Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Sometimes It Just Doesn't Happen

I love planning projects.
I love planning projects so much that this could easily be a whole blog entry about how much I love planning projects.
 I have a list of project themes on my phone (I keep it there so that if I think of another project while I'm out I can add it to the list), and happily while away my odd moments, on the bus, feeding Phoebe to sleep, waiting for Eleanor to finish her ballet lesson, by expanding on the various ideas, adding new activities, and thinking of ways to make everything as much fun as possible without actually abandoning any thought of education.
 Then I get thoroughly excited about all the activities I have planned.
Unfortunately what looks like a great idea on paper can be a bit of a damp squib in real life*.

Yesterday's activity was one of those.
It seemed a great idea when it was just an outline on my phone: we were going to make paper ladybirds.
We were going to each ladybird two more spots than the one before, and we were going to make them symmetrical, then we were going to talk about counting in twos, and multiplying or dividing by two, and symmetry.
 We were going to look at our paper butterflies and our paper ladybirds and talk about how they were all symmetrical, and then we were going to see what other symmetrical animals we could think of.
And then I was going to ask Eleanor if she could think of any animals that weren't symmetrical, and when she couldn't I was going to show her a YouTube film of a fiddler crab.
 It was going to be great.

It wasn't.
We made the ladybirds, but I took more time cutting out the pieces than Ellie did sticking them together.
 Perhaps it was the effect of having something new to do after yet another week in quarantine, but she seemed to assemble paper ladybirds like a paper ladybird assembly machine.
 And then, she said, she was finished.
Asked if she could see how the ladybirds counted in twos she informed me that no, they didn't because there were numbers missing.
No you can't count in just twos: " cos it would be just two, two, two, two and that's silly".
No she didn't want to listen, this was a silly game and did the ladybirds eat paper aphids?
She vaguely acknowledged that yes, both sides matched, just like the butterflies, but made it clear that this was a supremely uninteresting fact.
No, she didn't know what other animals were symmetrical.
No she didn't want to think of one.
 She did think that maybe the big ladybirds were the little ladybirds' Mummy and Daddy though.

*A bit like this really.
Honestly, in my head this was going to be a great blog.


  1. Don't worry about it - counting in 2s is very advanced, even for Ellie!

    It's frustrating, but think of it this way - tangents are GOOD - possibly one of the best things about home ed/one on one teaching - you are completely free to go off on a tangent following her lead. Looks like making paper aphids and discussing the digestive system would have been a nice tangent. You could even have brought it back to the counting in twos theme by giving Mummy and Daddy ladybird one aphid each - how many do we need to do that? Then 2 each... and so on.

    (Of course, that's in an ideal world. Much easier to get frustrated and say "NO we're looking at symmetry and even numbers here - so CONCENTRATE!")

  2. Oh, we did other things with the ladybirds (this is just the short version), I just wanted to talk about the way the best laid plans of enthusiastic Mummy can end up trodden in the dust.
    Eleanor was very anti-work that day: anything that required mental exercise was BAD but, on the other hand, she was quite happy to talk about ladybirds, just as long as she was asking the questions and I wasn't trying to make her THINK.

    We finished up by playing the Ladybird Game and watching the old Sesame Street video of Ladybug Picnic which turned out to be a lot more useful than I expected.