Today I spent the afternoon doing homework. Not mine you understand. I don't have homework. Or rather, I do. All of my work is at home - whether it's running my business or running the house. But none of it is the type I have to get marked by a teacher. Thank God, I'd certainly fail on the housework front.
No, today I helped son 1 with a homework assisgnment. We had to turn a shoe box into a scene on which he could tell a story. It could be anything he liked. He was all for creating a football stadium filled with millions of tiny people. My arts and crafts skills are about as lacking as my housework abilities, so I talked him out of that.
In the end we stuck with what we (me) knew: Africa. We managed to transform a R.M. Williams shoe box into the Serengeti, complete with mountain range, setting sun, jungle, water hole (with real rocks), a river, a waterfall, trees, bushveldt, logs, animals and an alien (a gogo). This all sounds very impressive, but really we just stuck some dead shrubbery from the garden on some cardboard that we'd coloured with crayons. And the animals were small plastic ones we had loitering in the toy cupboard after last year's safari birthday for son2. The gogo was a hangover from that particular school craze.
Rather proud of our efforts (I speak in plural because while I tried desperately hard to restrain myself and get him to do it, I knew that the plains of Africa would have high rise buildings on them sooner than the shoebox would be complete if I didn't take an active role), we moved onto the story.
I suggested that he tell me what he wanted the story to be about, and I would be his PA, typing it up as he spoke it out loud. This too was a challenge. You really, really have to hold yourself back and not make suggestions. You have to just let them write their story as they want it to be. Which is why his story goes like this:
Alien in Africa
Once upon a time in Africa, the animals were drinking at the water hole. The lions were stalking the zebras and the giraffe was nibbling on trees. Suddenly, a big bang of fire fell down into the river. Out popped a green horrible looking alien.
The animals lined up (except the zebras and the giraffe) in a big line to fight the alien. But the alien does not get destroyed until the last cheetah. All of the animals hide from the alien (who goes invisible).
It needs work, but I feel JK Rowling needs to watch out.