It’s Wednesday morning and time for lessons with the (Not So Very Little) Welsh Boys via FaceTime. I set myself up on the breakfast bar in the kitchen, propping the iPad up against the coffee percolator and plugging
my aged laptop into the power point hidden behind the microwave. I am just trying to persuade my laptop to boot up when Morgan appears on the IPad screen....
first task is to write a mini saga of exactly fifty words. Not a word more, not a word less. Mini sagas, in case you didn’t know (I didn’t, for one) were invented in the 1982 when the Sunday Telegraph ran a competition for the best mini sagas.
I do like it when the Daily Blog comes over all educational, don’t you? Or, possibly, not.
My grandson is keen to write a mini saga featuring Harry Potter.
I tell him that I will try to write down the words as he speaks them, so that we can add them up as we go along to make sure he has a beginning, a middle and an end and doesn’t exceed the fifty word limit. This sounds like a good idea except for the
fact that I am a little bit hazy on All Things Harry Potter. Morgan chides me, sternly, that I should watch more Harry Potter films. To divert attention from my own Potteresque Deficiencies, I tell him about my 82 year old brother who has just been introduced
to the Harry Potter books and loves them. Morgan accepts this as being further proof of my own failures on the Hogwarts Front. I make a mental note that, once this lesson is over, I need to refresh my knowledge of (i) the Whomping Willow; and (ii) scabbers.
This should provide me with a better understanding of Morgan’s completed mini saga. I am a little worried that, while it certainly has a beginning (15 words) and a middle (25 words) the ending doesn’t sound like, well, an end to me. Morgan explains,
with a long-suffering shrug, that it is a “cliff-hanger”...
Despite my poor showing as Personal Tutor, Morgan is keen to press on with a lesson about
the Stone Age, followed by another about plant life. My laptop is trying to keep up but is feeling the strain. All the lessons on BBC Bitesize include two or three videos illustrating the subject matter. The idea is that Morgan and I should watch each video
together, each on our own device. Which would be fine were our devices as in tune with each other as Morgan and I. For every video, Morgan gives me a countdown: “3, 2, 1,” he announces before pressing the button to start the latest film. I stab
at the arrow on my screen but it takes several attempts before the video starts to play. Morgan is well into the Ice Age before I’ve even ventured into the Stone Age. You could say that our lessons are somewhat uncoordinated. Though, it goes without
saying, great fun...
At the end of our third lesson, we high five and clap each other on our stalwart efforts before we both sign off. I tell myself that at least
I have hopefully given Morgan’s dad a bit of a breather from home-schooling his youngest son. It seems likely that I have learnt more than Morgan but, as a Wise Person once said, the older you get, the more you realise how much you still have to learn.
Mr B is slumbering peacefully in his armchair so I decide to prove to myself that my hour and a half has not been in vain by writing my own fifty word mini saga. Here goes:
Morgan and Nanna were working on BBC Bitesize daily lessons.
Morgan was whizzing through the videos showing what life was like in the Stone Age. Nanna, meanwhile, was having trouble just getting her laptop working. Morgan couldn’t understand what the problem was:
“We’re not living in the Stone Age, Nanna...”
I am awarding myself 6 / 10...