We live in a society that loves to measure everything, it seems that very little is immune from targets these days. This is one of the reasons that we have chosen not to use the education system to provide our children's education. Paradoxically by not measuring all your child's achievements against a set of targets it can mean that they often happen without you really noticing. You suddenly realise that they can read a sentence when they couldn't last week or they can add up numbers in their head or hop on one foot. Last week we had two huge achievements in our house ones which I want to shout from the rooftops as they have felt so important and amazing to us as a family.
We love to canoe as a family. We have taken the children with us from a very young age, in both cases before they could walk. We have always ensured that we are on calm water where the likelihood of capsizing (the canoe tipping over) is minimal, it has yet to happen and the canoe has often been heavily laden. As the children grow older we would like to spread our wings and attempt trips on more challenging water, but to do this the children need to be very water confident and be able to swim. We have a good network of state run swimming pools in our country which sadly have a rule about the number of children that an adult can take swimming at a time. This is a recent rule and I have yet to establish why it has come about. Suffice to say if your child is under 4 then it must be 1:1 and if between 4 and 7, 1:2 adult/child. I took my eldest swimming every week until the arrival of my youngest then it became much more erratic. I was reliant on my husband being around or a friend who had 'capacity' to take responsibility for another child, this did not happen that often. My eldest is eight now but can barely swim and what that means is that the age 4 to 7 ratio still applies! We tried swimming lessons but they were not suited to him at all, he finds being in a group of strangers so stressful that he could not engage in the lesson. So at the end of last year we started to go swimming once a week as a family to try to improve on the water confidence and swimming skills, until last week progress was slow. My eldest simply did not want to put his face, let alone head anywhere near the water. Then last week we went to a different pool, in the pool were some dive sticks which he really wanted to play with. He got into the pool not wanting to put his head in the water and only being able to swim with a float held in two hands and got out being able to swim under water and collect several dive sticks at once, all in the space of an hour!
On Saturday we went to a birthday party, this is one of eldest's least favourite activities. I have learnt from past mistakes and he was a lot happier this time than last. In the room where the games where being played was a box set of Roald Dahl books. When he asked me what he could do I got them off the shelf and asked if he wanted to look at any of these books. Usually when I suggest a book to read he rejects it straight away and he has read very few fiction books since learning to read, his favourite being fact books which he read for hours at a time. I was most surprised when he sat down and read not one but two books during the party, The Twits and Fantastic Mr Fox. Since then he has read The BFG and is halfway through James and the Giant Peach.
It has been quite a week!