reflections on our home learning journey 15/2

Friends have kindly taken the children for the afternoon, the wind and rain have replaced the sunshine of this morning and just as the weather has changed so has my frame of mind. I woke eager with hope, of new possibilities only for them to be dashed in one brief phone call, not helped by the indifference of the estate agent on the other end. Clearly phoning as soon as the office opens is not acceptable, to check on a house which we saw advertised last night. Price, near friends, space, garden, all boxes ticked and it was gone. Unsurprisingly but still, it was the 2nd time this week that has happened to us.

It has been hard getting back into our rhythm of lessons and life and activities after a wonderful relaxed family Christmas season. Bob especially struggled as Mark was not only back to work but away at a conference this week so that was a big adjustment which was not overly welcomed. Bob has also been struggling with sinuses and it turns out a sore ear all week though he only admitted it all last night and though we thought something was up he kept denying it. And younger two have thought that the best place to sleep was with me as I had a big bed all to myself and while they might have slept beautifully I cannot say the same for myself. So all round patience has been less than abundant and dashed hopes have left us all reeling this weekend somewhat.

My highlight was getting out to our Thursday nature walk and all 3 children loving it despite it being our coldest day. I had worked hard on layers before we went out. Certainly for that day I seem to have found the winning combination as we were there for a full 3hours and had to convince them that we were going home. They would have happily kept going. And a new thermos for hot chocolate is sure to be a winner. We also had new friends from the village join us which was great fun. It is so exciting to see our group grow and more folk joining up with us.

I have learnt a lesson I have learnt before but all to easily forget that the more I am prepared each day the better the day flows. The battle comes when evenings do not run to plan and time to prepare seems to evaporate. I get frustrated with my sense of failure to be on top of everything. To not let circumstances and environment get me down. Three years of a drought means my roots are not firm and strong and steady. The littlest thing sends me flying.  The brick wall of silence in front, our attempts to change circumstances and environment ending in disappointment after disappointment. I trust God, I trust He knows me better than I do, but I struggle hearing right time/right place from others when right now is so hard, so dry.

So this week BBC Iplayer has been a helpful teaching assistant and we have been learning all about The Great Barrier Reef and The Atlantic. Explorers’s maps of The Atlantic have been studied and coloured in. Tears have been shed by Zog because no one has yet come up with colouring in pictures for children of black smokers in The Atlantic. He now has photos on the wall of them and coloured over scientific diagrams of how they work to compensate.

We have been reminded of how each child is wired, eldest and youngest need full on listening attention from us as they talk non stop. If Bob knows he has been heard than he can occupy himself no problems but as as soon as he feels that his voice has not been heard he will push back hard. He thankfully  now can go stretches of time in between if I give him my full attention (120% at least) at certain points in the day. Kanga is the same as Bob was when he was 2, where that need to have someone listen fully to them lasts all day. Somehow I managed to give her that time yesterday and it was a delight.  In with all that listening we need to remember that Zog is all about contact. Which I think explains why he loves to still sleep in with us, as he will tank himself up at night and then he can roll through the day in his own world of colouring and all things visual. I have also learnt that he listens incredibly well while seemingly preoccupied. Ask him to be still and listen it is likely he will not hearing anything but while colouring away in another part of the room while I am reading aloud and he will suddenly pick up on a phrase and run with the humour of it, totally following the story.

Montessori styled learning would be welcomed with open arms by Zog and so my structured self needs to be ready to allow that as we move toward more formal learning in the next year with him. His love of colour, art and numbers means he is already a very confident pen holder and mathematical patterns fascinate him. Whereas for Bob his love of the big picture, of science, history, fact and narrative need much more direct support from us still at this point as his fine motor skills are not up to speed with all the thoughts and ideas stumbling around inside his head. And why we love BBC Iplayer science and nature programmes. And I need to trust that as his fine motor skills develop and his body and brain connect with each other he will find ways for himself to express all that he is thinking about.

We have had farm shop set ups, deep sea dives, laughed ourselves silly over chapters from Nurse Matilda which we are reading at lunch times. We have had time with friends, we have loved deeply, we have lost our rag, we have said sorry, we have dug deep to offer genuine forgiveness. We have shared meals, we have read books, we have longed for sunshine and a glimmer of hope. Hope is what we will hold onto as we head into a new week.





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