Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Lessons in Independence, aka "Back off, Mummy"

So much for this being an easier week!!!  I've had a couple of really big projects of my own that needed finishing off this week (that I think I must have been in denial about), and although they were my idea and I've really enjoyed doing them (and the recipients were/ will be really blessed by them), part of me was also a bit miffed by missing out on returning to the gentle pace of just hanging out with my boys, watching them grow and having fun together...
Still, the lovely thing is, we'll be able to get back to it next week.  It's not like school half-term holidays when I always used to look forward to having a rest but then the week flashed past in a whirl of 'must-do' activities, cramming in as much neglected housework, family outings and visits to friends as we possibly could, leaving us as tired, if not more tired, than we started!
Anyway, in amongst all my head-down-must-get-this-finished-ness of this week so far, there have been some absolute gems that I wanted to share.  As most HEd'ors discover at some point, when the 'primary educator' is removed, the learners don't fall into chaos as they would in a classroom setting where they rely on the grown-up to tell them what to do - no, they just adapt; they carry on learning in their own way, finding out what they want to find out for themselves.  Sometimes I think seasons of being prevented from helping/ educating/ interfering (!) are a really good thing as they allow us to see how resourceful our children really are.  Mine have been drawing, designing, doing workbooks, reading LOTS, watching fascinating documentaries (by preference over Spongebob & pals!).  Youngest turned himself into a tiger by use of a red felt pen (non-washable!)  Middle has crafter paper planes and other paper models, they have created codes, made up games with each other, and so much more that I can't remember (this is why I try to blog more often - if I leave it more than a day or two I forget all the 'wow' moments).  Oh, and on Monday Eldest finally got his wish to get on Minecraft. You know, I tried to make sense of it, I really did, but no matter how many lovely patient people tried to explain it to me, all my brain could take in was blah blah minecraft blah blah server blah single player blah classic blah blah.  The website wasn't much help either - in the end I decided it was easier to pay the £20 (just under) and just set him up as a single player until we've worked the rest out so he can play safely with friends.  Anyway, he's loving it - and it is causing his brain to learn new ways of thinking and strategising, so all is good for now.  His joy at getting Minecraft for himself may well have been the contributing factor behind my lovely start to the day yesterday...
I was about to come downstairs from getting Youngest up, when Eldest called upstairs, "not yet, Mummy - I am making a surprise for you". When I was allowed downstairs shortly after, I was ushered into the front room where Eldest and Middle assumed the "ta-da" position, pointing towards the armchair and the table next to it...

As if that weren't enough from my two biggest boys (Eldest had no sweets so Middle had freely and generously donated some from his, as well as his favourite hedgehog toy for me to cuddle), Eldest had also emptied the dishwasher without needing to be reminded AND tidied up a huge pile of mess that was on the sofa in the lounge! All for me...!  Unsolicited...!  Now, marshmallows in chocolate and sweets for breakfast aren't really my thing (not that I told them that of course), but oh boy, the love that went into that sacrificial surprise - well, I've been floating on the thought of it ever since. I have filed it carefully at the forefront of my memory to hold on to next time Eldest gets a bit hyper or pre-teenish! I have such sweet boys... :)
Eldest really is growing, and showing signs of wanting to do more things for himself.  I am used to Youngest being Mr "I can do it BY MYSELF" - such as just now when he ran into the study having taken the batteries out of his camera & telling me it needed new ones.  When I mentioned I would have a look in a minute, he decided a minute was too long to wait, so immediately went to get the batteries for himself, opened the packaging and was about to insert them without assistance.  I think I'm equal parts stressed and proud about the fact that he is only four and sees no reason why he shouldn't do everything a grown-up can - in this case I only really had to intervene because I didn't want the dead batteries getting muddled up with the new ones!  Anyway, as I said, Eldest is also now finding confidence to do things for himself - eg he showers himself now - and today he made his own Ready Brek.  I know, he's ten - some would say it's about time!  But when you have a child who's happy to let you wait on them (most often a male thing), and you have younger children who need you to still do things, you get used to just doing it all.  Anyway, all three are out there right now making their own sandwiches.  I'm not used to that yet - it makes me feel bit guilty - but I know it's a good skill for them to learn - and even Middle (who is usually really happy to let me do everything for him) likes making his own sandwiches.  I just need to bite my tongue a bit - after all, does it really matter if the butter dish looks like a grenade has gone off inside it?
Thinking about it, I guess the whole parenting (and therefore Home Educating) process is a balance of increasingly backing-off while they find their feet, while still being constantly as present as always, ready to mop up spills, comfort the disappointed, and cheer them on as they give it another go... it could be a bit sad if it weren't for the fact that I get so many cuddles, kisses, and general joy along the way...


  1. Your last paragraph sums it up beautifully Rachel. Lovely post. x

  2. Great post. It's a bittersweet time isn't it - great that they're becoming more independent but sad for you that they're growing up so fast! I am going through it too, J will be 10 tomorrow and I'm very aware that I need to encourage more independence from him - today he made his very first sandwich! Love the "breakfast" they prepared for you, so sweet!

    1. Thanks Rachel :) Hope J had a lovely birthday :) x