Sunday, 17 August 2008

In pursuit of an education

Dig sighs Oh dear. And really, we should listen to him. Because Grit and the Gritlets have a new hobby.

OK. I admit. It will probably last a week, make everyone cross, suck the entire family into terminal financial decline, send us off into fields, and bring chaos and disaster into what could otherwise be normal, ordered, stable lives. But. I can use it for an education. And I am converted. So just order the stuff and here's my credit card.

It is miniaturism. I know. Don't tell me. It is folly. But I am helpless in the face of Tiger's enthusiasm. And with the price I'm paying for a scaled model of a replica Victorian tin bath, you should hand me the cut-throat razor now.

This is all the fault, again, of that thing we call Home Education. Here we are, one minute happily sauntering past the charming shops in Hay-on-Wye, and the next minute Grit and the Gritlets are in an Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole: a doll's house shop. For two hours. Mostly on hands and knees with Grit listening to her delighted children discussing Edwardian interiors, while she praises the manufacturers of small wooden items for making her children so informed and educated and able to sustain a coherent three-way conversation without screaming, packing punches, rolling on the floor or leaving the shop in tears and without dignity.

You can see why I have been sold on the doll's house solution.

In fact, in this wonderful shop, after five minutes, Grit is positively enthusing That's a bargain! Readily she agrees to pay the price of a small car for a set of miniature cutlery! Hey! She is even dribbling over the cute little pushchair! Even though this is something that Grit never did, not even when she was pushing the triple buggy uphill with three fat little dwarfs strapped inside while considering competing for England with her biceps. Nope, not once did she consider that moment cute. But here! One twelfth scale! And look! The cute little pushchair wheels really turn!

Well the deed is done.

And now comes the rationale. Because, I explain carefully to Dig, this is a fate that had to be. And of course we cannot be satisfied with the enormous doll's house that came out of the pile from Northumberland. No. We never were, actually, I remind Dig. We always had to lock it up. And do you recall why? Because everytime that doll's house appeared, Squirrel, Shark and Tiger had a big fight over it because in reality you cannot get triplets round one doll's house, and too frequently the sofa was taken by violence. And that included scratching of eyes, pulling of hair, and blood.

Honestly, I argue, about this I have a second sense. There are some items we can buy one of. Like the maths game. Of course this item will be of no interest to anyone and will be discarded within seconds. There are some items we can buy two of. If we want to witness mayhem leading to certain death. Remember the buckets and spades? And there are some items we must buy three of. The push chairs. With Squirrel, Shark and Tiger streaming down the back lane pushing three dollies in trolleys it looked like a scene from Death Race 2000. But it was necessary. Like doll's houses. And, I say to Dig, Tiger says she wants to build hers, so what better education can you get than this, eh?

You see, I tell Dig, with period replicas of doll's house interiors, we can do maths, history, design and technology. Almost the entire teaching of the National Curriculum in one go! In fact, if I speak French while we're gluing the bits together, then we've cracked it.

And Dig! Just think of what we can create! Look at this! Surely we can do the same with a few bits of fabric and some wood!

Reader, I win. Without a minute to delay, it's off we go! Dig even gets whipped up with the enthusiasm of the moment and gets out his saw, glue, nails and clamps! Howabout that! Family Education!

Checking the bits...

Gluing the banisters on the wrong side...

Leaving the half-finished shell on the table, abandoned,
while we think about what to do with the banister problem.
Grit now thinks that giving the instructions in French is a bad idea.


Suburbia said...

Tall Girl loves visiting those dolls house shops. Good luck with yours, definitly lots of education in it!

sharon said...

Now this is why I'm glad I only had boys and they (even the gay one kept to dolls and dresses only) were not interested in Dolls' Houses because I am a real sucker for tiny things and I would have mortgaged my own house for a perfect little Dolls' one. You can make little rugs from cross-stitched fabric you know, thereby adding another subject to the tally. Heck, I could do some for you if I knew the measurements required!

Irene said...

Hooray for you and your enthusiasm. I can see this turning into the project of the year, if not the whole curriculum. How wonderful to play with all those teeny things. Who will have the most fun, ma petite?

Grit said...

hello all! i hope when we have solved the banister problem (my goodness, that glue sets hard!) we can post photographs of our early work. (and cross-stitched rugs are an excellent idea! i am gathering these new ideas like gold.)

Pig in the Kitchen said...

oh please may i come for a miniature tea on your chintz sofa when it's all done?

and you know, if the budget seizes up, you can make very good looking beds out of matchboxes i've been told.

So glad i'm not the only one to make crazy purchases in the belief that my life is about to be transformed. Like the three tier, stainless steel, catering grade trolley (with a kilo load of +50 kilos) i have just paid a horrible amount for...

Grit said...

pig, you are so right about these purchases that will transform life! sadly, we have a houseful now. but may your trolley be the answer!