Monday, 2 April 2012

I've been busy....

'Wolf Boy'

watercolour painting - original is approx A4 size.
prints available in my Etsy shop HERE

I've been busy with lots of things lately, but mainly with my smallest child, the wolf boy. Back in November, I took the decision to home school him one day a week. He's at a great school, but in a huge class, and like many small boys, has a lot of excess energy, and has trouble focusing for very long at a time. In a class full of small boys with the same issue, he had got himself to a point where he was constantly in trouble, so after thinking long and hard about it, we decided that he needed some individual attention, which he also struggles to get at home, being one of three. The school were very positive about it, and so he now stays at home one day a week, and we do things together.

To begin with, I was very hung up on making sure he kept up with some school work - he is in top sets, and I didn't want him slipping behind. However, as time passed, and I realised the changes that have come about due to this day we spend together, I have lightened up a lot! We don't need to sit down and do maths, or do some extra work on his school topic. We just need to do things together. By feeling that he has this time where all the attention is on him, his behaviour has changed dramatically. He is calmer, more able to focus, and has almost stopped clowning around in class and distracting everybody by making them laugh. The school has made brilliant changes for him too, and now he has his own sketchbook, and when he has finished his work he is allowed to go to the creative corner and draw, so now his work gets done, rather than his work books being filled with drawings and cartoons, but no work!

All in all, it has been a very positive thing for us all. Best of all, once I got over my own worries about 'teaching' him, we realised that he could learn just as much by doing the things we both enjoy! So now we are gardening one day a week, keeping a seed diary, and photographic record. he makes fairy gardens, and is amazed by the beauty and botanical intricacies of plants. We paint and draw, and we go out and walk the dogs. This child is half dog anyway - Daisy considers him her best friend, and the boy and his wolf are inseparable. 
 

18 comments:

Freyalyn said...

What a lovely post - I'm so glad that the school is so amenable to your imaginative solution, and that you have the time and imagination to make it happen. I shall have to treat myself to one of these prints when I have some Paypal funds to spare. Thanks for sharing.

Yarrow said...

This is such a beautiful painting. What a great solution for your boy :D I'm glad it's working out, he's very lucky :D

Swan Artworks said...

That sounds a wonderful arrangement, its good that your school has been so accomodating and great that its working out so well for your boy!
I love the painting, beautiful...

A mermaid in the attic said...

How wonderful for you both to discover all this, together. And what a great school to accept your lad being home one day a week. I can't see my local school being interested in that, and yet I feel my oldest especially would benefit from something similar. She too is in a huge class, her problem being she is too shy and embarrassed to let the teacher know she hasn't understood something (usually maths), and he just hasn't the time to give individual students much attention anyway. A beautiful painting too. Wolves seem to keep popping up everywhere I look! I think it must mean something important in the general psyche.

Kath said...

that painting is just delightful. I love it that you spend this special time with your son.

Gail H. Ragsdale said...

I don't think the schools on this side of the pond would be that progressive. Wonderful solution, brilliant that you recognized the problem. So many parents today are so self-absorbed in "other things" and the children are an afterthought.

Valerianna said...

What a wonderful, wonderful story! Quite daring of you to let go and learn the old fashioned way! I wish there were more of that. I love that the school was open to making changes, too. I hope that with such a great example, more folks might think creatively about problem solving.

phaedra96 said...

I commend you and his school for meeting that need for him! I wish our schools could be that open-minded but they treat parents like total morons and could not possibly know what is best for their child.

rachel said...

Good to see you are on a similar journey with the one day home schooling! It feels so right to have time to grow and be creative, but it was a bit nerve racking at first.It took me ages to get over the feeling that I was skiving off school never mind my daughter! We are lucky indeed to have such an understanding school and teacher.Lovely wolf boy.xx

Danielle Barlow said...

Freyalyn - I'll add the print to the swap list. I have been dreaming of an elegant shawl/ capelet thing with a hood......

We are very lucky that the school thinks so progressively about this partial home schooling. There are several families doing it, and we are aware that it is a real privilege, and I am very conscious of not letting our decision make extra demands on his lovely teachers.

I know what you mean Rachel - To begin with I was waiting for someone to stop me in the street and ask why he wasn't at school! Glad it is working for you too :)

Charlotte said...

You are so lucky to have such a progressive and imaginative school. Although we do our best (I teach and my kids are at a good primary) here in Nottingham parents are regularly threatened if their children miss school.

Most children find the pressure of school difficult and my boy is ASD and in a boy-heavy class. He has benefited from two amazing teachers and an outstanding TA. But I often wish I could spend more time with him and his brother.

Don't worry about the academia, if he is loving the process of discovery, no matter what it is about, the academic comes almost as a by product.

All power to you and I hope you get to continue this into his later school years.

Virginia said...

Danielle, I'm so glad all is well - I follow your blog, but I've never been able to leave you a message... it has always rejected my password! I hope I've sorted it this time as I wanted to say how much I appreciate sharing your journey with horses and children and life's ups and downs.

Thank you, and good luck with your home schooling.

Julia Guthrie said...

If only all schools & parents could work together like this, & if only all parents could take a leaf out of your book Danielle. The results speak for themselves don't they!!
Well done...both of you :)

And I love this painting :) xxx

Purpletreebird said...

Your paintings are so light and fresh, I love the way you've drawn the face, fantastic work!
Your home schooling sounds a lovely special time for you both. From a mother's point of view I've seen my own children grow to adulthood so quickly and I wish sometimes I could go back and spend more individual time, with the middle ones in particular. Your son's growing up a lovely boy. :)
Jess xx

Velma said...

this is an excellent solution to your son's issue. how special for you both.

Heidi said...

Beautiful drawing and clearly together they are Wolfboy or is it Boywolf!?

Such a positive story. Funny, too, what you thought might be difficult or tricky turned out to be a more natural way of living with your son. I was lately reading another lady's blog about raising her two sons in a similar manner...let me see if I can find the link...here it is... http://ahandmadelife.blogspot.ca/

Monique @ Magpie Hollow said...

What a beautiful painting.
I just found your blog through another blog and think your artwork is great.
Have a wonderful day.

Blackfeatherfarm said...

Wonderful in every way.....

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