Posts Tagged ‘books’

Travel man

Robin

Apart from school and football, Robin doesn’t go out much. ‘Why,’ he asks me, ‘would he want to hang around town centres?’ which is what he believes his peers do. But Robin is always talking about going places. He’ll be visiting four new countries in the next few months, which he finds highly satisfying. Although he stays at home a lot, he’s widening his frontiers, watching videos of travel shows, working out where he would like to go, learning about other countries.

Gabe

Gabe’s hoovering up of knowledge has found a new focus: literature. He is becoming widely read, picking books from the canon or quizzing L and me on what he should pick up next. Typically, he is forthright in his assessment of whatever he has read: Pride and Prejudice – very good; The Leopard – boring; and he’ll support those views with a well argued case. Each book read and each book planned to be read is logged on the Good Reads app.

Eliza

Eliza challenged herself to a phone de-tox. For two whole days she claimed to use it just for listening to music on her walk to and from school. She was pleased that she had completed her period of self-denial, but found it inconvenient as she missed important communications from her friends. She reverted straight back to the phone being her constant, closest companion, having to be reminded to put it away at meal-time.

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GCSE options

Gabe

For weeks since the announcement of the GCSE options Gabe has pondered his selection and sought advice and a sounding board. The scope for choice was limited but Gabe did seem to consider every permutation. He quickly set himself against triple science, but there were voices at school telling him that a bright lad should do this, so he wavered. Music and history were two choices he stuck to throughout. A second modern language could only be taken outside of school hours. This Gabe also committed to – far more strongly than the school, who would review depending on take up. The mandatory technology had to be cookery as all the rest were too boring. The final choice oscillated between RE and Business Studies and sometimes triple science. 

We talked about finding an easy subject to counterbalance the work of an extra language. PE suddenly entered the picture. But what if the school won’t offer the second language, challenged L – that’s a lot of non-academic subjects. And so, with school’s approval we submitted alternate options, depending on the second language: PE with it; Business Studies without. 

Eliza

Eliza has up to seven books on the go at a time. One she reads on her kindle, another she reads herself at home (usually an old favourite), one she reads with L, one she reads with me. One or maybe two for different purposes at school and a seventh somewhere in the mix. 

Robin

Robin is a noisy blighter. From being summoned to bath until being coaxed into bed, he sings, squawks, repeats catch phrases in silly voices – all to himself unless he can find a companion. I wonder if the relative quietness of the rest of us oppresses him?

(W)rapping paper

Eliza and Robin

Walking in the door this evening, Eliza and Robin ran to meet me, squawking at me to listen to them. Each had written a rap, which they read with the exaggerated diction of that idiom. Robin went on to write a second rap, which he rolled and sealed (with sellotape), to make a scroll. It was about how great his Mummy is and is to be give to her tomorrow as a birthday present.

And L’s birthday is the unlikely cause of this outbreak of urban expression. Eliza explained that the raps came from her telling Robin that they needed to wrap L’s presents. And with pleasing closure, one of Robin’s raps has been wrapped as a present for L.

Gabe

Gabe reads books by the series and then takes long breaks from novel reading denying there can be anything else he would want to read. Since Christmas, he has completed the Michael Hardcastle books about junior football talent Mark Fox. He is now nearly through the Narnia series, held up by his having borrowed the final book from the library but not the penultimate volume. He first tasted CS Lewis’ work five years ago, when a condensed version of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe came with a cereal packet. It made an impression on him and so he was happy to launch into the series, which he has assessed to be good, but uneven, with Voyage of the Dawntreader the least interesting.

Stream of Robin-ness

Robin

Robin writes. He writes on paper or on a phone. He writes stories, but most often he writes about football or our family. He writes without hesitation; without fear of making a mistake or a misspelling. His letters are clear with exaggerated loops. He writes that “Mummy wants lots of hugs and cises” and “Daddy is rearly cool”.

Gabe

My recollection of a series of football stories, name and author forgotten, that so engrossed me as a child that I read them over and over again prompted me to research. Michael Hardcastle’s Mark Fox books seemed the only candidate. I ordered First Goal and my research was rewarded. I offered it to Gabe who was non-commital. I began reading it to Robin, but I could see he was finding it difficult to follow.

When Gabe next complained of having nothing to read I suggested he try the book, acknowledging he would find it old-fashioned. He finished it in one night, before I could read any of it with him, as I had hoped to do. He has asked for the others in the series, which are on order.

Eliza

Eliza stood up in the bath and struck a pose, “like those ladies in the pictures”. “Which pictures?” I enquired, wondering what this may reveal. “You know, the ones in churches.”