Mixed with a little bit of physical geography… slope stability? Hmmm maybe I should make it history and show Helena pictures of music festivals and hippies!
We went to the beach with the Tuesday homeschooling group and even better, a beach we’d never been to before. I think of the homeschooling group as all the lunchtimes in a school week all packed in on top of each other and with enough time and space for stuff to actually happen – the usual negotiation about “games” “teams” ‘sides” but there is usually time for the kids to get over that and realise more friends are better than less – more brains more ideas. Helena was delighted to be able to ask other kids to “stop it” and when they asked if she wanted to be in their team she walked away saying she didn’t want to be on someone’s team if they were being mean. Later on she got to be generous and let them join in her game and they all became friends – “we all played the snail game, it was the best fun”. Had any bell gone it would have gone at the walking away point and then the take home memory would all be so and so did this making any entry point to playing together the next day harder work. Helena’s memory of the day (and the other kids?) is all about the new friends. Of course the kids are also given more freedom than at school, there is no duty teacher so they all have to work it out on their own. Helena did come to tell me what happened but I am pretty sure that is because she was pleased with her self and her choices. The environment they are in is also less confined, more space so more choices, more places to go, places to be alone. The children are left to make their own decisions about safety – climbing trees etc, how filthy they want to get “mum do I have a change of clothes” is a familiar refrain when we are out. The kids also choose when to eat, often going off with someone else to picnic or eating when they need to… often as soon as we get there – it’s something to with the lunch box and compartments. There is no teacher to check the lunch box.
Today we had; a show that never was (revisiting an old successful idea before a new idea carried them away), exploring the uneven terrain – it is a large rocky beach, babies? Helena carried her baby around (I salute her confidence to wander round with a plastic baby in the company of people who never seem to have plastic babies..), looking in rock pools and playing THE snail game (you turn them over and have a race to see whose turns over first), tree climbing, getting wet, and MUD.
It’s too hard to only look at one part of the curriculum and we were there with some wonderful forces of nature all around us to be experienced in a physical way… we saw
- a spring come out of the cliff which was apparently not as big as the ones in Famous Five – though I believe this to be a novel! Hence a conversation about peoples different imaginings when reading the same book. Tasted OK.
- a slip in progress (lots of recent rain) – I told the story of my father and I driving onto a slip in a car and me wanting to abandon the car, so a discussion about safety. They were feeling the texture, sliding down it… I guess they won’t be as surprised as I was when I found out as a teenager how wet slips can be.
- cliffs with unsorted rocks and full of rocks unlike those rounded ones on the beach that we were leaping on and climbing.
- tree roots exposed by past slips.
When we got home Helena and I weighed all the smooth rocks we took home, with Helena putting them in weight order first – very few needed moving!!! Then we put them in water trying to work out density. We had fun despite its inaccuracy.
I could choose almost any Level one Health and PE learning objective to fuel this story.. eeny meany miny mo: Regular physical activity; Helena participated in physically challenging activities she created such as sliding down a slip then climbing a tree to reach a rock pool to wash her self off and was expressing her enjoyment of this experience with screams and entreaties for others to give it a go…