Before breakfast this morning, my youngest son was preparing a letter to send to his best friend. He had drawn a new character and was wanting to add some writing to his picture. He is reluctant to write and was asking me to write it for him according to his dictation. "Why don't you have a go?" I suggested, "I'm sure your friend would rather receive a letter written by you than by me." So he began writing, asking how to spell the words. We talked about spacing between words, capital letters and full stops to break up sentences.
One of the things I notice about my sons' learning is that it doesn't progress steadily, according to any logical programme, but will suddenly move forward leaps and bounds in a particular area, then plateau for a while. This year, my six-year-old's drawing has been developing dramatically, and today we saw the resultant development in his writing skills. As his fine motor skills have improved through his drawing, the easier writing becomes. Although he is still not keen on reading for himself, he is building an understanding of the way in which words, sounds and spelling hang together. For example, he has a good understanding of 'magic e' and the way this changes the sound of a word, as evidenced in the words 'like' and 'name' here in today's writing:
Most of this was completed before breakfast, but he came back to finish it late this afternoon, and was able to write the second section on the left independently simply replacing the word, 'good' with the word, 'bad'. I see his progressing skills in deciphering words and in writing here. Such progress always surprises me when it comes. Later in the day, he wrote the address on the envelope, too, found a stamp, went out front and put it in the postbox.
My eldest son had his first GCSE Maths paper this morning, and my second son was also in school, so after they had departed, the two younger boys and I got ready to go out to our Thursday morning co-operative learning group. Usually we are 12 children and 6 adults, but we only had half our usual numbers today, for one reason or another, and we had agreed to meet at a local National Trust property for a walk and a hot chocolate. 6 children aged 5-12 and 3 Mums, we explored the grounds and saw a brood of goslings and a large brood of ducklings, which was lovely. The children climbed trees and ran and chatted. We have enjoyed getting to know each other this academic year, and have seen the children begin to input and share ideas. As a group, we are looking at the way ideas spark and develop between autonomous learners in a small community. It is an interesting journey.
We had a break in the café for hot chocolate and refreshment and then walked down to the natural play area where the children played together and we had some discussion about plans for our group over the coming weeks. My 12 year old enjoyed chatting to the other Mums about the World Wars following on from his discussions with his Grandpa yesterday. One of the other Mums was once a history teacher and is very interested in all things historical. Her family have recently been to visit Northern Europe and toured the battlefields of World War One in this centenary year, so this has sparked some interest amongst our group which we may find developing further. One of the lovely things about our group is being able to chat, spend time with and get to know children other than our own.
It was late for lunch by the time the boys and I drove home, listening in the car to an audio book, "The Wind in the Willows". Over lunch, we finished our latest readaloud, "Anne of Green Gables" over lunch, and then littlest son and I looked at his latest Eco Kids magazine. We read about the critically endangered irrawaddy dolphins, and the lost cities hidden in the forests of Cambodia, located using LiDAR (Light Detection and Radar) Technology. My 12 year old finished watching the new Netflix "Anne With an E" series based on Anne of Green Gables, which he has been enjoying.
The older boys and my husband came home. My eldest seemed to have got on alright in his Maths paper, and tomorrow will be his last day of school. He has managed to get through his school career attending just 10 terms in this country in total. Tomorrow they will have a leavers' assembly for Year 11, but he isn't really bothered by any of the leaving hysteria because he hasn't been in school all the long years the other students have. My second son has his second GCSE English Literature paper tomorrow, so is doing some revision for that this evening.
Other than that, the boys are out in the garden playing together and with friends, riding and fixing their bikes (older two) and playing tennis and football (younger two).
Another lovely summer evening .....
Now we are curled up watching 'Ratatouille' after a comment over dinner reminded our youngest son of Remy the Rat Chef! Our second son talks like a chef ... He is a real foodie.