A walk to the stables

A walk to the stables
Tamerin at the horses: we walked there on Thursday and talked rugby nearly all the way!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Climbing on the rocks

Yesterday afternoon Amy did not have friends so I wanted us to go for a walk again. She said she would rather play ball! I was rather baffled because neither of us is good with a ball. We played "rugby" i.e. we had to pass the ball backwards and in running. After passing you had to run forwards so that you could pass the ball backwards again. It meant more running than Amy has done the whole year.

We saw a balloon in the air and it seemed to be tied to the fence of an empty space next door. I was intrigued and wanted to see what was next to the fence. (On Google earth it looked like a reservoir) There's a heap of rocks in the back of the yard and I climbed on it to see better. Amy also climbed on it, but had to do so on all fours in the beginning. She really struggled to keep her balance and nearly fell. (I got quite a fright!). She then held my hand and I taught her how to walk on the rocks: make sure one foot is very secure before you move your other foot. She improved much and I think rock climbing will soon become part of our weekly routine.

I can get so caught up in "academics" that I forget the basics of learning and concentration i.e. balance, co-ordination and body imate still apply.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Finished skirt and Father's Day.

Amy has finished her skirt. Despite all our measuring and lengthening of the original pattern, the skirt would have been too short with a conventional hem, so I just let her sew in the hem with the machine. Folding over a cm, stitching it and then folding again and to pin and stitch it again, was difficult enough. Here and there she had to unpick to sew closer to the edge, but she is actually capable to sew very close to the folded edge! She seemed very proud when she put on the skirt, but on Monday it still lay on the school table. She never showed it to her Mom. ?? I wonder why. She still has to hand sew on tapes for a hanger, but at the moment we have a more pressing concern: the Father's Day Card!!
For Mother's Day she copied (by hand) verses out of Proverbs 31. For her Dad, she copied 1 Cor 13:7. At the end of the verse she wrote: Thank you for loving me like that! Her Dad is crazy about her and by employing me to home school her, it is obvious that he has hope for her, so I think the verses are appropriate. She practices to read the verses out loud to him. (Her reading lesson for the day)
She is now busy to type a letter to put in the card. Here are her reasons for loving him:
I love you because you always shower and smell so nice. You look so cool in your jeans and T-shirt. You brush my hair. You talk to me about shops and Wimpy. You call me when it is weather forecast. I am so proud of you because you work so hard and you pay for everything we need.
She did not come up with this all by herself, but through me guiding her thoughts with leading questions e.g. What makes your Daddy so special? What does he do? What does he do with you? Would you like it if he did not work and sat at home to watch T.V. all day?

After typing all this, of course she has to read it too!

We have focussed a little on how to draw - she is past the stage of spontaneous drawing (I always believe one should not teach little ones to draw, but just guide them through discussions and experiences). However, Amy's drawings are not going to improve of own accord. She is a sensitive child and drawing and painting can be outlets for self-expression. There are wonderful short videos on the internet giving guide lines on how to draw a face, a body etc. She has drawn some faces facing sideways and this is quite new for her. Today she is going to draw her Dad - not her usual pictures, but a special new one, using guidelines.

We also plan for her to do photography as another expression outlet. The plan is to insert a photo of herself in the Father's Day card as well.

So although Father's Day is still four school days away, we have had to get cracking already. This means other school work is standing still for a while, but we will catch up.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Success with sewing!

Amy is busy making her skirt and so far she is doing fine! She threads the machine with a little help and she can thread a needle: both the sewing machine needle and an ordinary needle. I am pleasantly surprised. At the beginning of the year, she could barely hold a pin or a needle and now she can thread it and baste with it! She can stitch fairly straight with the machine, but I have to stand close by and watch, otherwise her mind wanders and she does not always look what she is doing, so we have had a session with the "Quick unpick" as well. She has had to measure the width of the casing and fold it over herself. She needed a little help here, but I think she has the basic idea. At the moment she is busy threading the elastic through the top of her skirt and the great moment of fitting it on is nearly on us! However, then she still has to put in the hem!!

Learning to stitch a seam and to put in a hem are some of the life skills I planned to teach her. Our homeschooling aim is to teach her the basic life skills she will need to live on her own one day. Mending or altering clothes seemed more important to me than being able to embroider or knit - skills that are often taught to special needs children but for what? Embroidery is often expensive and if not well done, no one wants it. However, I admit that such activities could be relaxing and we will hopefully get to them, once Amy can really sew. I am convinced she will be able to sew clothes on her own one day and not only be able to put in a hem or sew on a button!

I am so proud on what she has achieved so far.... will blog about the finished skirt.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Fractions and dress patterns

Going to the shops, reading prices and counting money have been regular school activities. Amy knows that there are 100c in R1, that 1/2 Rand is R0.50, a 1/4 Rand is R0.25 etc. She also knows that if you have to divide 7 in half the answer is 7 1/2 or 7.5.

Part of her life skill plan is to learn to sew with a sewing machine. She has sewn a little: she practiced stitching without thread on lines on paper. She has also made a couple of bags - usually to put in Mother's Day cards etc. She is not fond of sewing because she dislikes the noise of the machine, but once we get started she actually enjoys it.

Amy and I went to the shop recently to search for a simple skirt pattern that she could make herself. She was not very enthusiastic, but agreed to a long A-line skirt with an elasticized waist. Her mother had long before bought material for a skirt, but they never got round to making it. I planned to let Amy use that material for making her skirt.

Today I let her read the back of the pattern to determine how much material was needed for the long skirt. (First I had to explain the difference between inches and cm and yards and meters and why we had to read the French side of the pattern. Fortunately my measuring tape has inches and centimeters) Anyway she could read that she needed 2 m for the long skirt. We then measured the piece of the material: 130 cm. It was not difficult for her to "translate" 130 cm into 1.3 m, since she is used to converting cents to Rands. She then had to see how much extra material she would need to make the long skirt: a subtraction sum and a visual measuring of 70 cm on the measuring tape. Once she realized that the material was not enough for the long skirt, she seemed quite happy to make the short one, and even showed her brother which pattern on the packet she was going to make.

Then we measured the width of the folded material: 72 cm. As the material was folded she had to add 72 + 72 to get the total width. The material is not the required the 150 cm, but what the heck, we cut out the paper pattern and tomorrow we'll lay it out on the material to see whether
the short skirt pattern will fit.

Once again I was amazed to see how much math's and reading go into a life skill like sewing a skirt. She had to measure and read the tape, she had to understand fractions, she had to subtract, she had to measure again, she had to add (double) and then she had to cut! There are so many opportunities to apply class room math's to every day life and each time it is fun. I can see how Amy blossoms each time when she succeeds with a new life skill!

I pray that the skirt will be a success and that she will be motivated to keep on sewing!