Friday, 5 January 2007

Memo: never gloat

The kids went to their kiddie RSPB meeting last night. So they're full of albatrosses dying in the Antarctic. The leader, Robin, said everyone should bring a picture of an albatross to next month's meeting.

This morning out comes the lining paper and a reference book and we measure the wingspan of the Wandering albatross. We draw out the wings, life-size, on the paper, all 3.5 meters of them. Then we add the head, beak and tail. We glue on white feathers. We've only got 8 white feathers, and Squirrel glues them all together, on the floor, by accident. She then glues the Wandering albatross's pair of wiggly eyes to the kitchen table. It looks like the table's watching me now. Never mind we think, and draw on the eyes and feathers instead with felt-tip.

It looks like a work of art, I think, smugly. Then Tiger sits on it while Shark and Squirrel flap its wings and we all go off for a ride. I feel very good about all this. At next month's kiddie RSPB meeting, we'll take our lining paper life-size Wandering albatross with saddle drawn on, and we'll show it off while all the other kiddies have weeny little rubbish pictures they did that morning over breakfast. I'll nod smugly, and explain, 'we're home educated you know' and I'll feel utterly superior.

My mother always said pride comes before a fall. Last year we went with Dig to a posh do somewhere important. We got sat at the table by the toilets and when everyone else had got seated, the fashionably late 6-year-old Evangelina and her terribly posh mother with perfect hair arrived. Evangelina was tri-lingual and the most extraordinarily posh child I have ever met. Ours pick their noses. Evangelina doesn't. So I tried to go in for the educational kill. I thought I had Evangelina cornered when I was explaining that unlike private education, the benefit of home education is we can create the curriculum we want, when we want, and make it happen how we want. I said we'd recently been doing a project on dinosaurs. Shark had done a lovely colouring in after the visit to the Dino theme park, and Tiger had done all our dino jigsaws. Squirrel had made a dino cake for us and we'd all watched The Flintstones. 'Oh' said Evangelina, then turned to Shark. 'Which is your favourite period? Do tell me. Mine's Cretaceous. And I just love those sweet little Allosaurus, don't you?'

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