Monday, 18 January 2010

Secretly, I'm enjoying it

Hearing the plea of strangers, Grit drops to the floor and crawls under her desk.

She emerges battered and bruised, forty minutes later, crawling her way past the old hobo, three dead mice and the bandaged remains of a mummified cat. But she is grasping, in her bloodied hand, a torn scrapbook from July 2005.

I have mined a gift of pure gold, and I give it with heart.

Because this big, old, bound book, all scribbled over and covered in dust, contains another of Grit's fantastic seven day educational plans! Yes! I got you reading this far! For that!

But wait, because this fantastic plan also tells you why you should have kids.

Kids are not to eat. They are not to throw out of windows. They are not to sell to passing vagrants for £3.50. No. You can have FUN with kids. And not in weirdy mindbusting spookypervy ways, like home educators are so often accused of. No. Normal, shove-a-pigeon-in-your-ice-box ways that are the stuff of the home educating day.

Read on, committed reader, and find out how to survive seven days with any early-learner troll and lots of WATER.

This is especially for Kelly. And because, some days living with trolls, I know that Monday turns up just when you thought it was Thursday.

Day 1: Provide everyone you meet with an old margarine tub.
Tell them to go fill it with interesting stuff. Glitter. Beads. Buttons. Plastic shapes.

If Squirrel brings you a dead pigeon on the end of a spade, scream, run off, and don't come out of the bathroom till Dig has conducted the funeral.

When the interesting assortment is collected, and you have said OK, you can leave the feathers in just this time, then cover it with lovely coloured water, like dilute blue paint, and stuff it in your freezer. When it's frozen, take it out, put another layer of interesting stuff, and no pigeons or rats or anything like that, and cover it with more water. Let's choose red this time. Like blood. Stuff it back in the freezer.

Keep this going all day. By tea-time you'll be fed up with mixing paint and opening and closing the freezer door every five minutes, but on the plus side, tomorrow you get to watch while the ICE SCULPTURES melt in beautiful sparkling colours all over the office table. Gorgeous. You can foolishly drone on and on about the water cycle if you want. Everyone else, captivated by sparkle, will want to talk the poetry of colour.

Day 2: Eat the ice.
OK, You've all done this, I know, so I'm teaching grandma how to suck eggs. Make fruit juice ice cubes or ice cubes with fruit inside. Make vodka ones for yourself. When it comes time to eat the ice, don't mix everything up.

Put a huge pan of water to boil and fill the room with steam while you crunch ice cubes for sensory impact. While your audience is wondering why the room is full of fog or busy spitting out grape pips, you can talk about temperature, solids, liquids, water vapour, condensation, glaciers, freezing points, why vodka tastes crap anyway, all until the pan burns.

Day 3: Get scientific and make a water clock.
We had a go at this with some polystyrene cups nailed to a plank of wood. Don't do that. Rather, don't do that next to your Dualit toaster. Polystyrene tears off the nails with the weight of the water and tips into your toaster. Anyway, look at it over here. I'm not a scientist. But, if you are a smug bastard, you can do this project in Ancient Greek.

Day 4: More science.
Because the only thing that happened yesterday was that you flooded the kitchen and electrocuted yourself with a Dualit, try this experiment instead.

Fill a deep white dish with hot water from the kettle. Pour coloured cold water slowly into it. The cold water clearly sinks to the bottom of the dish! How amazing is that? Well, it is if you are aged five.

If you are aged thirty-five, you can drone on about density and molecules, and pressure, and anything else you can think of until the fruity ice cubes come out again.

Or you could try a variation of this and draw the attentions of the Social Services. Fill a plastic glove with water and freeze it. When frozen, peel back the glove and you have a perfect severed hand. OK, I accept colouring it green wasn't such a great idea when Shark spent the next week relating how mama stores cut off hands in her freezer.

And placing one at the bottom of her lovely bath wasn't such a great idea, either.

Day 5: Oil and water.
Why don't oil and water mix? Does any oil mix with water? What's an emulsion? How do I wipe it off the floor? Why do you keep walking over it when you know you'll fall over? Why didn't I buy a slippery vat of value liquid which passes as cooking oil for 6p a litre at Tesco instead of the extra virgin hand picked by virgins? You see, I bet you're grateful for all this weekly planning ahead now, aren't you?

Day 6: Storytime.
Oh you don't need me for this one. Read some poems and stories and make some up. Like grandma is afraid of water and rides on the back of a hippo to cross the river down to the Co-op. Everyone knows that is true.

Day 7: Water in a drain near you.
And time to get into those fields, if you haven't already. Rain is good. Dew is excellent. Ditches, I've known a few. Rivers, drains, the guttering, the water butt. I bet the sewage farm will take your home ed group. They took ours. Make a long list of as many water related activities, containers, properties, hazards, employments, uses, storage devices, anything as you can. You'll have enough to last all year. Like you need telling from me.

But if you find yourself home educating and you wonder WTF to do today with small people before they trash the entire house, then I hope these activities help you trash the house first, and I bet that's much more fun when you have small people to help.


Maire said...

Grit you have obviously been inspired for a long time, this post (very momentarily) makes me wish I still had a five year old.

little said...



This is *so* much better than the 'lovely' teachers books that a dearrelative thinks that we want for christmas. I hope they came from Waterstones; who might be persuaded to swap them if she's only kept the receipt, but knowing her they will have been bought in Borders.

(not that we've visited to pick them up just yet.....)

little said...

Sorry - meant to add...

Are you planning to publish this tome?

MadameSmokinGun said...

Little Rock Godling likes to freeze dinosaurs in various wobbly pots in the freezer - then the next day he excavates them with dangerous implements and declares he's discovered a new species.

What's another puddle on the floor in my hovel? The boy's a genius........

sharon said...

We used to have a lot of fun playing 'what will float and what will sink? and we did do the fruit in ice cubes thing but that was more a 'get them to eat' exercise. So much early education is just plain fun when there is time and space to explore the variables.

kellyi said...

You are my HERO!!!

This is seriously great, I have bookmarked it under "weekly plan after a heavy weekend"


Heather said...

this really does sound like so much fun! What a fabulous, inspiring post. Am now off to get some vodka, ahem, I mean water to freeze

bekimarie said...

It looks like i'm going to have some fun with my 2 year old today or perhaps i'll just have some fun ;)

Beki xxx

Minnie said...

What's vodka? lol

globeonmytable said...

Wonderful, as soon as I got to the bit about the gloves I sped across the kitchen and sorted out 2 gloves. One is plain water and the other is dyed red. Can't wait to wake my 2 up with them tomorrow morning! The freezer looks like I have just murdered someone.

Grit said...

hello people, i feel overcome and happy and humble all at once to think these ideas might provide some new twists and turns in the home educating day.

but you realise that i need only a small amount of encouragement and validation to become pathetic, and innudate you with more of this stuff.

and it's not linked to national curriculum or anything! how rebellious are we, eh?!

Ellie's Treasures said...

Grit, you always put a smile on my face - just love to read your blog entries so I've awarded you the Sunshine Award! You can pick it up on my blog here:


Grit said...

thank you elaine! i have a bad record of actually diong the cutting and pasting thing. but i love an awards excuse to wear a posh frock and stand around and blub for half an hour thanking my hair stylist. x