Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Curriculums or should I say Curricula?

Which reminds me, I did a couple of terms of Latin at the grammar school I went to before I moved to an area which had comprehensives. How much of it can I remember v little, except that it opened my eyes to the world of grammatical tables and maybe has helped in a small way with other languages I have studied.

I have been thinking about different attitudes to what children 'should' learn, i.e. curricula. This is highlighted in the link about Black History. I've been noticing the different attitudes according to people's own educational experiences as well as the countries they have lived in. Also the difference in how they should learn has obviously been highlighted by my experience of the LEA here in Sweden as well as different opinions from parents from Asian and Arab countries. Autonomous certainly doesn't appeal here (although my own DH can easily see many flaws in the way he was taught (parrot fashion, fear of the cane etc). Letting them learn by themselves does produce results but maybe not what those in charge of curricula making would want.

When I think back to my education, I spent so much time learning organic equations, memorising French quotes for French lit exams etc How has this helped me in life? How have I benefited from it.? At the time it felt like this was just something that had to be got through, not learning because I wanted to (which is of course the natural human instinct) but there are things which I'm glad I was taught, e.g. the maths which I do use pretty often. There are things I wish I could have been taught, touch typing, how to change a tyre, how to cut a wriggling child's hair (or a stationary one's), and these all thought to be subjects for the 'dim' kids. Academia leads to good jobs? leads to happiness?! But some of the academia of course has benefited me, I mention the maths and I think there are some subjects which I would have got a lot more out of if the teaching methods of the teachers had been somewhat more inspiring. That's probably why some parts of history I find more interesting and remember more of than others. Now I do feel I need to know more about more recent history. I gave it up at 13 uninspired at that time so my learning of history ended around the 17th century. English classes bring me memories of fear of the sarcastic teacher I had and the boys always mucking around or dropping off having had too much cannabis. Now I have little time for literature but when I do get a chance it now is much more enthralling especially as don't have to produce a 4 page essay on characters and themes and memorising quotes. I think I'd be more suited to a 'book club' type thing where this could just be discussed.. This is where the old chestnut comes in that certain things are best learnt at a young age (languages, memorising Quran) but the child may not see any immediate benefit to it and be very reluctant to do it. That's when I find myself dressing g it up with crafts and rewards if it's not the metaphoric cane method. Otherwise I'm thinking it should be something that we just do so start young so it's the norm. When I was potty training S I was just so glad he did it in the potty I didn't move on to washing hands etc until later, and then it was a struggle to get these things done. With Biryani its part of the whole deal so she doesn't want leave the bathroom without drying her hands on the towel. (the actual potty training bit is another story, though I hope inshAllah will eventually have a happy ending).

Anyhow I'm all in a tizzle as kids are back at school and how it will be doing stuff with them, tired and grumpy, and if anything I've just written makes any sense alhamdulillah

Friday, August 22, 2008

How play has changed..

Today we have been to M's arabic classes outing to one of the indoor playcentres. Not my cup of tea (due to hectic atmosphere, gawdy colours and extortionate prices), but kids do like it. Further below are some pics of my preferred type of activity (out in nature, be it only a local park).
So here's what we've been up to in the last few days of the holidays..
S writing out the script of his You tube video. He and his friend decided to make videos with action figures/ lego and got DH to show them how to upload to YouTube. It's been animation mania here as they have realised how to make 'cartoons' with their lego men using the mobile phone camera. Even H has managed to make a short one!

S now has his first mobile phone (my old one) and his own phone number.

Ta da! the PJ trousers (after a night's wear) which I actually finished within an hour or so in the end. They ended up loking like Judo trousers due to the recycled sheet material I used. Next is to try with some proper material inshAllah. Also I have to alter the pattern as they are bit tight on the 'behind'.

Out in the park where we find blackberries. One thing I like about Sweden is the focus on nature and learning. Even the maths books use nature as a theme .

Some writing practice, no paper wasted here..

The blackberries were not quite ripe, although we did find a few black ones which were quickly devoured.
M searching for ripe berries, with a young hazalnut tree in the background. Sadly it didn't appear to have any nuts..
Found one ! So inshaAllah we'll go back soon and get a few pots full.

Hz continues to give lots of smiles (to anyone , huff!) and did a little laugh yesterday.

TV viewing, well S was quite interested by the programme about how the earth could be if the human race suddenly disappeared. I had to explain to all of them that this wasn't depicting precisely what was going to happen, just what might happen according to the programme makers. Anyhow this gave an opportunity to talk a little bit about the Day of Judgement with him. Otherwise a bit of Islam channel cartoons today (but why so much music?) and the usual cartoons which prompted me to announce 'Control the remote control, don't let it control you!' I say this with slightly less hypocrisy as I recently have been watching hardly any TV and hope to avoid it as much as possible in Ramadhan.

So back to school tomorrow (if I have the energy, they're only supposed to be there 1 hour on the first day!). Just wondering if anyone will 'pop round' to check what we're up to and if kids are in school or not (me paranoid?)

InshaAllah only a week left until Ramadhan, and am wondering how S is going to manage. I remember reading about early muslims giving their children simple toys to distract them from the hunger, but today's kids including my own, would this be enough? may Allah make it easier for all those novice fasters (and the more experienced), and let them realise the benefit it is bringing to themselves.

It seemed like an orange day..

As inspired by EF, how anyone can do a month , or even a week of regular blogging, but I'll give a day a go.. Orange velour trousers (a kind gift from an auntie to young Hz). S calls him a bumble bee in them
Breakfast- marmalade, french toast being made by H..(In orange sleeved PJs)

Exercising those hand and eye muscles..

and on a different day actually, we had a swarm of ladybirds outside our flats. I was a bit worried at first when I saw this black cloud of insects. To the kids' delight they were able to easily pick a few up (I know, they're red, but M is wearing another orange T shirt which he likes, and also has 'Boss' written on it (Pakistani fake)). S was interested in what ladybirds eat, and M decided to see what happened if you put several ladybirds inside a glass jar on a boiling hot balcony (I had to terminate this experiment rapidly I might add).
Note to self: S also interested in lifespan of wasps. (I think he's looking forward to winter as he is pretty scared of them)

Anyhow, Biryani latest interest is colours, and orange is the only one she consistently gets right!(she likes to eat them)

We’re still here

I've been having a bit of a head cold, and waking up earlier so less energy for things other than the essentials this week.

We've been having Hz's first beaming smiles, and he does seem to be one who likes to have company. I think he'd like me to do more of the 'attachment' style parenting, but if he would be such a heavy boy (he's gone to almost the top percentile on the graphs) and have a mother with relatively weak shoulder/ back muscles, the sling is being used only in desperate times. MIL is due to go back soon, and it's probably going to get a lot tougher without her well-practiced baby-holding skills. It's also 'back to school' time next week, which to be honest ,in some ways, I am quite looking forward to. This is in terms of having some respite from the seemingly constant bickering and 'requests' for sustenance. I'm trying to face the next year positively, that I can try and get some organisation into this chaos while they're at school, (making up for the months of being pregnant and not being able to do much). Then I hope I can be a little less stressed and be a better mother (whatever that is) when they are at home.

Some photos to come inshAllah..

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dealing with a 2 year old’s mentality (I am not referring to husbands’..)

'Do you want juice?'


Do you want some toast?'


'Do you want some chocolate?'


'NO' - I will NOT comply

I finish feeding Hz and Biryani approaches me, wanting to have some lap time and sing humpty dumpty.

'Put him away' , pointing to car seat

Biryani wields my biro left unattended for a couple of minutes. I rush to the kitchen to fetch some paper from the drawer, followed in hot pusuit by daughter.

Daughter -*Cries*, 'NO, NO', 'push, push'

Me- '??'

Oh, you want me to shut the drawer so you can fetch the paper yourself.

I close the drawer. Peace is resumed ..

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Education in the news

The article came out in the paper yesterday about our home education application. It was quite brief, and I was sure I had not expressed so much dissatisfaction with their particular school, but the fact that here there is no choice if you want to home educate. I didn’t want to make the school look bad, but rather show the education authorities’ injustice and closed mindedness. So there have been the usual comments from the general public agreeing with the authorities that attending school is the only way its possible to be socialised, or that we should just change schools. I’m waiting for the one ‘Why don’t they go back to where they came from?!’ comment. They had chosen a picture in which we all looked suitably unhappy about the situation, although actually M was not so happy as he’d been called away from his Star wars game... Anyhow maybe the Education Chief is feeling the heat, as he’d also been contacted by the paper, and the final word of the article said we were ‘thinking about reapplying next school year’
BTW here’s a link about learning being more beneficial in a child’s mother tongue from a recent news article, with indeed reactions that this is again some impediment to integration .(funny how I’ve heard they want to shut down schools who teach in Arabic but the International (English speaking) school is said to be the best school in Sweden

Sewing for dummies

(written yesterday, but had no internet connection)

OK, started on PJs despite what seems to be a somewhat sewing phobia. Felt inclined to do this as last night S's friend was staying, but was unplanned so he had no night wear. The few PJ bottoms we have were either in the wash basket or drying so they both ended up wearing the long shorts we have for swimming for their bottom halves!

I studied the contents of my pattern which thankfully only have one other language (Spanish) included, and then realised this is not a job to do with a currently, v jealous 2 year old around. Oh the glee that would result in tearing and scrunching the ridiculously thin tissue paper the pattern is made of. So now she has just fallen asleep and I so managed to cut out the pattern and see if it would fit on the spare bit of material that I will inshAllah try it out on.

I have to go to a meeting to inshAllah enrol H with the childminder (a muslim sister I know) so the next stage is ironing the pattern and the fabric (ironing another pet hate).

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Some learning must be going on, somewhere..

Brain a bit cotton wool like nowadays, despite Hz sleeping relatively well (3-4 hour blocks at night and I think even 5 and a bit hours the other night, unless I fed him while half asleep). As usual it's the younger ones waking me that does it. So keep putting off posting as it does require some brain cells.

A paper rang us the other day as one of their journalists had heard about our home ed application being refused as they are allowed to go to a weekly announcement of all decisions made by the Länsrätten (not sure exact equivalent in UK, maybe county council). So have done an interview, anything to champion Home Ed cause here. At the end of the interview the journalist thought it was important that it is shown that home educators are just 'normal people', as most Swedes would think they are extremists, well thank you (I think!) He also asked me if there were many children not getting an education in the UK as I'd mentioned that one doesn't even have to register you are home educating if your children haven't been to school. I said I thought that was highly unlikely as the parents who do home educate generally want the best for their children. Conversely, school may be seen as free child care to those who may have less interest in the education side of things (to whom I assumed he was referring and would keep them home and not help them be educated).

Apart from that, the 2 elder boys have been horse buggy riding (körning) something like this. Making lots of lego creations, cycling and the usual day to day sibling rivalry.. H continues with his ladybird reading scheme (he's almost begging me to listen to him mashAllah), and I sometimes catch M reading a book to himself.