Friday, 15 March 2013

Reclaiming our Time

I think this week we've made up for our recent lack of art... today Eldest wanted to have a go at doing wax resist pictures.  First he tried drawing a picture in white wax crayon onto wax paper, and then gently going over it with a soft pencil - unfortunately this didn't work for him, so I suggested trying it again but with watercolour paint.  This worked much better, so Middle had a go too.  Youngest wasn't interested in the wax crayon, so he did a different sort of  'reverse art': he cut out some shapes to lay on paper then I showed him how to use a toothbrush to spray paint onto the picture.  We removed the shapes and added detail with a felt pen... et voila!  He also did a "toothbrush dabbing pattern" and then an 'abstract' (aka 4yo) painting of the night.  Meanwhile I did my own 'night-time' project using the masking fluid that I'd been waiting to try out for a while (none of the boys wanted to try it today)... Anyway, artistic urges satisfied for now!

 Eldest's 'Snake'

 Middle's Alphabet

Youngest's 'Happy Zombie'

 also by Youngest, above and below....

 Mummy's 'Moon-owl'
Otherwise this week has been a very busy one.  You can tell spring is coming... even if the weather is still feeling wintry, the local home Ed'ors all seem to be coming out of hibernation and organising events.  This week we've had social play dates, craft club, sports club and soft play... but I feel like we've lost a bit of direction again.  I was chatting to a friend about it this morning, and I'm thinking I need to just try to reclaim the week's routine a bit.  Nothing too heavily structured... it's just that usually the majority of the boys' more obvious learning seems to take place in the mornings - and it's the mornings that have mostly been occupied this week, which has thrown us a bit.  I've started reading a book today called Project Based Learning by Lori Pickert (thank you Sam for recommending it) - and as with any pedagogical book, it's a matter of sifting through the theory to find the gems that will be really helpful.  So far the introduction & first chapter were really inspiring and spot-on, and then there was a chapter that I'm trying to work out how - or if - I could apply the theory (that the author recommends you start at age 2-4) with my older boys... but the bit that I have been poked by today is the need to let children have enough space to pursue their own interests.  This seemed to confirm my unease about our week: it's not that I think they should be "knuckling down" to work - just that I feel I'm doing them a disservice if I drag them off daily to attend social groups when they actually would benefit from time at home to discover and explore whatever it is they really want to spend their time on.
So anyway, my conclusion as I said is that I think I need to reclaim the week's routine.  Mondays as Pyjama Days work really well.  I'm not going to make it a rule that we can't go out on Mondays, but I am not going to give up those days lightly, as they've proved to be some of our favourite days so far!  It really helps me to have at least one day when I know we won't be going anywhere - it makes for an easier, gentler pace - and having days like that as the first day of the week is a great way to refocus after the "Daddy's home" fun and chaos of the weekends.  Tuesdays is craft club in the mornings - and that's great.  The boys love it, and are ready for it after a day at home - it's just a lovely group, I'm confident we'll stick with that.  Wednesdays are usually the days when one-off opportunities happen - I'll just try to keep any arrangements to the afternoons.  There is a local library group on Wednesday mornings that I've been wanting to go to,  but I think another morning group would be a mistake for us.  On Thursdays we have a sports group at lunchtime that is quite new.  It's a bit early (11.30am) if I want to protect our mornings, but the people are all totally lovely, and the boys love running around and burning off energy... we'll see.  And on Fridays we've been meeting every other week in the local soft play centre.  I reckon we'll probably knock that one on the head - maybe move to the local parks in the afternoons once the weather improves (what are you laughing at?)... or maybe go in the afternoons instead!
It's such a balancing act, trying to make sure the boys (and I) get enough time to socialise as well as time to pursue what they want to do... As with everything though, we'll just assess where we're at, adjust what needs adjusting, and keep on enjoying ourselves; that sounds like the best recipe for successful HE to me!  As Lori Pickert says (see book link above),
"If your child deserves to learn at his own pace and have his own ideas, so do you.  Whatever you champion for your child, make sure you also give to yourself: the right to follow your own path, work at your own pace, follow your own interests, make mistakes, and try again.  Whatever you want for your children, you are far more likely to help them achieve it if you live it yourself."
Great advice!  Have a lovely weekend everyone xx


  1. that is a great quote to remember! I know what you mean about getting the balance right re structure, socialising, events, outings etc. have a good weekend. xxx

    1. thank you, we had quite a chilled weekend... hope you had a good one too :)

  2. glad you are enjoying the book — if you’d like to talk more about using pbh with older kids and teens, check out our forum! :)

    1. ooh thanks Lori, will check it out :)