Friday, 17 July 2009

Constant learning... for me too!

Before I post about the brilliant holiday we had, I want to quickly add something about a discovery I made!

We have now been home edding Milly officially for about 6 weeks now. Seemingly she is 'un-schooling' herself quite naturally and it is leaving a path of some quite interesting findings. Just the other night we started a 'sticker chart' for when Milly reads a book to either one of us, she gets a sticker... you know the story of incentive/encouragement/coersion... It's really just since Hettie has had one to encourage her to use the toilet to do poo's and not to do them in her knickers! Well, yes thank you... it seems to be working well for her. Hee hee!

Anyway, back to Mills. It was her idea to have the sticker chart so we went with it! She now see's it as a race against Hettie but I have told her that Hettie can't do them every day... and this lead onto a very brief but succinct 'we can't ALL do poo's everyday, Milly. Some of us have to wait. She didn't want to go any further with this discussion so we carried on with the story!

So Milly started and as she was reading I found myself beginning to 'study' her and listen too, of course. When she came to a word that she had difficulty with I suggested gently that she 'sound it out' which she did. It's interesting to note how contradictory the English language is. I became aware Milly's struggle with some words and found myself saying things like 'look at the word Milly... Look at it, darling'. Although Milly is well practiced at looking at the picture first to give her a clue as to what is happening in the story, she can usually figure it out and very cleverly describe it quite accurately and get most of the words right! I then purposefully added 'well where is the 'T' in that word, Darling. Sound it out again!' She wasn't looking at the page and was drifting (or so I thought) into a day dream! The word she was struggling with was 'Never'. I didn't ask her to look at the page this time I just watched her. After a few moments I said 'Look again, Milly'. But before I could complete what I was going to ask her she sshhhed me (quite rightly too) and said 'Hang on Mummy I'm trying to think of the word... eerrrrrrm it looks like it reminds me of the word 'Love'...' Looking again she said... 'Never'!

So a big lesson for me: Learn to 'Shut Up'! Yes, shut up and listen and let her drift because that is when she is working things out for HERSELF!

It reminded me of a passage from John Holt's 'Why Children Fail' when he talked of how he observed children in a class and what their 'habits' were when they were being taught and how some of us can be aware of when we are learning and how some don't!

It may be the case that she will always be a 'drifty, dreamy' kind of learner and I know from my own experience that that is not something catered for in some schools? She's already thinking of things 'outside' of what she is currently doing. And this is what we want to give her... the opportunity to develop and have comfort in her own style of learning.


  1. The Princess Story,

    Did Milly know that some baby bees are fed with 'royal jelly', a special food, reserved for select bees. They do not become a normal worker in the hive, but grow into princess and princes.
    All very strange, but when the first princess appears she immediately rips the wax lids off all her princesses sister' cells and destroys all of them, so she can be the only one!!! (girl power gone mad eh?)
    She then tries to attract as many of the princes and drone bees in the hive and flies high into the sky, higher and higher, one by one the males bees crash to the ground exhusted.... (apparently girly bees have so much more energy!)eventully when there are only a few bees left she 'mates' with all the male bees before they too die.
    The new young queen bee returns to the hive, and gathers as many workers as she can attact and set off in a huge swarm to start a new city.
    Daisy found this out about bees one day whilst sitting in the bath looking a bees books...

    Your blog sounds like you are making an amazing experience for you girls... Brilliant xxxxxx Tina

  2. Everyday is a learning day, heh! Thank you so much for that added info, Tina. Its people like you who adds to the learning we are all so often doing. Love you.