So we're half-way through manic week!
I have cake and brownies cooling in the kitchen ready for my HE friends who are coming over tomorrow (NOT impressed with the kitchen scales that refused to work just as I started my third bake though - grrrrr) Meanwhile the boys (and their two friends who are visiting) are currently sat having movie-time (Yogi Bear + popcorn). I guess I could be tidying up (again!) but thought I'd pop in & update while I can...
On Monday my good friend and her girls popped in to say 'hi'. We haven't seen them since we visited them in Scotland at Easter (just as we left school) One of the first things she said was how much more calm this house and its inhabitants seems now. It's true, too. We've been doing this for a while now, and it's so easy to get caught up in the very minor stresses of HE and forget the much bigger stresses that we had in our pre-HE days. The house was much messier, I was a lot more stressed, the boys were tense - life was generally much more chaotic. We are comparatively so chilled now! I was chatting to a friend online earlier this afternoon, sharing techniques that I have used to help my boys when they've had a strop & lost control of themselves. It's made me so grateful that by Home Educating I've had the time to spend with my boys getting to know them better; I've had time to invest in them and help them through difficult behaviour. Before, we didn't have the time as everything was so full (not in a good way) so we just lurched from one emotional crisis to another (including my own). Now, although I am still really far removed from being a perfect parent, I have a few successful moments under my belt, and I'm so grateful for that! Just a happy 'taking stock' HE moment :)
Yesterday we had our fabulous day at Legoland. The journey there was a bit stressful as they were all really excited (it's over an hour's drive from here). At one point they were really bickering and kept asking me to tell the other off (not filling me with hope for an enjoyable day), so I just interrupted (not very patiently) and said that no-one was allowed to say anything else until we had taken turns for each of us to say one thing that they liked about each other person in the car. It turned into a really lovely time. Even Youngest came up with some really sweet contributions, and Middle got so enthused by the idea that he asked to have another turn at the end :) Peace was restored - at least until we got to Legoland where I was actually pretty surprised how busy it was, even off-peak - but of course we had a lovely time, and with only two or three queues all day! It was Youngest's belated birthday celebration, so he got to choose most of the rides that we went on - that was one happy boy by the end of the day (actually three happy boys), hooray :)
Today the boys had their friends over to play for the day - there was lots of dressing up, trampolining and jigsaw puzzles (well, emptying the puzzles all over the floor at least, so then they all got practice picking up the pieces and sorting them into the appropriate boxes), and quite a bit of creative play. Eg they all had a big bunch of grapes at the end of their lunch, and Middle found some wooden skewers and stuck a grape on each end to make a "dumbbell". The visiting girls then decided to thread grapes along the length of the entire skewer and make 'caterpillars'. Eldest then decided to make a bow and arrows out of the skewers, and then all sorts of creative chaos ensued involving stickers, string, shredded paper and lots of skewers. The boys are pretty good at creating new things out of whatever they find lying around anyway, and they really enjoyed having others around to bounce ideas off, to inspire them towards new creative ideas :)
So that's the week so far - really busy, but in a really good way. More fun planned for tomorrow's coffee morning, although with less cakes than I had planned, thanks to the scales going on strike - and then I get my hair done on Friday ready for the photos on Saturday. It's AGES since I had my hair done, so a little pampering is going to go down really well :)