Lately I've been trying to put my finger on the slightly unsettled feeling I've been having - and I've come to the conclusion that partly I think it's because somewhere in the muddle of this term, I lost hold of the lovely routine we had been developing in September. In between asthma attacks, baby hedgehogs and dying laptops, we got distracted, and it's taken me this long to be able to refocus. Also I think it's largely something to do with the season: the cold weather has definitely kept us indoors more than in the summer (especially as Youngest hasn't been fully well) - and I always feel a bit stifled if I don't get my frequent walks in the woods. And I think we're just feeling a bit lethargic - we all seem to have lost energy a bit.
Knowing that it's a seasonal thing definitely helps in dealing with it though. Just as in nature, during winter the trees are bare and the ground is hard, so with us: we have slowed down and aren't seeing many obvious signs of growth - and just as I know the spring will bring new growth and freshness, I am confident that just around the corner are seasons for us of fresh enthusiasm and rapid growth. Actually, I think it's a positive thing: all land needs time to lie fallow, in order to replenish strength and gather new reserves - and that's what we're doing. With that in mind, I'm not so bothered by the different pace of this term - really we're ticking along nicely, mooching along between online curricula & TV learning programmes, interspersed with books to read and pictures to draw, walks (albeit shorter ones) outside and meeting with friends. And even the socialising seems to have a different feel: whereas in the summer there were lots of outdoor meet-ups and field-trips (sometimes literally: trips to fields where they could run about, have fun and experience nature in all its rich glory), in winter we seem to be more home-based, less likely to go out in big groups and more likely to have friends round in smaller cosier groups of one or two families.
That said, today was our big group trip to the local soft play area, and quite a few families turned up today - it was a really lovely time. We all had a good natter (mums) and play (children) - in fact Eldest was ready to come home before I was! (I think that had something to do with wanting to see what happened in Wild Tales). That was pretty much the whole day covered, and I felt it made up a bit for having been at home for most of the week!
Yesterday was a bit more typical: the morning saw Eldest and Middle on MathsWhizz. I need to try to persuade them to do their curriculum work at separate times, otherwise they seem to get distracted very easily with each other's work. Afterwards Eldest got fully absorbed into the "What If" section of GridClub, which was on "what if you did Maths all day?" (he loved it!). Middle and Youngest enjoyed playing with Playdoh, and they all had fun playing on the Wii. I've steered them away from the Lego Star Wars game for now as they got too wound up by it; Wiiparty and the Christmas Wii game we have are much more about teamwork and generally less intense play. We also found the boys' 'Wild Times' comics that they get from the RSPB, so they enjoyed looking through those - Youngest in particular. And of course, there was lots of TV learning, snuggled up on the sofa, learning about biology (Wild Tales - of course), geography (William Whiskerson), history (Horrible Histories) etc. Speaking of TV, it's not all couch-based learning: Today after we came home and watched the unmissable Wild Tales, we then watched a programme called Croc Man that Eldest had found in the 'recommended section of our planner. They loved it. As part of the programme the 'croc man' was given planning permission for a specialist crocodile zoo in Witney where he lives - so we're all going to have to visit now! Hooray for inspiration to get out and have a new experience :)