Friday, 5 December 2014

When I was a child, I hated writing thank-you letters. It was a chore. I knew I was meant to do it and that my mother wouldn't stop nagging me until I had finished the job, but I resented the intrusion into my time. After all, I had much more interesting things to do.

Now I'm the parent and I'm the one standing over my reluctant child, insisting that he writes those letters. Worse, I'm a home-educating parent, which means that, in addition to my parental duty to teach gratitude and good manners, I also see this as a learning opportunity. Poor Charlie.

So last week, every day, Charlie has practised writing informal thank-you letters to friends and family. He has learned that the address goes in the top right-hand corner of the page, with the date underneath; he has learned that it is important not only to thank the person for the gift, but also to show them how much you appreciate it by saying why you like it - it was fun building the Lego/ reading the book/ choosing a much-wanted toy with the voucher.

On the subject of gratitude, I am feeling gratitude myself at the moment because Charlie's interest in cooking has continued and at the moment he is planning and making the meals. Last week, Charlie made sausage rolls for the first time, including the pastry. He made these entirely on his own, apart from me putting them into, and taking them out of, a hot oven.

He has cooked us a variety of meals every evening. This is Charlie drizzling honey, lemon juice and orange juice over chicken breasts to bake in the oven (I made roast potatoes and cooked the vegetables to go with it):

He baked several cakes, enjoying the process of finding recipes, then weighing and mixing the ingredients.

Fruit cake

Our excursion last week was to Brighton Museum. The trip was spontaneous, so we were not focusing on any particular topic. We were all very affected by the exhibition, Ocean Blues, which focused on the pollution of the oceans.

It was especially upsetting to see an exhibit which showed the amount of plastic rubbish people throw into the ocean. The sight of the innards of a dead sea bird filled with plastic tat really brought it home to us.

On a lighter note, we also visited the performance gallery, which was full of costumes, masks and puppets, and Charlie put on a 'Punch and Judy' show for us.

Charlie has seen lots of his family this week. His Granny came to stay with us for two days and Charlie loved seeing her, as well as showing her his recent project books: Titanic, The Solar System and Art. He also showed her his book of certificates from ConquerMaths. 

First page from 'The Solar System'

A page from Charlie's book on Titanic

Another page from Charlie's topic book on Titanic

On Saturday, his Grandma came round to celebrate her 85th birthday with us and Charlie presented her with vanilla cupcakes instead of a birthday cake. She was delighted.

There is an odd phenomenon occuring in our house at the moment: various everyday objects have been transformed into Lego.



Butter dish

Charlie is very taken with a BBC website called 'iWonder' and keeps going back to it to read more. The website aims to feed curiosity and it is certainly doing that for Charlie. One of the items that captured his imagination this week described how to photograph the moon. Charlie hasn't succeeded in that yet, but that's only because he doesn't have the right equipment. In the meantime, he goes out to look up at the moon every night before bedtime and is excitedly awaiting the full moon on 6th December.

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