We are really feeling the highs of home ed again after a tough couple of months where, to be honest, it felt like we were wading through mud. School had become a serious contender again as things reached breaking point.
So what's changed? The situation with houses has calmed down and with that so too has Jenson. He also said to me this week that he had been feeling very hungry and tired of late, so perhaps some sort of growth spurt as well.
We're now back at some sort of normal level of life, where things don't feel quite as overwhelming as they did. Last week's Science Festival was almost like a reboot and today has further cemented our love of learning together, away from school.
Our Monday LEGO Club sessions had become few and far between so it was great to have the motivation and enthusiasm back to organise the one today. It was super to see some new faces and lovely to catch up with old friends too. I say old, we've only known Arabella and her Mum since October but in home school world that's a long time!
As usual, we got the room ready in the morning. Without any furniture, the soft play makes an excellent substitute. When we finally get the furniture back it's going to feel a bit boring!
The children were set the challenge of creating LEGO constructions using bricks and straws. It's something Jenson has done before but he chose it again as the topic for this week's session. It was fascinating to watch how each child interpreted the task.
Here the children are spread out across the soft play, diving into the LEGO trays and getting creative with their engineering skills.
There were some brilliant creations...
Arabella ended up staying for most of the day and the children enjoyed further activities together - the opportunities for learning through play are endless. Here they are creating a marble run. It was brilliant to watch their natural curiosity unfold as they tested the run out, tweaking it in places where they felt it was failing or could be improved.
Jenson then moved onto a tessellation puzzle, another brilliant way to help him understand about shape recognition, colour matching and translating a 2-D picture into a 3-D form.
After last week's epic adventure at the Science Festival, our clay supply came out of the craft cupboard for the very first time. Jenson was desperate to try and recreate the figure that he made and broke last week.
Next came ice sculptures. Months ago, during a LEGO club session, the children froze LEGO bricks in ice cube trays and I kept forgetting to give Arabella's back to her. I finally remembered this week and the children had great fun smashing the ice chunks on the floor and building pyramids.
Finally, out came the play dough.
It was a tremendously productive day where I felt the children learnt a lot. It was lovely to chat to Ally too, she always helps to boost my confidence in the educational path we've chosen! In contrast, just the other day, I'd been having a conversation with a friend whose children go to Jenson's old school. I'd been saying how beneficial it had been to Jenson to be able to experience the activities of the Science Festival at his own pace without being hurried along by the pressures that a school trip would bring. She got what I meant which was why, she said, she had the weekend - so she could do the same with her children. I didn't have a great come back to that but having thought about it some more, I realised a few things. Firstly, what's the point of the school taking the children around the festival if the parents then have to fill the gaps at the weekend because they didn't get what they needed to from the school trip, and second, I walked around the festival at the weekend and it was ridiculously busy to that point that they were queuing to get into the Maker Shack.
No matter what anyone says, you can't beat the opportunities that home schooling gives. Some may think my children are at a disadvantage from it, or that what we do during the week is something that could be done at the weekend, but that's just naivety talking. Our way of life is one that works best for us, and in particular Jenson. For the most part, we all love spending time together. In not so many years from now, that won't be the case as they grow up and our lives inevitably become more separated. It's special to be able to create these memories for us all now that we can cherish in the future.