) played in the lounge room.  The servants had to rescue slaves from the cruel king, who made them work all day with no food or drink (no psychological interpretations please, my kids are well fed and respected citizens).   The kids wrestled, played hide and seek and smelled the rain.  How do they cram so much fun into one day???

P. called to say he may have to work back tonight.  This means I won't have the car to get Miss 4 to ballet this afternoon.  She asked me not to call a taxi, as she's SOOO tired.  The truth is she loves dancing at home but finds her ballet class boring, and won't be going back next year.  At this stage she'll be 'sadly unable to make it today' (see her grin?)

Now it's 2:30pm, the kids are packing up the handbag shop while I scramble to finish this enough to publish ( I declared it a race, them tidying versus me typing) ... I wonder what we'll do next?   Miss 4 wants to do Reading Eggs on the computer, and Mr 5 wants to do boxing.  I hope he'll settle for cricket instead! 

P.S. I've won the race.  I wanted the kids to win, as the clean room was the prize I really desired.  But the kids have gone crazy and plastic coins are all over the sunroom.  Wish I had some chocolate to award myself as a consolation prize!


  1. lol - I hope you found some chocolate as your prize.

    Kids left to their own imaginations really are just amazing, aren't they?

    So what did you do next?

  2. No chocolate was found, just an Anzac biscuit I made yesterday. If I was desperate I would eat a teaspoon of dry milo powder!

    Next ... it's a blur now. Kids ran riot for a while longer, then I enforced/ encouraged the cleanup of coins (by making it a competition to collect the highest $total. They watched play school and cartoons, then played with Polly Pocket dolls and cars in a fold out book dollhouse.

    P. came home while dinner was cooking, and after dinner I took the kids for a walk in the misty rain. They're in the bath now. Then we'll read a chapter or two of the Flat Stanley trilogy, and hopefully everyone will drift peacefully off to sleep ... ha ha!


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