I was in two minds about continuing to blog - it can be time-consuming when I am busy with multiple entries on my 'to-do' list, and with the exception of one or two who are really generous with their feedback, it can be weird wondering if anyone's actually reading. That's not a self-pitying hint for charity feedback by the way - I'm just being honest (insert winking smiley face here... why don't Blogspot have emoticons?) Anyway, I reminded myself that I started the blog for myself primarily - and it has been REALLY helpful to have it as a diary to look back on at certain times. I could just as easily have written it in Word, saved it to my PC and kept it private - but I thought it might help the odd person to see how it really is, warts and all (some times are more warty than others) for someone else on their own journey. So here I am, back again - and actually, really happy to be back again. As I (still in my PJs after we all had a rare lie-in) peeked out of the window and noticed my neighbours taking their children to school this morning I stopped and counted again the blessings of having my children at home with me. We are so happy learning at home (and elsewhere) together!
So we've had a lovely holiday - and confirmed that our holidays look hardly any different from "term-time" (except we don't usually stuff ourselves silly with rich party food or visit all our closest relatives within a few days).
No sooner had I written my last blog post of the year and declared us "on holiday" than the boys were creating, learning and exploring some more. Youngest has been learning about habitats, Middle launched into a new vein of creating, this time in a song-writing groove. It was lovely listening to him and Eldest as they chatted together, exploring different tunes and sound effects on their toy electric guitar and jumbo keyboard. I behaved myself and stayed out of it, but confess I did listen in every now and then - it was just too cute! Eldest found a PC game where he had to go round as a penguin, solving puzzles and rescuing undersea creatures etc - and he wrote a story involving a fart in a pond of acid (there was more to it than that, but that was his favourite bit!) Youngest has been doing a lot of 'writing' and drawing - and his fine motor skills are really improving. Their creativity has been endless.
The boys were also given some lovely creative games for Christmas presents - we're looking forward to getting into those! I think this is another benefit of HE: the boys get to more fully enjoy the toys etc that they are given. In previous years they would be blessed in abundance with presents from all sorts of family members and friends - and I hate to admit it, but they never got the full benefit of all their gifts, as they just never had time to enjoy them all before going back to school and the 'new stuff' getting forgotten. This year it's been lovely to have it all at our disposal, and know that we have all the time we want to explore their new games at our leisure. In fact we've deliberately saved some of it until this week, so we can really take our time and enjoy it, rather than getting it out, having a quick look, and putting it away again to move on to the next thing.
So yesterday saw the return of our much-loved Pyjama Monday. Well - except for the fact that Eldest and Middle forgot, and got dressed. Then later in the morning we realised we were out of eggs. We could have jumped into the car with Youngest in his PJs, and gone for a 5-minute drive, but I was determined to make the most of having time to do what we wanted - and if there's one thing I love, it's walking in the countryside, enjoying the fresh air. So Youngest happily put his clothes on, and we all went for a stroll - trying to sing together louder than the rooks above us were cawing. What a lovely start to the term!
Eggs purchased, and home again, we had fun making self-portraits using paper, oil pastels and wool - and Eldest made some scrummy toffee brownies for lunch while Middle carried on creating works of art and Youngest got absorbed into undersea adventures on the CBeebies website.
Middle (he did the wonky eyes on purpose Youngest (wearing a red hat)cos he thought it was funny)
hooray for home baking!
Today we have been to craft club, where the boys were happy to see old friends and make new ones - all the while having lots of fun "creating". As I mentioned to Heather who runs the group, it's so lovely seeing them free to explore their own creativity. Much more than when we were in school, they seem really happy to explore the resources available and come up with inventive ways of making things from their imaginations, or versions of things they have seen elsewhere. OK so they don't always do the suggested creation for the day (though usually at least one of them does), but Heather is so encouraging and helpful in whatever they are making, they absolutely love going.
Youngest made the weather mobile that was suggested - and did a really good job, I thought. I keep forgetting that he is growing in ability, and am often surprised at his improvement in controlling a paintbrush or pair of scissors. I claim responsibility for the raindrops - he ran out of patience for those - but he came back to make the sun, and finish the mobile...
Middle made a 'happy aeroplane' and painted a 'spooky picture'...
and Eldest made a balloon squid head...
Sometimes I wonder if I should get them to improve their work, or be more accurate, or finish it better... but then I wonder why? True, it may help them to do "better work" - but for whom? If they are happy with it, why can't I be? I always remember being told at school that I was no good at art, & consequently losing my love of it for decades. I don't want to put my boys off by being critical - and at the end of the day, where there's a sentence with a 'should' in it, that is enough for me to blow a metaphorical raspberry at the notion. I celebrate my children's art, not because they are gifted Artists-with-a-capital-A, but because they are happy and confident to express themselves - and if that's all they learn from me, I'll be happy with that.
And now I'm out of time again. There's so much more to say - there always is; this learning business never really stops, whether it's stuff we're trying to learn (such as how to make a balloon squid head) or the stuff we learn while learning how to make a balloon squid head (such as confidence to express ourselves without fear of criticism). I'll try to write more soon, but suffice it to say, we're really enjoying the "start of term". Though it's not that different to 'holiday-time', it's just another chance to relish again this funny but oh-so-rewarding journey that is Home Education.