Thursday, July 26, 2007

Reaching a Decision

was hard. Not least cos it goes against the grain somewhat with my philosophies of how children learn and what is the best environment for intrinsic motivation. However what is working great for my older 5 is no longer working great for the youngest two. I have buried my head for long enough I think.

I had a chat with both of them this morning and we reached an agreement. D was very vocal that he wants me to decide what he should learn each day. This translated to him wanting to go back to how it was before. He wants to do things at the table and in the garden ( after a play first:) ) and I think that is cos he likes the 1-1 attention. Also he told me he feels scared when he has to work out what to do himself. ( so E.F was right - thanks E.F for that insight). B wants similar but him calling the shots:) That is fine by me.

I think this is a blip. I don't think they have lost the ability to self direct. I think they need a bit of guidance - maybe for a year or so or until life gets back on an even keel. I have a loose plan in my head but we will see how it goes. I am not doing anything formal at the moment cos it is too stressful here and we have 3 viewings booked this week already. I have this idea to do reading and maths with them and they choose any other projects based on a Waldorf gently does it approach with no major writing or long read alouds, cos they hate that. I intend to do alot of painting, sewing and claywork and see if they take it up too. I think it would help D's pencil control and manual dexterity and he enjoys that sort of thing. B loves sewing cos it is non sticky. Also they love science and I have signed them up for the BA Science Club CREST
programme which they really enjoyed when we did the Young Investigators with them. They are very excited about that and it comes in September. Help! I am rubbish at structure!

Hermione ( not my idea) and Teddy ( I just hope one is a boy and one a girl:) ) survived the night and are now munching on hay and a small amount of greens. They love being cuddled. Piccies tomorrow when they are stable. Chuds is great with them but Harry is a bit peeved so we are keeping them apart. The viewers today are second timers who thought we had gone off the market for good and are very pleased they are getting a second bite. Fingers and eyes crossed, dua's, prayers and good vibes, whatever your particular way is, cos we need an end to the limbo living asap.


  1. Good luck Ruth I will keep fingers crossed

  2. "D was very vocal that he wants me to decide what he should learn each day."

    That's autonomous structure, that is :-)

  3. LOL- Gill, you are a pearl you really are - I love that - 'autonomous structure' :)

    Thanking you, Ruth, for posting so fully about what you have been working with. I learnt a lot from reading your last few posts that I can apply in our life with Willow. The part where you mentioned about how D stays up to get the only peaceful time available struck bells with me.

    Willow is often awake when the house is finally quiet and jumps at the chance to be 'involved' in anything once the others are asleep. Those times are really special, but he doesn't get up that often because he knows we are not open to them usually.

    But next time Willow just has to creep quietly into where I'm reading or making food when he has been in 'bed' for an hour or two and says: "Watcha doin mom?" I think I'll remember that he is taking advantage of a peaceful moment with me and none of the others hanging on my apron strings, I can see now that for all kids, it is difficult to get time away from siblings...and just as we need time alone with eachother, so do they with us.

    Awwww..your new baby rabbits sound gorgeous! Am looking forward to pics :)

  4. Thanks Elaine :)

    Oh do you think so Gill? I was sort of hoping it was cos he has asked for it and believe me the minute he doesn't want it we are stopping :)

  5. LOL- Gill, you are a pearl you really are - I love that - 'autonomous structure' :)

    Good eh?

    I am glad it helped. What you commented helped no end.

    Everything you said rang bells with D and the way he is. He loves coming down when the others are in bed or busy in their rooms to sit and snuggle with me. We are a noisy house and he has to compete with 6 siblings plus many pets. Some of our best conversations happen late at night so it did have its upside but I am just worn out...:)

  6. I recently bought a white board for M from Tesco Extra for about £3. I put on it what is happening that day as when we were in the clinic, he liked the fact that there was a lot of routine and a timetable. Not saying that you'd have to do a timetable but would it him help to shape his day if he could see on his board either in words or pics or both, that in the morning he would be doing X and then lunch then Y etc, then tea then z etc. Or you could ask him to plan his day with you each morning and together you could fill in the board and then stick to the activities. Like C said in her comment although he might moan and say thats boring etc, it's almost a standard knee jerk reaction for M anyway but actually he will admit at other times that he prefers the structure and boundaries. In fact since I got a grip on sorting out the boundaries with M,his behaviour has improved bucket loads and his whole manner has been that of a much happier child. It was hard to begin with as he didnt like the change and reacted to that but once he realised the boundaries werent budging he stopped trying to push them and settled down and also created some of his own. Going back to your words of the boat and you needing to steer I think thats absolutely right and that children need to have someone guiding them and saying 'no sorry but you can't do that' or 'actually you have to do this'. Being completely in charge of the boat on their own is too much responsibility for one so young. There's nothing wrong with saying 'where shall we travel to now' 'what do you think?' and I think it is important to give choice to a child and also to listen to their views but also its important for the child to know that deep down the adult is in charge and can take care of them, so they can settle back in confidence and enjoy the ride.

    RE winding down and bedtimes, M has been using his mp3 player a lot recently and it is helping him to tune out when he needs to and also at night he is enjoying listening to stories on it. He likes it also because it is easy to use but is a bit grown up as our older kids have them. There's lots of free stuff on the net you can download.
    V xx

  7. Thanks V. We have a whiteboard. Ages ago - I am going back before we moved here we used to have PECs for them when B was non verbal. D and B knew what was coming up but got wised up and used to change the PECS around which defeated the object really:) I know they both prefer knowing what each days is going to bring as regard this morning I have to go shopping or so and so is visiting type stuff,and getting the whiteboard out is a great idea. Only a couple of days ago B asked me where the calender had gone ( it got ripped up ) and I didn't even realise he took much notice of it. D has not had a single tantrum today - not a coincidence I don't think. He knows he is having a holiday until September and we are only doing reading until then. It is very quiet:)It seems fairly obvious if they need that level of assurances over mundane life then input into their learning has to figure as well. Duh, took me long enough to work it out.

    As regards the boat I am happy for them to decide where it goes but - yes you are right- they are too young to do it themselves.

    K2 has an MP3 player so I might see if she will lend it to D and see if it works for him.


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