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Finished One Book and Started Another · Monday December 4, 2006 by Abbie

We finished Mystery Manor this morning. As usual the children let their imaginations run wild and got the wrong end of the stick. Actually, that is a sentence with not just one but two metaphors, something that I have to be careful will, as Ram has a tendency to take everything literally. It is something that I have worked on with him, by reading books about them to him and discussing them as well. I knew I had made a break through the day I said something and he responded with silence for a minute, and then said in a small voice, ‘That is one of those phrases where you don’t mean what you say, isn’t it?’

Anyway, back to the book. The children finally found the true about what had been going on, but there was just one thing that puzzled Oliver, the eldest. He still didn’t understand why Mr Hugh had attacked Bill while he was wearing the red school tie. He knew at the time that it was something to do with communism, but really didn’t understand it.

M.E. Atkinson often uses the lack of knowledge in her characters to inform children about current affairs, and communism was a current affair in 1937. So over the last two pages of the book Oliver explores communism, which allowed us to discuss it, and the changes in the world political situation since then. The dxh arrived then too, and joined in the discussion. Ram noted that back then the colour red represented communism, but now it is the colour of the Labour party! It was an interesting conversation.

Before we started reading in bed tonight we did some spelling. Ram likes to do spelling aloud, but has to be encouraged to do it. I don’t mind encouraging him as I know that he has a great feeling of satisfaction when he gets words right. I don’t let him study them before hand, he has to work it out. I may remind him of a spelling rule or give him clues, but we do it more for him to learn about spelling than for him to pass or fail a test. This time I started making up silly sentences for the words, and not to be outdone he made even longer and sillier ones, all to do with Lego Bionicle of course! After all, they do come to bed with us!

Then when we started the next book by Atkinson. This one is called Chimney Cottage. The first few chapters seem to be about some other children that are in some of her other books, one of whom had polio and was in callipers. Ram wanted to know why she couldn’t walk very well. As we had already put the house to bed as it were, I didn’t fancy getting up and going downstairs to find a book that might have something about polio. Luckily, we have a lovely old glass fronted bookcase in the bedroom that belonged by Ram’s great-grandfather. As we do most of our reading in the bedroom and very little horse play, it seemed to be the safest place to put it!

This bookcase contains some of his books too, including a set of encyclopaedia, so I hopped out of bed and found the relevant book and we read up on polio. And of course that entry lead us to a couple more entries! I love it when we get sidetracked. We seem to learn so much more!

We do seem to do a lot of our learning in bed these days!

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