Monday, 25 July 2011

Holiday Highlights and one Lowlight

We spent the first week of school hols schlepping across the city and up the freeway to North Beach Baptist's holiday King's Club program, "Out of this World". The kids loved it, and we were able to take two kids form our church along on three of the days as well. Sam was able to join in for the first time, attending one full session and two half-sessions as he found the overwhelming noise of the all-in kids sessions, which had lots of singing, a bit overwhelming. It was also a good change to grab a free cuppa and some cake while I did my pre-reading for Trinity, worked a little on something I am writing for another blog, and caught up with some mums I know from when NBBC was our church.

We spent the second week mostly at home, with the kids taking turns to use Mathletics or Reading Eggs with my closer-than-usual attention to see how they were going. I have made a deal with Joshua and Anna that they have to earn a certificate (1000 pts) for Mathletics each week before they are allowed to play any computer games, or visit other sites they are interested in. This morning Joshua earned 450 points, so the target is well within their reach. Abigail and Samuel have to work on Reading Eggs before they can play computer games.

We also watched a few movies: Rango, which made me ask myself "Is this a Christian parable or a Christian parody?" and Ramona and Beezus, which taught the kids to use the word "bilious". Played loooots of Lego, particularly Star Wars. Closely averted Jeff spending just under a thou on 2nd hand Lego on ebay (phew!) and played with mooooore Lego. Went to several birthday parties. I enjoyed sitting in the church service through the entire thing two Sundays in a row as our Missions Committee ran a holiday program for the kids on David Livingstone and I wasn't part of it. It was lovely to partake of holy communion again! The cousins and Auntie Carla came for a visit. The kids also had a playdate with some kids from church while their mum babysat our kids so Jeff and I could attend a Work in Progress seminar at Trinity comparing John's gospel with the Synoptics, which was very interesting.

We caught a train into the city to buy a birthday present for Uncle Michael and stayed for a short visit to the Art Gallery. We love spending time there looking at the exhibits and talking about them. In the main foyer this time was an exhibition of four metal sculptures and a painting of the sculptures. It was only when we looked closely at the painting that we realised it was of the sculpture figures, and then we began to find out which sculpture was which figure in the painting. The kids thought that was a great puzzle.

All in all, a lovely holiday. But what was our one lowlight? The trip to the emergency dept yesterday afternoon to get Abigail's head stuck back together. Part of a disassembled bed frame fell on her at a friend's house and we made the dash to PMH where she was seen and sent home before Jeff had time to take the other three kids home for a quick bath each.(The silvery gleam is the glue.) Abi's fine now, just a little bit sookier than usual, and upset because Anna got to play at Kidzland today rather than her, since she isn't allowed to bounce for a few days. So instead, I'm off to cook a pineapple upside down cake with Abigail to cheer her up.

They'll be back at school and child care tomorrow. :-(


Meredith said...

Hi Sharon!
You've been doing some great things with your children. I have enjoyed reading the blog updates today.
I was interested to see the links to Reading Eggs and Mathletics. What do you think of them? Are they good value?

Sharon said...

Hi Meredith,

We get the Mathletics subscription through school, so I have no idea if it is good value. But the kids like doing it, and it seems quite comprehensive. It is either an assessment or a practice resource, not a teaching resource, unless you sit with them to explain what they don't already know.

Josh got his Reading Eggs subscription through school but since then they have changed to using Raz-Kids for grade 1 reading practice. But all our kids have been enrolled at some time. Anna was so far beyond the basic skills by the time we got her subscribed that it was a waste for her. I have since learnt how to set your child's level, so that would not matter if I was re-enrolling her. But since she and Josh are now reading chapter books on their own, it's not necessary. They do occasionally ask if they can go back to it again for fun!

Now only Abi and Sam are enrolled. We consider it very good value compared to some less well thought out programs you can buy from stores. For Abigail it is great revision as she needs lots of practice. Sam is doing it one lesson at a time and getting along steadily. Since I have him in child care two days a week and BSF one other morning, I am not homeschooling him properly this year. So this is something fun that he can do and still learn a bit along the way. I did not think he was doing very well in remembering from lesson to lesson, but he has done well on his first quiz for Map 1 (each "map" has 10 lessons + 1 quiz), so it seems he is remembering more than I thought. Abigail has just finished Map 3. (There are 12 maps in total.) She is working well below her level of sounding out words, but as I said, it is great revision for her, so I am happy at her progress through it and its usefulness for her.

We tend to go in fits and starts with both of these programs. We use them a lot in the holidays to keep their brains thinking about something other than Lego, Pokemon, Star Wars and LotR, and not so much in term time when they have written homework set each week.

Reneelharvey said...

Hi! We were at King's Club too! Which team were your kids in? Wish I could have met you...Blessings, Renee

Sharon said...

My kids were in green. I think yours might have been as well, judging from the photo on your blog. My kids loved it. I sat at in the cafe each morning and read my pre-reading for my biblical theology course and did some work on my computer. I'm sorry to have missed meeting you, but glad to have you visiting my blog!