Oh look, it’s July already! I’ve turned 43 since the last update and we’ve waved our American home ed friends goodbye as their time here is now up. It was such a pleasure to have them around the past year and know they will be missed by many from our group.
Look at my gorgeous birthday gift from a super creative home ed Mum friend. It was crocheted on the beach at Southsea on the very day. The kids made cards and we ate out for dinner – can’t grumble.
And look at this. Finally my nan’s hand stitched blanket has been completed by another talented home ed mum friend. It was started probably 40 years ago by my two nans but needed edging and backing. There was still a lot of work so delighted it’s finished. We did a trade, well Twin Dad did – he cleared, sorted and dug their garden. Swapping skills!
Since returning from our last adventure, are we doing enough has been on my mind? By that I mean are we providing enough for our children within our home educating lifestyle? I guess in earlier days this would translate to more like home educator wobbles but this far down the line it’s not really a wobble and it’s certainly not a panic but more of a genuine observation and realisation that dedicated time to the children is less due the extra work hours required by myself and Twin Dad at the moment.
Today at the dentist both the student dentist and the tutor commented on how polite and well mannered L (13) was. They also said he was one of the most chatty and communicative teens they had come across which clearly didn’t tie in with the fears that home educated children would miss out on learning social skills in school. Meanwhile, A and W (8) were
negotiating quietly squabbling over who was going to sit in the spinning wheeled chair but the dentist didn’t seem to notice too much. Actually, it wasn’t that bad they took turns without too much trouble. Guess we’re doing something right.
L also had a Podiatrist appointment and has been signed off. With the brace out, the feet signed off for now and the teeth pretty much sorted the only thing left to sort right now for L is a haircut – his request not mine. Who would have thought the day would come whereby L actually wanted to get a haircut?
Still, these past couple of weeks have felt very sketchy indeed. Like I said work has taken focus out of necessity and Twin Dad has been away for 4 days/nights which always throws a spanner in the works. The children have definitely been left to their own devices more than ever but the fact of the matter is they are capable of being so. We don’t get the *I’m bored* and they don’t need directing in everything they do. They do know how to fill their time and they are in control of how they do that. These are my observations. Maybe this is a result of un-schooling, I don’t know but it is what it is. They’re definitely not keen when I suggest we sit down to practice writing but when things happen organically there is no stopping them. For example, when they feel inspired and come up with their own plan to create a story or items for a game, they write and draw relentlessly asking how to spell whatever words they need as they go along.
A quick trip to the car boot gave us some cake stand and box craft kits for the grand price of 80p per kit. I bought them thinking they might not be that good but knowing the girls would still like them. I thought it might keep them busy for half an hour whilst I was out at a meeting. According to Twin Dad, it kept them busy all afternoon as they coloured and decorated and planned a Cake Stall business. Said cake stall business was taken to one of the adventure group meets up where they teamed up with their friends and sold their cakes. Next week is an ice lolly business – apparently.
We have been out and about enjoying the sunshine. Beach trips and adventure playgrounds and using our local seafront and common spaces, not going to far afield. Here they are learning from one of our youngest home ed group members!
At home A and W have discovered a series on Netflix called Mia and me. It’s all fairies, elves, unicorns and magic. They’re also exposed to completely different viewing as it’s impossible to keep them separated from what interests the older ones.
Collectively with L’s interests in mind, we all watched the David Attenborough meets The President interview, a documentary on the Plantagenets and countless Horrible Histories episodes. He’s also been playing on Roblox and bought some more Robucks using his debit card. Usual reading going on with Historic Royal Palaces material and First News and I noticed he picked up a Climate Change book we got from The Eden Project.
HH learning proved useful in a recent audition that S(13) went on when they needed to casually chat about Henry VIII and the Tudors. The rhyme about his wives was easily recited! So the audition was for a regional commercial about Portsmouth in lieu of the Americas Cup that will be here in just a matter of weeks now. S was incredibly nervous beforehand but really enjoyed the experience once she got through the doors to do her thing. Although nothing came from it, it was a great experience and insight into how these things work. If you want a career in acting this is what you might expect. I don’t know whether she really does want a career in acting but she certainly enjoys her drama school. Enjoying doing it now is the most important priority. How it unfolds in the future is irrelevant right now.
Also with S in mind we’ve been watching Japan: Earth’s Enchanted Islands on BBC iPlayer. Japan is definitely a place we’d all like to visit. More Japan interest led learning coming up next week.
S has also been to her friends house for sewing lessons and then walked back with her friend home to go to home ed adventure playground group. We have to create more independent opportunities as they don’t have the to and from school walks to do. Otherwise, she spends hours and hours in her room chatting to her friends online, minecrafting or drawing. She’d really like to take some trips to meet some of her online friends. We’re going to need to facilitate trips to Bedfordshire and Cheshire. This is the world we live in.
Other stuff I can think of, trying more vegetarian food. Oh and it’s amazing the stuff that can be learned from observing through our windows down here in Southsea. If you’re not watching you can certainly hear plenty. To be honest, most I wish we didn’t have to witness.
Asking the children to help more so that we can still fit in all the things we want too even with my hours stretched. It works well with the older kids. I challenged L to build my new Ikea desk which he did with enthusiasm and only required my elbow grease towards the screws because we couldn’t locate electric screwdriver. S is happy to help unload dishwasher, washing machine etc. Still trying to persuade A and W that working as a team is beneficial and given they do actually create most of the chaos and mess in the house……think the bath tub filled with plastic packaging mixed with water that had come with the Ikea table, clothes in random piles in every room clean or otherwise, pens and paper also everywhere including the latest paper airplane creations, ropes tied from every staircase, wooden bricks for Monster High Buddhist temple creations!? as if they have priority over the humans living here (they currently use my hand-weights as yoga head rests?!), not to mention butter knives stuck to work services and roller skates in the hallway ready to trip over at any given moment – a garden would help but we’re working on it. Of course, if I gave them structured lessons and focus all day then I doubt they would create as much chaos but then the largest part of autonomy and creativity would be missing so I’ll live with it!
Drama, singing, fruit picking, dungeons and dragons is planned for the weekend and I expect A and W will ensure Twin Dad takes them sea swimming and tree climbing. Who knows what other opportunities will crop up.
I always return to the same feeling that life doesn’t run in a straight line but instead a combination of winding paths, twists and turns, ups and downs, moments and phases so it seems only natural that learning will be the same. Think we are set for more change.
So the question of whether or not we are doing enough in our home educating choices remains to be seen but we are living, we are definitely learning and we continue to do our best with the circumstances and opportunities that we have. The destination is irrelevant, we’ll keep going. One never truly knows what’s around the corner but at least we are prepared to take a peak.