How wonderful it is to be home-schooling! Having set and agreed our timetable less than a fortnight ago, theboy has already scuppered it thanks to a subversive manoeuvre from his grand-mere. She has bought me a very funny book called
1000 Years of Annoying the French which theboy has been enjoying immensely for the last couple of weeks. My evenings have been punctuated by the occasional squeal of delight, gulp of disgust, or query on the meaning of a word (in particular, make sure you strike out section on Edward VII with a black marker if you don’t feel confident about giving your offspring an explanation of sex as a recreational sport).
An enormous “thank you” has to go to the BBC and Prof. Robert Winston, whose DVD “The Human Body” has saved me quite a lot of potentially over-the-top explanations – and has made it so much easier to deal with the occasional detailed enquiry tactfully!
Of course, it helps that he’s young enough to be easily diverted to weapons, warfare, puzzles and games. Anyway…the scuppering part is that he’s developed a taste for all things Anglo-Saxon. I’d like to say his French teacher would be mortified, but I don’t think she’s that shallow😉
To make the most of this sudden change of tack, today we went to a lovely place nearby called the Herb Farm – I’ve been a regular visitor since 2003 – for an out-of-season romp through the Anglo-Saxon sea creature maze. The hedge-trimming had just started, and most of the hedge was still some 6 feet high, so there was plenty of Indiana Jones-style slashing and whipping going on as theboy battled enormous sea snakes and boy- woman- and child- eating drakes. (thegirl was squealing with delight at her revered older brother’s war dances and accompanying sound effects.)
Once home, we followed this up with the Ashmolean’s Anglo-Saxon Discovery. A fantastic resource, offering an easily-digestible tour of early Anglo-Saxon life; if it was a film it would be rated U. By the way, their link to the game of Nine Men’s Morris doesn’t work, it’s moved here. Anyway, I thought that was enough theory prep for tomorrow’s round of the Ashmolean and perhaps also Pitt Rivers. (The latter being another contribution to his education from grand-mere who – correctly – surmised that theboy would very much enjoy the Upper Gallery).
I have to say, it’s an interesting experience being corrected/tutored/lectured by a nine year old. He spent some time explaining the finer points of a variety of axes (I erroneously had a bearded axe down as a double headed axe with a sort of spike on top). This was followed up by an utterly exhausting session of weapon-themed riddle-making. Here’s a sample:
Q. I am slender but deadly…what am I?
A. A rapier.
Q. I am big, weighty, and deadly… what am I?
A. A broadsword.
…you probably get the idea. Although, more impressively, he correctly answered a whole load of trick questions afterwards (when did the Anglo-Saxons turn up, who recorded their arrival, how do we know if they were mostly left or right handed… it’s true – they wore their scabbards mostly on the left, meaning that most of them were right handed).