Thursday, 16 April 2015

Connecting in the Countryside

Well today I wanted to put out the flags - I got my Son back.
He's been home since Friday but he only came back to me today. After visiting his Dads he is always a nightmare. The longer he goes for the longer it lasts and this time has been quite trying, mainly because of my guilt that I *should* be teaching him something every second of the day.
I shouldn't, of course I shouldn't. As adults we aren't switched onto learning for 10 hours a day so we can't expect kids to be either.
The difference this time was that 'attittude boy' reared his head and so days of being grumpy, uncooperative and downright refusing to do anything I mentioned (and I mean anything, not just learning things. Things like putting on shoes or brushing teeth) has been met with a torrent of outrage and disgust. Hence, at times, I've retreated to my conservatory with a coffee and ignored the fact he was on his 5th episode of House of Anubis whilst I was waiting for my cheery, happy, loving boy to return. And he has, properly today.
He showed signs yesterday (see the project garden post) but I knew he was back this morning when he actually spoke to me when he got up, ate all his porridge and even got dressed without me screaming like a fish wife.
Hooray. Happy days!

And it's been just that, a really happy day.
We've laughed, joked and talked. We've played.
We spent 3 hours in Crickley Hill Country Park where he climbed trees, made dens, created imaginary worlds and games, collected a trillion sticks and didn't once ask for something to eat. We couldn't have got a more different experience to the last few days if we'd tried.
The weather was glorious too and getting some valuable sunshine made me cheery.

We came home via Sainsburys where I somewhat extravagantly suggested stopping at the cafe for a late lunch. After buying his choice for tea (duck) we came home and spent a few hours in my summerhouse.

For those of you who don't know, I run a business called Dixie Dot Designs and sew from a summerhouse in the garden. We have cleared out my admin desk for Barnabys new home ed desk. I am hoping it means we can work alongside each other and I can sew while he learns, but I'll still be next to him to help.

He discovered the hole punch and after creating a lovely mess he realised the holes looked like a snail had eaten through a leaf. From here he used his garden diary to write about snails, glue the leaves he had created and then drew some snail pictures.
As I sat there watching him it was evident why he was getting nagged at school for taking so long to complete his work.
He took ages. He rubbed it out. He wanted to research. His brain was onto the next bit of work he could do about slugs before he completed the bit about snails. He took 3 minutes to select the right pen with which to write. He thought of 5 different ways to write his sentence before beginning.

There was no time for this at school. Even his teacher told me that. He had 5 minutes for that task and after that it was loss of playtime or lunchtime so he could complete it.

Sat there tonight, seeing him try his hardest to make neat letters with his handwriting, thinking carefully about how to spell words to get them right and not just spelling them phonetically, it just reaffirms my belief that you can't cram every child into a 'ten minute box'. Some tasks will take them 3 minutes, some 15. All kids are different.

And then, then, he made any of my doubts and worries and insecurities and wobbles disappear in an instant... Because he too had realised what I already knew.

"Blimey Mum, the more I look at that work, the more I think maybe I'm not totally rubbish. Maybe I'm not just thick after all".

And there it was.
I never used those words.
I never gave him that impression.
I never behaved negatively towards his work.

He, of his own accord, had decided that he wasn't as clever as his friends who could write faster. He doesn't have (maybe yet, maybe he never will have) a mind that concentrates solely on the task in hand. He thought his writing was rubbish. He thought he was 'thick'.

And in that moment I knew I was right to take him out a classroom environment when I did. He couldn't cope with the stress of feeling inadequate and now he's truly learning; that he is who he is and the only person he ever needs to compete against is himself. That way, he'll alway be the best he can be.

So for that, I thank my hole punch :)

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Optimistic Owls

Optimistic Owls
Optimistic Owls