We've started 2017 rather slowly. We spent a thoroughly enjoyable Christmas on Lundy Island and have continued its relaxed pace of life with ease!
Over the festive period I was asked by many people if I was having a break from home ed'ing. I guess we did watch more TV than we would do during normal 'school hours' (yes, we still seem to be working to those) but the truth is home schooling really is just learning as we live our lives. It never really stops. I'm not doing any structured learning with them, partly because I've no idea how to get Jenson to sit down and do it but also because he's not showing any interest in doing it. He's learning through his own interests and if he's learning about things that he loves then I hope in time this will develop into a true love of learning. There are many forms of home schooling but I am unschooling him. It's a weird concept to grasp and one I'm still struggling to fully understand, especially when I keep meeting people who seem far more capable than me!
For example, we met up with friends on Monday evening in the hope of spotting some shooting stars, (we did!) and I felt alarmingly inadequate as my friend reeled off constellation after constellation. She pointed out with ease to me and the children where Orion's Belt was as I struggled with a simple explanation of what a satellite does. On Wednesday another friend popped round as we were in the middle of learning about mixing colours. I thought I had been doing pretty well to make a few different shades until she suggested we could gradient them. People say they couldn't home school, but I strongly disagree!
I guess all this really proves is that you don't need to be Einstein to home educate. You just need a lot of will power, determination and self belief. What I lack in that last point I make up for in other areas. I don't worry too much about the bigger things in life because experience has taught me just how big those things in life can get. By comparison, home schooling doesn't daunt me. To me it's about being Jenson and Wren's Mum and giving them the space to be children. The bottom line is Jenson will grow up to be a capable child, and now we are home schooling I hope also a confident and compassionate one too.
As well as a bit of astronomy, Jenson also had a sewing lesson on Monday. Good old Father Christmas had bought him a clown that he could cut out, sew and stuff. It was a nice compact present that could easily fit in the luggage hold of the helicopter that flew us out to Lundy! How convenient! Ever since he opened this gift on Christmas Day he has been desperate to make it and I kept having to explain to him that I didn't know Father Christmas was going to give it to him otherwise I would have bought the sewing machine out to Lundy with us! It made the whole Santa thing seem very convincing! As it was, he loved making it and I was pleased to see he had remembered some of the things I had taught him during our first sewing lesson when he made his fairy tooth pillow. Clown is now his favourite toy apart from bunny of course. I guess the enjoyment of something can come as much from the satisfaction of making it as the finished object. A good lesson for Jenson to learn.
Also during the Christmas holidays Jenson designed his own tree house. I don't know where he got the idea from, like most of these things they are all self initiated by him. After he had drawn his plan, (and one for Wren too!) he set to work on building the model. I helped with some of the sticking but otherwise he did it all himself. It was satisfying to see how he had realised his 2-D plan as a 3-D model. In the Spring he is looking forward to building the real thing in the garden with Daddy. Daddy is a bit worried about how he is going to make it but he's an architect so has no excuse!!
Finally, we stuck the plan and picture of the model in Jenson's learning journal where he then practiced some writing by titling the page and numbering the process from 1. Draw plan, 2. Make model, 3. Build!
It's been a bit of a stop start sort of week for us. After the bank holiday on Monday we were back officially home ed'ing on Tuesday. Wren was straight back into nursery as I had a couple of photo shoots. The first was at the Green Dragon in Elkstone to do some interior shots and the second was an awards ceremony with MP Alex Chalk. I was wrapped up by lunchtime but it had still disrupted the flow of the whole day as I was in work mode and the kids were in play mode. Jenson did produce this splendid little book though all about a super worm! He started to write but quickly tired so he dictated while I sounded and wrote the sentences for him. He then very sweetly decided he wanted to give it to his friend Henry and so we popped it in an enveloipe and dropped it through their letterbox.
Wednesday was another awkward day as I had a hospital appointment at lunchtime that was weighing on my mind. I did manage to get the paints out though and made an attempt at showing the children how to mix different colours. My heart wasn't in it I must admit but there was effort.
The hospital appointment turned out fine so we had a more enjoyable afternoon playing with Lego and taking it easy. I'm not keen on this whole pink is for girls and blue is for boys nonsense and certainly don't like the idea of having boys and girls Lego. However, Wren is very much going through a girly phase at the moment and it would be unfair of me to deny her feelings. It's something she clearly needs to do. And so I spent a good hour sorting through the yellow boxes separating the few pink pieces of Lego from Jenson's many million bricks. Once sorted though Jenson was very sweet and helped her to build a meow house where rabbit, dog and kitty could come and stay and have a tea party. They spent most of the afternoon working on it so I did some work before we all nipped to the shops. A trip to the shops with these two normally resembles something of a riot with me receiving many scowls from other shoppers. However, on this occasion the children were remarkably helpful. They worked together and did all the scanning and packing. When we got home Jenson peeled and chopped all of the carrots for dinner too.
At the end of our first home schooling week for 2017 I'm feeling pretty relaxed. I've started running again on a regular basis and Jenson has joined me on a couple of occasions too. I feel less concerned about how we are fairing against school than I was last term. I guess that was to be expected having only pulled him from main stream school in October. Moving into a new year seems to put more distance between things, despite only being another month on. I had quite serious doubts about my abilities to be able to do this going into this week, but those are fading as I see how happy Jenson is and how his relationship with Wren is blossoming without the pressures of school. We are under no pressure, apart from what I put myself under and I think the longer we do this for the less pressure I will feel to compete with what school can offer. Jenson has complete faith in me. Maybe I should start believing in myself a little more.