Friday, 22 April 2011

No News is Good News, Right?

That's a long gap. I guess things have been quiet and routine with nothing much happening. I was always bad at recording routine things, as the quality of my university notes shows. I'm attempting to make sure C is better at this than I was. It's the curse of a good memory and knowing part of the subject. It's only later that one realises that memory is not quite as good as one thought, plus in amongst all the known bits in a lecture was buried an important nugget of information that was missed due to inattention.

On to more recent things.

When starting at his swimming club almost eighteen months ago, C declared that he wanted to learn to swim better but didn't want to do competitive stuff. Since then, we've observed him checking out the children next to him to see how well he's doing, so he wants to be first despite his competition claims. The club has an internal gala over a couple of weekends at the end of the year and we encouraged C to take part. "It's against your friends, a chance to see what it's like" and various other forms of encouragement. He ended up entering for every race for which he was eligible, which was the four age-group races plus all the open events. The competitive urge is there, albeit well-hidden, because he was twenty seconds faster in his butterfly race than when I was timing him the week before. He came away with three silvers and a bronze medal from the age-group events, and declared he wanted to get a gold medal and a trophy in future. Cue some motivational talks about working hard and getting rewarded for effort.

He had a chance to compete for the club in February, but it coincided with a family holiday in Cornwall, so we declined that one and didn't mention it to him. He got another chance at the start of April, and got very stressed about it and didn't want to do it. We had lots of talks about it all, to determine why he didn't want to do it. It was complicated by the fact that he's reached a level where he was good enough to move up from one group to another at swim club and he was also having trouble with that change, even though we could see he was better than some of those in the higher group. He agreed to do the competition, and we had a stressful week or two leading up to it. He was also placed into a group a year older than him, the club being more interested in giving experience to those who want it rather than those who stand the best chance of winning (not all the local clubs are like that). In a way it was a compliment because if they had to bump someone up, it suggests that they think he's better than the others who were available. He did his couple of races and decided it was really good fun, so he's over that hump now, and signed up for an open event for a couple of months' time.

In other things, C is noticeably more comfortable doing basic arithmetic, and is doing sums in his head with no prompting, he's well into reading, and we're working on his spelling. I saw mention of a DS game called Scribblenauts on one of the home education lists and we got that for him. His spelling has improved noticeably since he got it, so I guess I can recommend it. He's had a play with his chemistry set that he got for Christmas, and is progressing with other science stuff. We even touched on religious education, explaining why I was at home on a Friday today. A while back he read us the story of Joseph and his coat of many colours and I dug out a YouTube video of the song from the musical. I remember singing that at school.

We had fun in Cornwall in February, off season so we ended up with personal tours of places and got to see and do things that wouldn't be possible in the busy season. C had chance to feed penguins which he loved, and to see seals at a sanctuary, and visit the Lizard Lighthouse. Land's End was a disappointment, we didn't stay long. It just seemed too commercial compared to the wilder environment at the Lizard.

So, things progressing happily and mostly smoothly, on all fronts.