reflections on our home learning journey 13/2

If I had sat down this morning to write my reflections there would have been many tears shed, much angst and hopelessness. Tonight though late I am writing from a place of restoration and peace. Mark is out for his work Christmas dinner and once Kanga and Zog were asleep Bob and I sat watching Christmas cookery programmes snuggled up together and then I got to do bedtime with him. It was a much needed evening of reconnection and redemption.

The week started in an alright place but I put my back out trying to move furniture around on Monday afternoon and that left me in considerable pain and having real difficulties holding Kanga. Then when I thought it was much better on Wednesday and I was holding her she did her usual swing out to reach something in the opposite direction and out went my back again. Unlike the previous 6 years we are now in a place where Mark is working Monday to Friday set office hours and so was unable to be flexible with his time. He was brilliant though because he did everything he could before leaving in the morning to get us to a place of readiness for the day and took on all duties as soon as he walked in the door. With my back being out that impacted sleep along with small people who don’t yet go all the way through and my inability to keep on top of home as I like and as tidying does not come naturally to Bob, Zog or Kanga it meant that by this morning the place had started to implode on itself. I don’t mind chaos within a day that then gets cleared away but chaos that has overflowed from previous days ruffles me something crazy.

On top of that it seems that staying in this location is what is next for us and while Mark is not doing his ideal job, we are very thankful for the job he has and for his extended contract and the way they respect their staff. Some christian places could take a leaf out of their book on how to communicate and speak to folk going through the interview process. So for now while I know he would far rather be doing a different job I am thankful for the place he has got and for his two bosses, who see him for who he is and are supportive of what his real hopes and dreams are. With that said we would then ideally love to be able to move to a slightly larger house, that would give us all some elbow room, place to provide hospitality, have an open home for others, a place for the children, a bathroom with a window. But the reality we have had to face this week is that it is just not financially possible for us to make the next step up. Which has been made even harder this week having found what looks like the ideal home for us 3 streets away but as with all others requires an extra £600 a month rent. The cost of living in a well provided for village with great views and easy access to a main town and motorways. It is at times like this that I hate that my immediate space and environment impacts so directly on my frame of mind. And so that disappointment and the chaos the house has been in this week rubbing up against a sore back and broken sleep has meant I have been way of ball this week with the children and they can tell and have struggled in their own ways with it all.

So where does home learning fit into all that muddle I have had. Well we have kept things simple with maths and grammar and a little bit of writing and science, completing our final planet in the solar system, Mercury. Bob decided to work his way in toward the Sun. Lessons have been done from the comfort of our bed and finished by 9am as I have been very slow to move.

It has also been a very buys week with events on and we needed to declare yesterday a duvet day even though we should have been on our nature walk but there comes a point in order to keep going that you need to stop and rest and it has done us all the world of good. Tuesday saw Bob trying a new sports group which he loved. When I initially put it to him on the Monday having sorted out a lift and knew he could go he was very hesitant about it all. After some questioning and talking it through it came down to the fact that it was a new event and I would not be there, he was going with a good friend and he did not know what to expect. To be fair to him sport is not his natural strength and so this was a big step as he is so aware of fairness and justice and his view of sport so far from friends who play football and rugby is that it is not always fair and just. We talked it through though as I knew it was going to be more about games and being active with lots of his friends trying it out also for the first time that day. We talked of how he went to other events like forest school and youth group and did not know what to expect from them and now loves them and so he decided he would give it a try and fully embraced it. For the first time though I did wave him off in the car and an unsure face looked back at me. He came home beaming. A number of other parents who had been there told me later he had clearly been fully enjoying it and involved which was so encouraging. The prize though was his beam when he got home, not only because he had loved it but because he had gone in the first place out of his own decision.

This Wednesday also saw him attend a session along with his friends at the Wilson Museum which is our local museum in Cheltenham. Every 6 or so weeks they run a home educators afternoon and this week it was on Edward Wilson who the museum is named after and his trip to the Antarctic. He loved it and since then anything at home has been adapted as skies, a boat, a hut and I had found a great book at Waterstones which we have lost him to since Wednesday in which he fills in his own information. He has also discovered the first two episodes on BBC player about historical British boats and so far has been learning about ‘The Matthew’ which sailed to America and ‘The Pickle’ which raced home to report the victory of the battle of Trafalgar and the death of Nelson. Forest School this afternoon and youth group tonight have finished off a very full on week for him.

Zog and Kanga has got the rough end of the stick this week with all the events out and about being for Bob and in the midst of my frustration and fog I have taken a tight hold of Bob’s lessons and focused on accomplishing that and then we have muddled our way through the rest of our time. I hope that our final week of lessons can be more family oriented rather than me trying simply to keep a sense of head above water ticking certain lessons off my list for Bob. This may well be possible because I have taken 20 minute blocks today and tackled the imploding chaos and feel a sense of calm returning and have started to reconnect with Bob, Zog and Kanga once more. I also need to be way more thought through to know how to incorporate Kanga. Where Zog has always been ready to sit at a table and loves nothing better than to join in and be doing what Bob is doing, Kanga is her own views on what and how things should be done and we have some way to go with cooperation being a natural instinct:) She might just find though if she cultivated some all our days would be happier. She also needs words but it would seem that like her brothers she will be waiting till she is good and ready at around 2 1/2 to bother using words and then use all words in one breathe and to keep talking from there on in. Until then we have a lot of frustration though to be fair to her, if I stop and listen and watch she is well able to communicate her needs/wants but if I do not get it straight away or she is ignoring my request for no there is a lot of shouting and crocodile tears.

This has been one of those weeks where I can now say from a place of calm that I have much growing and learning to do and need to consider how I respond to circumstances and in turn that will make life smoother and happier for us all.




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