reflections on our home learning journey weeks 36 & 37

Finally after a long grey close day there is a breeze in the air and the sun is shining. Two little ones are actually asleep and eldest is just back from youth group and so begins the journey of helping him unwind after a fun evening when he is running short on sleep and is heavy-headed with hay fever. Of the three so far Bob is the one for whom transitions are hardest and switching from one activity to another needs time but when that is coupled with tiredness and hay fever it requires from one or other of us the need to dig deeper to make that journey smoother and doable for him. He stops thinking in terms of connection to this world and the people around him and we have to keep bringing him back to reality as he spins off in outer space, at times in a solar system all of his own.

It has been interesting observing the three of them and watching how they all relate to their surroundings and the complete differences between them all. Bob is our wordy one who loves history and science and a new love for languages and is found dwelling inside books in some other solar system. Zog lives within our own solar system joining in the creative work of God adding colour and glittering sparkles to anything that stays still long enough for him to put his creative touch to. This has meant walls have been worked on too, not the best when you are in a rented house that has been thinly painted and so as soon as you go to clean the wall the paint comes off. Zog loves the picture a story paints and is fascinated by art and numbers.  He has started to write numbers much to my surprise when this morning he proudly presented me with a piece of paper with the numbers on it. Tonight in the bath he put up all our foam numbers counting down from 10 and declared that these were space numbers as they went the other way to our numbers. He can generally be called back to earth without it throwing him for a loop though it may take a time or two of addressing him to get his attention. Kanga lives fully and whole heartedly on this earth and as though she knows how it should be run. She is the first to be ready at the door with necessary footwear if I mention that we are going out and she is up and straight to the door when Daddy comes in and acknowledges his departure with waves and often tears. The boys may or may not now register he has even left when he walks back in some hours later.

Each are so different in personalities and yet to see them they could never disown each other. It is a learning curve for both of us as we seek to raise them and know how best to journey through each day to ensure each one is allowed to be themselves within the context of family life when inter-relationships matter and actions are not taken in isolation in different solar systems however far off one may feel one is actually living. The rewards though are massive when we are able to get alongside and track with each of them exploring the world around them.

Lessons have been ticking along most days but the evidence for learning is often not in those moments but at other times such as conversations in the car or from comments others say to us when they have spent time with our children. There are days when lessons can seem so futile but then a later conversation comes along and you realise in that moment that they are all learning and growing and seeking to make sense of the world around them.

What has been encouraging, exciting and somewhat daunting to this non linguistic parent is Bob’s emerging love of languages. He is already doing French and has decided that maths in French is far more fun and he has no problems with addition in French. He also loves to do bits of Hebrew or Greek with his Daddy and this week has decided that he wants to learn Latin and Spanish. I don’t want to squash his enthusiasm and need to work out how best to do this and find ways of exposing him to language. Any suggestions/recommendations that are not going to break the bank would be greatly appreciated. Think I might need to see what there is out there to watch or listen to that he would enjoy.  I regret my lack of langauge skills and if he is to take after his Grandpa and his enjoyment of languages I do not want to stifle it.

I still struggle with the total brick wall we hit as soon as he needs to write anything but Mark keeps reassuring me that he never did and still probably does not like actual pen on paper writing and as he is completing a PhD I probably don’t need to worry too much. All momentum of an encouraging morning can be lost as soon as a pencil/pen is produced. It is more to do with my own personal pressures and expectations and defensiveness when it comes to what other parents with children at school say. What I do wonder at times is whether we should teach him to type yet to give him a way to express the overflow of words his brain has? Any thoughts from folk who have been down this road would be appreciated. I suspect we will not have the same battle with Kanga as she has total melt down as soon as we remove a marker from her hand as she walks through the house with her forbidden treasure. Whereas Zog may move off paper onto walls through creative forgetfulness, Kanga is delighting in forbidden treasure.

We have all learnt lots this year both in and through the journey of home educating and so I am wrestling at the moment of how to adapt and move forward next year as we do not yet know where we will be and so knowing how our days will look and what there will be to be involved in restricts my need to plan and organise which is hard going but it is also a time to trust and keep walking these days out faithfully, living and learning in the moment.

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