This post is from 2012. It has been sitting in my drafts folder for four years and has now ventured out into the world. Please join me for a bit of time travel!
Over the Easter vacation I spent several days ferreting out new resources for my english tutoring class. We had got into a bit of a rut with the things we were doing, and I know I was bored – I expect my student was too. By coincidence I had recently discovered a goldmine of home education blogs with lots and lots of links to free downloadable worksheets and inspiration for lesson plans.
One of the things I came up with was an adapted board game for speaking practice. Right from the start of our lessons back in October we have been playing a modified, very simplified version of Just a Minute – the main and only rule being “try not to say ummm or ermmm too much”. In the early days I was lucky if I could coax a single sentence out of him, and thinking of topics was getting tricky too.
The board game is a simple roll-the-dice progression game with a speaking prompt on each square. We both place a counter on the start square, roll either one or two dice (depending how quickly we want to get through the board – it’s long!) and then take it in turns to talk for one minute on whatever the square prompts us. I hope that my minutes provide good modelling and I try to keep them entertaining so that he actually listens rather than spends his sixty seconds’ break counting what he needs to roll to land on an empty miss a go square.
One of the topics my student landed on was “where will you be in ten years?”. His answer was interesting and enlightening, and an opportunity for some motivation and encouragement for him to follow his ambition to be a car designer, but the question got me thinking too.
In ten years I will be (gasp!) thirty one. For my entire life, I have comfortably assumed that by the age of thirty one I would be married with a home and children. And maybe a dog. Probably two dogs. But as I’ve got older, and crept slowly closer to the vague, formless “mid-twenties” life marker at which I presumed these things would materialise, I’ve come to realise that the timeline of my life is not a foregone conclusion. Who can say whether I will be married in two years, ten, forty or none? Beyond being pleasant and sociable there is little I can do to hasten that event along on my own.
The one thing that I do pray is a given, however, is a kitchen of my own. Whether that be in a rented house or a mortgaged house or somehow an out-right owned house (ha!) I don’t really mind, but for some reason that one essential room has become the epitome of my ambitions.
Because I am a very sad person with no hobbies and few friends, I have planned out my dream kitchen to the last detail. It will be fitted, with a long work surface housing a large farmhouse-style sink, enough space for my KitchenAid and slow cooker to sit out, a fancy-schmancy microwave with convection oven such as is currently keeping my brother alive, a big oven and hob (possibly a range), a butchers block with lots of storage space, a scrubbed wooden table, shelves for my ridiculous recipe book collection, et cetera et cetera.
Ten years may be slightly ambitious for such an elaborate personalised specification, but I’m hoping for the minimum – a kitchen with a working oven, a kitchen which is used by only me or at least only me and my family. Certainly not by two dozen students with an inability to wipe up spillages and a tendency to cook foul-smelling things such as garlic-fried tinned pork belly.