It has been a long, long week. Not a bad one at all, opposite in fact but busy, very busy. I’ve tried to blog a few times but have been so tired by the time I’ve tried that trying to make sense of all the thoughts flying about has been beyond me. It feels like we’ve entered into one of our periodic spells of change. Not as a result of things not working more as result of growth, opportunities there to grab and mental shifts.
There is a sudden loosening of the reigns and letting go. He’s not really been asking or pushing but it’s more a shift in my head that I’ve recognised that he’s suddenly more grown up and I can trust him to have a bit of common sense. Having sent him off to the village last week this week as seen more steps towards independence. When a we experienced a blip in communication meaning that the sleepover I thought was a couple of weeks away became rescheduled (when I was already in bed on Sunday) for Monday I instinctively thought that we could solve the which side of ferry to meet dilemma easily if he could catch ferry on his own. He didn’t bat an eyelid at suggestion, so I saw him on one side and 7 mins later friend met him at the other. All the ‘knowing’ he’d be fine doesn’t stop the sick feeling of watching them get further away though.
This was followed by him taking himself off to Costa for lunch on his own on Friday while I was running a craft session for younger children (in the same building). Oh and another sleepover on Friday night.
This is where home ed has a distinct advantage over school. One of the criticisms often levied at home ed is that you are mollycoddling them and they won’t learn independence if they are always with a parent. My experience is to the contrary.
Firstly I’d quibble about them always being with a parent; they have attended Beavers from as soon as possible and done pretty much every day trip/camp offered and from a young age there has always been ‘swapping’ of children for home ed activities, they have never been ones to need me in classes or workshops so if adult places have been scarce (or one of them wasn’t the right age) I’ve sat outside.
But mainly they have been able to grow their independence at their own pace, no school saying they must be left, no pressure for long school trips. Every step they have taken away from me has been because they have been ready and wanted to go. We have had wobbles – last year’s shambles of a Gang Show camp unsettled Sam and he stayed close to me for a good while after and I don’t know what happened (almost definitely something very minor) but something upset him at a friend’s house last year and the idea of going again was quite traumatic but we had a few cosy months, mainly just me and him and confidence returned and he is off again, more confident than ever before.
They are also more confident with doing ‘normal’ things; like ordering in a cafe, crossing the road, asking for things in a shop, finding things in the supermarket, knowing their way around town and catching a bus because they do them all the time. They have proved themselves able to exercise a bit of common sense and deal with problems. Jack got rather lost riding his new bike home from town when he was 11. Came across a garage, realised he shouldn’t have passed a garage so was lost, went in to garage and asked for directions.
As for schools and independence, according to Jack with nearly 4 years of school behind him now, teachers talk a lot about it but in reality there is very little scope for the children to exercise any.
Other notable points in the week; we read about and finished up looking at fossils and moved on to crystals.
I should say the thing covered in sand on the right is a track fossil (fossil of a burrow – or track of pencil pushed into sand in our case).
We attempted to grow geodes from egg shells which failed dismally (I think the ratios on the instructions were really off). Also tried to dissolve limestone in vinegar and see if crystals formed. We’ll never know as our warm place was tucked in the corner by the heating grill but someone still managed to kick it all over the living room carpet!
Tree worked though.
As did growing from a seed crystal and our rock candy was very successful this was after only a day.
He also eventually broke into the geodes he’s been working on for a month. There was then some suspicious hanging about in garden where some of the path appears a bit more broken than it was before and there is a big hole in the flower bed.
We didn’t manage all the ‘work’ I wanted to this week, too many things to adapt round but never mind. We did manage some playing with the scales though for maths.
We did fit in a lot of socialising though, planned and spur of the moment.
Monday was sleepover at his best friend’s, I collected him Tuesday from coding club which he is still loving and I am loving as I don’t run as much as I love organising stuff it does both me and Sam good to go to places where I get to sit back (I get to sit with some of the younger ones who need support reading :)).
Wednesday was our first DIY.org club which all went a lot better than I could have hoped for. All older children really, well Sam’s age and year or two older. Which is really good as often feels as if they all seem to disappear about this age from the more social activities. Mostly people we knew but that we don’t see often so was nice. Sam happily worked on a project with people he didn’t know. We did some work for the animator patch, making zoetropes and stop motion films.
Thurs was a bit of a break. Only person we saw was my Dad for an afternoon of board games, mainly Dobble and City of Zombies – both I highly recommend. We did play a water themed game too to continue our water project from the morning.
The morning’s project work, colouring while we listened to podcasts about how the water cycle works and how the water reaches our houses, a poster on what we use water for and a quiz.
Friday was the first session of a monthly group I’m running for younger children. Idea is Pete should be off work on these days but didn’t come off this time, he was off work but in Cardiff. Never mind Sam came, we managed to pick up some much needed new shoes and trousers (growth spurt!), he helped set up, played a bit with a 3 yo who wanted his attention (little boys seem to like Sam), then entertained himself on his kindle before going for an early lunch.
I enjoyed myself chatting to parents I wouldn’t normally see and of course I love coming up with the activities for this sort of thing. Here’s just a few of them – it was Spring themed.
After that popped over to a friend’s for a couple of hours for Lego, Minecraft, tea and a long over due catch up. By the time we got home neither of us were in the mood for the work we’d have done in an ideal world so Sam played minecraft and I did some admin/put away the craft stuff from Weds and Friday’s groups and then we packed for Cub sleepover and put his DIY patches on his camp blanket.
Good week if a long one, not a pace we could maintain. We definitely need our day at home every week though if we are going to do what I think of as a basic level of education alongside sufficient chill time.
Oh and I never mentioned a St David’s Day baking burst – nothing like home made warm bara brith for breakfast.
Plus a burst of stitching to try and finish my Winter tree in winter (failed but was done on 1st March)