Monday, May 02, 2011

Some random food thoughts

Personally, I tend to eat in blocks. So for months and months, I'll have exactly the same breakfast every day and then, suddenly, I shift to something else. Or I'll eat exactly the same lunch every day for a week, and then shift.

There's a lot to be said for eating what we feel like eating (isn't that what you do? It's what I do) and learning to listen to what our bodies are suggesting we eat. A child keen to eat sausages may be in need of a protein fix, not the response that "lunch today is pasta and tomato sauce".

Also - we have completely de-coupled puddings from mealtimes in my house. At some times of day, everyone is tucking into bananas or apples; at other times of day we are mainlining sausages or beefburgers or roast chicken. Sometimes it's a vegetable meal, with a plate of peas or sweetcorn or lots of carrots or whatever. Or sometimes it is a whole bowl of pasta or rice or oven chips, or a mound of bread and butter. We eat very simply - a roast chicken, with optional gravy for anyone who wants it and a veg on the side might well translate either into just chicken or just veg for somebody. We eat a lot of eggs (takes only moments to fry one up), smoked salmon (even if it's in the freezer it takes no time to defrost enough to eat), cheese...

I am a big fan of having lots of food types available that will be attractive to the intended clientele, and am also NOT a fan of big set piece cookery when noone but me actually wants to eat the results. (My mother tends to do the set piece cookery and fill my freezer with individual portions for me when she visits, which is glorious - it means I get whatever sophisticated stews she's been making, without anyone else having it imposed on them, and with almost no effort on my part)

Worth thinking in terms of your children having a balanced diet over a week or a month, but certainly not within every single day.

the result of this sort of free-for-all fooding is NOT that I am cooking multiple different meals all the time. I cook what I want to eat, and other people are very welcome to join in. If they don't want to join in, I have lots of good and nutritious food that takes little or no preparation. (anyone can have a carrot at any point, or a bowl of grated cheese, yk?)

the result of this sort of lifestyle is NOT that no-one eats meals, or is capable of sitting down for a meal. Those who are capable of social meal times tend to join in with social mealtimes. Those who are not at this point in their life, for whatever reasons, would just be suffering hellishly if mealtimes were imposed on them every day. Time enough to learn about the value of a fixed social mealtime when that becomes a necessary part of their social repertoire.

the result of this sort of free-for-all is NOT that my children eat nothing but chips and icecream. They are perfectly capable of looking at the chocolate we just bought, and tucking into a satsuma instead. They get really good at listening to their bodies and following their nutritional needs which, after all, is what we are hoping our offspring will get good at by the time they are leaving home. If you are a talky talky sort of house you can talk about how eating too much chocolate makes you feel sick. If not, then it only takes a day or two of eating nothing but chocolate buttons for a child to work out what's happening. Blech. (btdt)

Monday, January 17, 2011

"My Child Just Wants to Play Little Blue Planet All Day Long And It Is Driving Me Crazy"

...said the home educating lady on the messageboard.

I'd be going in two directions

1. Have some absolutely FAB activities on offer. Swimming, season ticket at local petting farm, season ticket at local soft play, all that stuff that other people do at the weekends. Offer something FAB every single morning, but not even really as an offer, but matter of fact. "we have to eat breakfast, put on our shoes, and then go to THE MOON!!!!" (or whatever slightly less amazing activity you have on offer).

That is your learning time. None of it is likely to happen through writing or reading, but your child will be out there, in the community, interacting with a really exciting environment and (with luck) with various people in that environment. It's quite likely that she will love doing the same thing day after day for quite a long while, so be ready to go with that. I do know a family who went to one local attraction every single day for 3 months. They certainly got their money's worth out of the season ticket that year...

2. When you get home, it's Little Big Planet time. Give her some time alone, and some time where you are watching with her. If she's receptive, it's an opportunity for conversation, for story telling. If she likes, she could freeze the screen and you sellotape a piece of paper over the screen and trace through the picture for her to colour in. Is there any way of having subtitles on while she is playing? And let the Little Big Planet obsession run its course. In a few months, she'll be ready to move on - perhaps to another computer game, or perhaps to something else entirely.

Are there Little Big Planet videos on Youtube (for lots of games people put them playing the game up as a video), or are there spin off cartoons or comics or anything? Just go with it, wholeheartedly

If she is telling you a long boring narrative about Little Big Planet, write it down in clear handwriting and then when she pauses, READ IT BACK TO HER. that is such a good game!