I sat down to write this post a couple of hours ago but you were saved from what might have been a rather smug post by Dante waking up. I had just got him down (or so I thought) while Joth was taking the three boys to the pirate ship after Kung Fu as promised so I was sitting in a peaceful and reasonably tidy house having even had a gold star mummy moment and got hot chocolates ready for when they all came in. I was just about to write about what a great and productive day it had been, then Dante woke up having managed all of 20 mins sleep and while I was trying to get him back to sleep the boys came in arguing and Joth rushed straight to his computer to find out what the error message from work that had just come in on his mobile was all about. From the sublime to the chaotic in a nano second. No matter, it was all rescued by hot chocolates and a game of shopping trolleys.
Yes, it was Antons game night tonight. We have two simple games that he has got the hang of and he so loves playing a game with us all and waits patiently for his go and happily plays by all the rules.
The rest of the day had been full of the sort of home ed stuff that I love. The boys had their own ideas of what they wanted to do: Lucas was creating an enormous board game and cutting out pieces, and Oscar was making figures out of Fimo clay. Anton was painting and cutting out next to them and he’s also suddenly able to hold a pencil well enough to have some control over what he wants to do. I always put out big brushes and big sized paper for him but sometimes he likes to try to copy the more detailed pen work he sees the boys do. He even says it’s his handwriting sometimes!
We also did some practise and then when Joth took Anton to his swimming the boys wanted to read some more of “Chasing Vermeer” which we are reading together at the moment. It’s a sort of junior “Da Vinci code” with lots of reference to famous paintings and puzzles which is giving us lots of food for looking things up on the internet. I’d managed (how do people ever manage without slings) to make a chicken curry that everyone liked (Yeah!) for lunch and then the boys finished practise and explored Mathletics which we are just trialling. Oscar said he’s finding Conquer Maths boring which is a shame because it seemed really good to me and I liked the fact that the videos explain things (an unrushed explanation is not something I can always offer at the moment) and he can go over the video at his own pace. Anyway, there are lots of good things about Mathletics which went down pretty well with them and it’s a lot cheaper so that’s something.
The sun had really come out this afternoon so they all went in the garden and had ice lollies and when Joth took a break at 5 we all went over the road for some fresh air. Joth and the boys went for a run which they’ve been trying to make a regular habit of recently and Anton and I went at our own pace. Actually, Anton is very much faster than me (having Dante in the sling is my excuse). If you ignore the sound of the main road, the grounds of Follaton house are really lovely. All the boys played for ages by the pond.
So although I’m not letting the thought of Oscar going to school in September overshadow things, it is making me appreciate just how lucky we are at the moment and just how wonderful home ed is. For them it means they are able to get up when they want if they’ve had a bad night, decide what they want to do, take as long as they want, play when they want and eat when they want. For us all it means we don’t forever have to spend each night getting ready for the next day (structuring homework and sleep to suit the next day) so we can have games evenings or watch a film together if we all feel like it. We can have family meals together and have days out together without that feeling that can hang over weekends when the rest of the week isn’t under your control. We own our life and we’re not continually living for the future, we are enjoying the now. Not to mention how much I simply enjoy spending time together. The older two are getting more independent as they get older but we spend good time together, not just seeing the dregs of each other at the end of a tiring day. I just want to record how lucky I feel we are so I that I know when I look back that I did appreciate it at the time. Even though there are things that we thought we’d have done while home educating (which seemed to include lots of travel which we haven’t done at all – even day trips are few and far between!) just the simply every day life has been worth it all. I am so, so glad that we have done it this way. Home ed is a wonderful, wonderful choice for us and has suited us all down to the ground and now that the Conservatives have done a deal with the Lib Dems that choice will hopefully remain open for us all.
Still, I do feel one of the best things about home education has been that the boys are pretty good at knowing themselves and what they like and I do feel that Oscar will give school a good go and be able to decide for himself whether it’s going to work for him or not. I think it’s actually pretty difficult to know what you do and don’t like when you are young and the more “compulsory” activities you do, the more difficult it makes it to work out what makes you tick.