Sunday, 3 June 2012

weekends and holidays

The wet weather is back again!  I'm not complaining: moaning about the weather is one of our nation's less attractive traits, I reckon - and we do need the rain.   I have to admit though, it has kind of brought a stop to any excursions we were thinking of undertaking today.  At least the boys are happy to have Daddy at home to play with, and I've been making the most of some time to catch up with sorting my photos - or at least make a start on them!
The nice things about weekends is that because we - or I - still tend to subconsciously think in terms of learning happening during certain hours from Monday to Friday, the rest of the time (weekends, holidays and some evenings) feels free from obligation.  Of course, we're not at school any more, but that old habit of weekend relaxation is a welcome relief from the 'should's that were hounding me last week!  The boys' way of thinking is obviously changing though - they are getting used to having space to play and explore whenever they want to - and so that is what they have been doing today - for them it doesn't just switch off on a Friday afternoon!  We've had more 'Deadly 60', discussing animals that kill animals for food; we've had computer games with Daddy (I'm still aware of DS1's desire for weekends to feel special - not that it seems to have bothered him so much this weekend); we've drawn pictures; we've watched some of the Flotilla down the Thames, and have talked about history, music, culture - and made boats and bridges with lego.
So really, from a point of view of opportunities to learn, today could have been any other day.  Whereas when the boys were in school there was a sharp difference between weekdays (all work) and weekends (all play), now they get to play most of the time - with me around to provide them with ideas for play that stimulate learning.   The old-style 'weekend play' relied heavily on the Wii and TV to almost switch off their brains... I'm really pleased that's no longer the case - their play now is generally more investigative and creative rather than passive. Similarly with this week coming, which is the local schools' half-term holiday: in terms of time on or off, it doesn't really make any difference to us any more - they can play and explore as much as they like!
However, it probably will feel different: the first two days are bank holidays, so we will still have Daddy home - and from Wednesday to Friday, although I would happily see it as any normal 'Home Ed' time (whatever normal in Home Ed is), the boys have a great opportunity to catch up with their old friends who are still in school, so there will probably be more socialising than anything else this week.  I'm actually looking forward to that - in the old school days I had to make sure they had enough time to relax, amongst all the socialising.  Nowadays we can fill up the week with seeing friends, and they can rest again the week after and go back to the more relaxed pace that comes with learning at home. :)
It's still quite possible that we'll end up being a bit more structured during the week, and therefore might have more of a distinction between days on and off - but I still believe that we're in the deschooling period, and so during this time we will continue to make the boys' learning an autonomous experience (with a very light guiding hand where necessary), with no big difference between weekday, weekends and holidays, other than the opportunity for family time (weather and non-exhausted parents allowing), and for catching up with friends still in school.   The more I think about it, the more I can feel my equilibrium returning.

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