"I love routine.
Until I'm bored, then I love excitement.
Until I'm overwhelmed, then I love routine."
I can't think of any other way to sum up my experience of Home Education so succinctly - and right now I am well-and-truly in the 'overwhelmed & craving routine' phase. For weeks I have been saying "next week we'll get back to normal" Now I know there's not really any such thing as normal - but some good ole reliable routine is what I've been after - and no, I still haven't got it. A series of downright inconvenient interruptions have conspired to keep me away from the routine I'm hoping for...
Firstly, my laptop broke down. This is the main reason for my not being on here for so long. I can use eldest's computer in the study, but this removes me from the front room where the boys do most of their hanging out, learning, playing etc - so that's not so good until after they are in bed, at which point I have had LOADS to catch up on & not enough time.
Then the project I had on last week took even longer once my laptop died - finally being completed early this week, so I will hopefully have spare time again (well - spare time as in time to blog, clean, plan etc)...
Also, last week we had the most gorgeous interruption to routine that came in the shape of a hedgehog. Knowing that hedgehogs are generally in trouble in this country, and being the lovers of wildlife that we are, we have been keeping an eye out for our regular nocturnal visitors, and weighing them (they have to be 600g or more for them to survive hibernation - if interested in helpng hedgehogs, you can get good advice here). The first hedgie we weighed was over 900g, so no worries there - but the second one was 407g & therefore not big enough to survive without help, so we took him in & started phoning round for a place to take him. What we hadn't realised was that there have been a great deal of late litters this year, and all the local shelters were full - so we realised we'd have to give it a go looking after him ourselves. I wasn't keen on the responsibility of rehabilitating a wild animal with no previous experience, but we all fell in love with "Tiny" as we named him, and promptly researched as much as we could, drilled holes into the lid of a plastic storage box, lined it with newspaper plus hay and leaves, added some water and cat food + hedgie food - and committed to weighing him & cleaning him every night until he reached the desired weight. Unfortunately he just didn't put weight on, and after a week without real success I regretfully decided he would be better off in a proper 'hedgehog hospital', so we rang around some more and finally found someone to take him in yesterday. I'm relieved that he will be getting expert help, but we really miss him - and Eldest has been leaving forlorn little commemorations around the place. Talk about tugging at the maternal heart-strings!
As if that wasn't enough upheaval, we had a fun weekend away visiting some lovely friends, which was planned - so all well there, and much fun was had with tractors, fireworks and exploring the beautiful Pensthorpe Nature Reserve - but on Sunday Youngest started having problems with his breathing. I resolved to take him to our local out-of-hours surgery on the way home, but when we phoned them they wanted to send an ambulance. As we were by then only ten minutes away we drove to A&E ourself, where I spent the next six hours while they stabilised his breathing again. He had never been diagnosed with asthma, and it seemed to appear out of the blue... it was pretty horrid, really, even though it wasn't what one would call a bad attack. Hubby has lived with asthma all his life, and we know it's manageable, but it still upset me. Hopefully I will learn to resist the temptation to become an obsessive, over-protective Mama - but right now I'm still slightly traumatised from seeing my baby in a hospital bed, unable to breathe clearly. Still, children that young don't know how to do 'being ill', so despite his wheezing etc he had a lovely time using the disposable sick bowl as a hat, charming the nurses, putting stickers over his new inhaler spacer, and eventually trying to work out what all the knobs and levers did on the bed - at which point I knew he was about well enough to go home!
Incidentally, while we were there one of the nurses made some comment about whether Youngest was in school yet, and when we mentioned home education there was a slight awkward pause - I could almost hear him mentally writing it on our notes for follow-up. If we get a call from the LEA shortly, we'll know why!
Anyway, Youngest is doing much better now (my emotions are taking a bit longer to recover - I coped fine while we were there; as usual it was only afterwards that I just wanted to cry - delayed shock I guess), and he was thrilled when we went to the chemist today to get a new inhaler, and we found & bought a cheap toy doctors kit. Bring on the role play!
So, all of the above has left me craving some "boredom"! I haven't been paying attention to the boys' learning, so feel like I'm failing them somehow (not too seriously though - I'll get over that feeling soon enough, I'm sure). Eldest has been devouring books and documentaries on TV; Middle has been reading too, and drawing endless pictures, and Youngest has just been exploring everything he can get his hands on. I'm not sure I dare suggest that "next week we'll be back to normal" - but it would be nice!
"Iceberg Land" by Middle
- prompted by "Operation Iceberg" that we watched on catch-up TV today.
You need to have seen the programme to appreciate the detail that went into this - eg that's not scribble on the left; it's an artist's impression of the enormous dirty, crumbling glacier about to give birth to an iceberg. The fish, whale, narwhal & submarine are all artistic license, but proud Mummy moment for his putting them in the correct habitat ;)
"Owl for Mummy" by Middle