Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Growing in Compassion


We don't have a TV license, but we have always kept a television to watch movies on and use the Wii. Don't worry, it's totally legit. 

Initially we had a very small 15" TV which we kept up on a high shelf. I didn't want it to dominate the room and be a constant temptation to the children to ask for DVDs.

But then our TV broke, and being the frugal people that we are we got our next one off freecycle. It was quite a lot bigger, if I remember around 21", but it only lasted six months. The next freecycle offering we got so a whopping 44".


And it broke.

It lasted a good while, but finally a friend was selling his (huge) 72" flatscreen LCD TV, so we bought it from him for a great price.

Cosmos response: This is amazing!!! I can't wait until it breaks and we get a cinema!!


The thing is, he had a really similar response to his pets. For his second birthday some friends bought him a pet fish, who we called Finley. Cosmo was devastated when Fin died (selfishly the same week Lychee was born!) but cheered up significantly when he got new fish - Ross and Franji. Interestingly, he didn't have the same response when Franji died within a week of getting home. In fact, his response was positive joy, because 'Now I get to go to the garden centre again and choose another fish!!'

Over the coming series of fish it became apparent that he did not have any attachment issues to a particular animal, he just liked being in charge of feeding it and checking on it regularly.

However, his current fish (Eugenie) killed Lychee's fish (Greg) yesterday. He'd been hassling him for as long as they'd shared a tank and poor Greg spent most of his time hiding in a toy volcano. When I told Cosmo that Greg had died, he had the predictable response of 'Will I get to choose Lychee's new fish? '

However, twenty-four hours on and it seems he's been considering it more than I'd given him credit for. Today he's been concerned that Eugenie was bullying Greg because 'I used to kiss Eugenie through the glass every morning and I started kissing Greg too. Maybe Eugenie was jealous and that's why he killed Greg. If we get another fish I'll try not to love it as much as Eugenie'.

Obviously I assured him that some fish are just bullies and nothing he could have done would have increased Greg's odds of survival, but the boy was welling up.

It seems he does care about his pet's after all.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Knowledge Quest Geography


Just a quick heads up for those of you who, like me, have a little geographobia (despite having a geography teaching husband, I have never studied geography and find my lack of knowledge in this area disturbing!) Knowledge Quest have kindly made their 'GLOBALMANIA: Master world Geography in 7 months or less' text available as a free download (RRP $14.95)

It's a big file, but they've split it for smaller downloads too.

Enjoy mastering the world!

Maths, Maths, Maths!!

We have a current maths obsession in our house. Cosmo has always loved numbers, even as a small baby, but recently I discovered a website called, which has the most ridiculous amount of practice papers for maths as free printables. 

Cosmo has fallen in love with the 1 minute Math Facts section and completed over twenty of these in one sitting. Still unsure of the concept of a test though, he handed me a paper to mark declaring proudly 'there are two mistakes on this one'. 

'Well if you know that already, why don't you correct them before I mark it?'

'No Mummy! You have to try and guess which ones they are!'


Still, once I pointed out that getting 100% would earn him a gold star sticker, we had perfect score sheets every time. 

I also found a little app for Lychee's maths skills, which I think I may be too late with, but I'm going to try anyway. It works on the same principles that I teach reading with, that by flashing the cards quickly to a child under two years they learn to associate the image (word) with the sound and it's unconsciously learned. 

photo credit
This app claims that babies don't count. They just know how many are there (to a certain degree), but haven't learned to associate that number with a name or symbol. The app flashes up randomly placed red dots on a white background and tells you how many there are. The lessons start with numbers 1-5. They then build up in difficulty. In one minute a day, the developer tells us, you train your baby to recognise numbers without counting. This makes them faster processors of information over all as adults (because really, if the only benefit was not having to count stuff, it's probably not worth bothering with - just count).

I'm not sure it will work, but for one minute a day I'm willing to give it a go. 

Monday, 4 February 2013

Gracies XL

Cosmo has been enjoying playing with some video editing software and has come up with a fun trailer for a movie about our family becoming superheroes. He chose all the videos and photos for the storyboard template himself, and all the clips where he is in a read cape and Lychee has chocolate on her face were written and directed by him :0)

He also did the typing for the inserts. Unfortunately the iPad keeps inserting apostrophes into things (like Gracie's when he types Gracies) and he will not allow me to correct them, so you'll have to excuse the grammar.

The 'XL' thing is a bit of a joke in our family as Cosmo and his dad like to wrestle, and they add 'XL' to their names to give themselves wrestling identities. Without further ado, I give you 'Gracies XL - the trailer'.