Since starting home education, work has replaced wine of an evening! The photo editing I used to do while Jenson was at school is now done while Jenson is in bed. It's just like the old days really, pre-school, but it's amazing how quickly you forget how it feels to have to burn the midnight oil and how easily you get used to lighting that candle again.
It's not something I mind at all. I was loosing the enthusiasm for my photography but since we've started home schooling I've found a new sense of passion and creativity. I could see how much school was sucking the life out of Jenson but I didn't realise it was doing the same to me.
Yesterday was the first day ever that Jenson accompanied me on a photo shoot. It was with a newborn baby in Swindon. I packed him a large amount of lunch in the hope it would distract his boredom, which over a 60 minute shoot was inevitably going to kick in. We arrived and he very kindly helped me carry all the props and support aids in from the car.
He really impressed me with his patience. I tried to get him involved by asking him to spell out the baby's name OWEN with the wooden tiles I had brought. I got OEWN. The fact he tried was really all that mattered. What also mattered was that he saw what Mummy gets up to at work. He knows that Mummy goes on photo shoots but I don't suspect he ever really understood what that actually meant. He does now.
In America, 'Take Your Child To Work Day' has become a big thing. It's aimed more at 8-18 year olds but I think it has real value to any child of any age.
Of course Jenson is not at an age yet to be thinking about his end goals, (he can barely get past thinking about lunch without having a meltdown!) but there is something really important about children being exposed to this side of their parent's lives. After all, many of us probably spend about 90% of our lives working really hard to provide for ourselves and our family. Children need to see that to appreciate the importance of working hard to fulfil their personal ambitions, to get on in life and ahead of the game but perhaps most importantly, dare I say it, to realise their dreams, and you're never too young to dream.
After his successful first day on the job, today I had two more photo shoots. The first was in Dowdeswell with a company called School Zone. They wanted some new profile pics and group shots for their website. We had a lot in common. Many of them were ex-primary school teachers from Cheltenham who had quit because, like me, they disagreed with the system. It was interesting to hear their side of the story. They told me how they felt teaching had lost its purpose and was simply about getting the children to reach targets. They said they felt guilty because they could see the pressure they were putting the children under and yet they had no choice. I didn't bring Jenson on this shoot. It was 60 minutes, on location in dense woods with lots of walking and steep hills. He had a much more enjoyable few hours spent with a Mum from school, sat in All Bar One doing drawings and eating shots of smarties! He did join me on my second photo shoot, which was in the studio at our house. It was with a dog but mostly Jenson played in his 'kitty' den he had built with Wren the previous evening.
We picked Wren up from nursery and headed to Primrose Vale Farm Shop. After a couple of days of watching Mummy work, some much needed play was needed. We got there at about 3pm and had the place to ourselves until we got kicked out when it shut at 5.
All in all I'd say it's been a good first week of home education. I can't say that any of us miss school. Jenson seems much brighter and more engaged and his relationship with Wren seems to be going from strength to strength.
We're making memories, and their good ones.