This has been a week where writing has brought an unexpected joy to my soul. Thursday Bob was sitting down writing a list of words which to be honest when he said he was doing it I paid little attention. I was assuming it was his usual style of writing, lots of many wavy lines with no actual sign of any letter formation. As I passed him by on my way upstairs I noticed that he was actually writing a list of words he knew how to spell, a skill I was unaware he had. He then followed me upstairs and sat on our bed while I hung the laundry and announced ‘I am Homer, no actually I am more likely one of the many Greek scribes Homer had to write the Greek myths and I am writing my first one.’ And proceeded to write his first Greek myth involving Odysseus who was washing, Ajax who was eating a ham sandwich and Achilles who was watching TV. It may not be an epic Greek myth that will last the test of time but it has made this heart of mine soar. Only the day before I had been mentioning to my Dad that writing was just not happening at the moment and he said it will come in time, little was I expecting it to come the next day in such style. My second moment of joy with writing this week then came this evening with Zog. Zog is also left-handed and has always held his pencils incorrectly and has refused any hint of correction while he draws endless pictures. This afternoon while Bob was at Forest School he found in the school shelf a folder of traceable letters and sat down and worked his way through all of them on his own asking me to identify each letter and then name a word that starts with it. The highlight though was when I noticed that he was holding the pen correctly while doing it. In his own time and space he has worked it out for himself. I am a strong believer in not pushing learning early hence why we will not start letter of the week material till September just before he turns 4 but am happy to let them explore and learn at their pace too so do not stop projects any of them take on.
Earlier today I read an article about ‘doing nothing’ with our children and the benefits that come from actually giving them the space to be bored so that they have to be creative. For us that has been easily done with little income or car and living in a village and with three little ones. There are days when it is hard but that is usually when I have to respond to the question ‘what do I do all day? That reminder fitted in well this week for me with a meeting I was part of on Wednesday and we talked about the importance of our lives flowing from a place of being rather than doing. I hope somewhere along the line in the way we are chosing to life we are establishing that idea in our children now that will stand then in good stead in later life. That they will define their lives and choices out of a place of being and my prayer is that it will be a place of being in God rather than self-identity with what they can achieve and do.
It is easy to think I should be filling their days with more structure and external activities but two days a week is plenty and I believe that one of the benefits to flow from this space of being is Bob’s love of words and reading. This morning for an hour he and Zog had created a hut for themselves where Bob read and read and read to Zog, so I have to remember that while I may not get to read as much to Zog or Kanga as we did with Bob, Zog is not missing out because alongside our reading Bob is also reading and in mastering books he is more than happy to re read books time and again which is just what Zog loves as with any 3-year-old but can drive parents crazy.
if you were to ask the boys their highlight of this week was an outing to Birdworld with grandparents and cousins as I had to travel across to Fleet for a meeting. So Mark took the children to meet up with the rest of the family and despite the less than friendly weather the boys had a great time. They were then delighted when a package arrived from the RSPB today of lots of posters about different types of birds so they were busy spending time identifying which birds they saw at Birdworld, in the garden and at the park.
This has been an encouraging week for me as I have been reminded in reading and watching the boys that if we give them space they learn and work things out for themselves. It is often the fear of new homeschoolers will their children really learn to read and write etc and our fears are met with reassurances from veteran homeschooling parents that yes they will learn and they will be able to read and write but the doubt lingers till you see your first child do it. This is one of those weeks for me when I can start to believe that they were right and build the confidence to ensure that what I need to do is to teach them, provide them with opportunity, give them space and then trust them to be busy learning all the time in all they do and let them work skills out for themselves.