reflections on our home learning journey 29

Well it was not the week I had planned but neither am I writing the week off totally. I returned Monday after my first fun weekend away from the children and Tuesday was going to see a new pattern established as all 3 now have French on Tuesdays. Wednesday the plumber was due to come for the day to sort out our radiators with the possibility of the job spilling into some of Thursday morning. And so my back up plan for Wednesday was to take my friend up on her offer to use their home as a base for the day. Thursday we were due our visit from the LEA (Local education authority) and Friday Matthew was having a field trip (more about that later).

Tuesday rolled around and we had French for all followed by a picnic with other home educating families at the park and pond dipping. And while this is what the boys wanted to do and not miss, in reality and hindsight what was needed to set us up for the week and to regroup after the weekend was a day where it was just us. And I really should have known and responded to that having spent the train journeys that weekend reading a great book called The Highly Sensitive Child, which highlighted the wiring and workings of our boys and the best ways to help them flourish with their character. But I risked it thinking we would make up for it all on Wednesday with down time. Also for Zog the new boots were not comfortable and he was peopled out and so hid in the stroller for most of the time the others were pond dipping. Bob has grown up so much and is able to stretch himself further now as he had great fun in the moment and hold it together his limit was reached once home and this has impacted his sleep this week as he tries to get back on an even keel. Having read the book though I have found myself able to respond with less frustration to his actions when in this place of reaching his limit as I can now see where he is coming from and why.

Tuesday night I learnt that my friend was not able to offer her house as a base for us and then the plumber showed up on Wednesday morning and it quickly became apparent this was a three day job and that there would be no water each day. This was not my plan and I postponed the LEA visit as that was going to be one too many things to juggle. Just like Bob I do not do well with sudden unexpected changes of plans and so all this change to my neatly thought through planned week left me in a complete spin along with other things going on for Mark and I that had come up unexpectedly. Everything becomes too much and I become useless in thought and action and crazily emotional. I think I might need to get a copy of the book the Highly Sensitive Person for myself by the same author. In the end we went with Mark into town and played at college and had a picnic tea. On the walk through the park from the bus to college we came across a lad riding a small motorbike at speed and no consideration for others in the park across the paths and grassy areas. Bob was most put out by this and on our return home he wrote a letter to the local police which he then took to the post office the next morning and bought a stamp and posted it. So without even trying writing and maths and independence were all being lived out without him thinking about it as he does with ‘lessons’ . Thursday we spent at the local park and library. I was very thankful Kanga slept for most of the time we were at the park so I could give the boys some time and it was so much fun to watch them play together completely immersed in their own imaginary world, which often is the combination of their own worlds which they navigate to bring together into one so that they can play together. And considering that Zog has declared that he is a real African buffalo ( the ‘real’ being stressed as real buffalos don’t have their hair washed apparently) this can make their games amusing when Bob is either being a Greek fighting the Trojans or a policeman catching robbers or a hunter. Yes we have reached that point when all sticks become weapons of some sort of other. Today we cocooned ourselves upstairs in our room as the boys had made it quite clear they were no longer interested in going out and to give them their due they played really well on our bed and accepted the situation with no complaint. Which in itself showed how much they needed so home time this week. For such a time as this I had a new game (from our local charity shop) which has provided hours of fun as they built shapes and objects and buffalos with up and down horns out of magnet rods and balls. I also managed to get some actual maths done with Bob as he used the magnets to do his sums before he realised what I was doing.

The highlight though for Bob this week has been his field trip this afternoon to Pitville Park for a wildlife photography lesson. He has become fascinated with wildlife photography thanks to Winter and Springwatch and so a friend of ours from church who is a keen photographer took Bob and Mark out for a lesson at the park and by the level of chat and excitement when they got home I think we can safely declare a great time was had. And as a treat they got to see a Great Crested Grebe which we had not come across before and we have been doing nature walks at that park every week since last summer. We will have to wait until our friend sorts out the photos to see the finished results.

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Learning has happened this week in bucketfuls. Not the way and means I had intended at the start but it has happened for all of us in different ways. I still have my dreams and ideals but we also have a gift of three incredible blessings to raise and they do not come neat and tidy and consistent. They come as they come in all their fullness and I am learning to learn with them and adapt rather than coerce them and myself.

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