Barney went back to school on Friday, and George and Freddy followed on Monday. George was in fine form when called for breakfast, very much looking forward to getting back to school, but the others were a bit more grumpy about having to get up early again. They all came home in good moods though – and with George saying to me, “Please don’t kill me”, because he was carrying his PE bag, which had been handed to him during music. That would be the PE bag he lost way back in March. Before the Great Lost Property Clearout that the school did in June. Only George could lose a bag so effectively that nobody even saw it for six months. He has no idea where it was found. I suppose it means we’ll have a few spare PE bits, but it would have been nice not to have to replace them in the first place!
While they were gone, I did a bit of sorting through ideas and paperwork, in preparation for getting back to some skoolwork for the younger three.
On Tuesday we were all a bit better adjusted to getting up early again, although Barney still had to be called three times – he’d been out at Air Cadets on Monday night so was in bed later than the others. The younger ones were up and eating before the big kids went out to school though, and Louie got back to his shoving-them-out-the-door duties. They’re very tolerant of this, and line up at the door in a row, then Louie pushes whoever is at the back and they go through the door train-style. After closing the door behind them, he told me, “They should all stay together, and then nobody will get lost.” Wise words
Once breakfast was cleared up, I got the little ones (not so little really these days – Jack is 10, after all!) settled down to do a bit of work. Jack used mind-maps to design the scariest monster he could imagine, then drew it. Toby did some reading with me – he’s still reading slowly, but he’s working out most words for himself and using various techniques to do it – and then some maths: presented with a page of “fill in the missing numbers”, his response was a gleeful “Yay! There’s loads of them!” When I was a witness in Family Court a few weeks ago, the anti-home-ed side’s solicitor asked me in a voice that suggested home-education couldn’t possibly work, “But how do you make them learn?!?” I wish she’d been there to see how unnecessary this “making them learn” business actually is…
Louie was determined to do some skool too, so he went and got Superphonics (although he still calls it “Supersonics”). He knows quite a lot of the letters already, but it’s difficult to assess exactly where he is, as he thinks it’s a huge joke to deliberately get them wrong. On Thursday, working through some of the letters with him, he had a brilliant idea when it came to one where he needed an extra clue: “Show me the mouth-move but don’t say the tune.”
Otherwise this week has been mostly mundane stuff: waiting for the mechanic to arrive (he didn’t), catching up on tons of laundry, etc. The big three arrived home from school on Tuesday and got stuck into homeworks, but by dinnertime George was in mini-meltdown mode – he wasn’t going to Sea Cadets, he had way too much homework and he was never going to finish his French. I figured out right away what was going on: 1. he was tired, 2. he was hungry, 3. every teacher he’d had all day had been telling the class how hard they were going to have to work this year and how horrible it would be and how important it was for their futures. I know they’re trying to scare the pupils into studying hard, but I wish they’d think a bit more about the effects of the stress they’re putting on them I convinced George to down a couple of sausages and go to Junior Band, because I knew he’d feel better after an hour or so of playing his cornet. And indeed, by the time he returned, he had cheered up, and he settled down to do his French homework, and finished it in about 30 minutes. Freddy, meanwhile, went to Sea Cadets. They both made it on Thursday evening though, and Jack went to Juniors on Wednesday evening too.
Louie has been playing out the front with his brothers – this is fairly new, as up until now he’s only been allowed out with me or one of the bigger kids looking after him. But Jack is good with him, and Toby takes the responsibility very seriously too. On Tuesday evening Toby brought Louie home crying with cuts on his knees. He was just about able to draw breath long enough to wail, “I need a band-aid!” over and over between cries. I cleaned up his knees and put a band-aid on his left knee, but his right one was just slightly grazed, so it didn’t get one, despite his protests. I cuddled him and he fell asleep soon after. He didn’t forget the insult I’d added to his injury though. As soon as he woke on Wednesday morning, his first words were, “My left knee is better.” “Oh good,” I said, thinking he actually meant the right (less injured) knee, “What about the right one?” “It is not better,” he said emphatically, “because it didn’t have a band-aid.” Ah. Of course.