Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Focusing on the right thing

I've been feeling a bit flat lately.  Not in the run-over-by-a-steamroller way - although I have had my moments - but just less sparkly or enthusiastic than usual.  If course, there are some very good reasons for this as regular readers will know - it's understandable & I'm not beating myself up over it - just noting it.  My reason for sharing it here is that I think while all home educators have seasons of real energy and vision (by nature we have to be visionaries, to go against the flow of mainstream education), at times we also have seasons of less energy; maybe less confidence or direction.  And that is OK.  It's natural - in fact, I think it's healthy.  I was sharing with a friend recently the seasonal nature of a child's learning: periods of intense obvious growth and enthusiasm, followed by periods of quiet reflection when there appears to be no interest in anything much - but after which season, when learning becomes more active again it becomes apparent that great strides have been made in their understanding while they were resting.  Well, as with children, so with us adults: I think it's healthy to recognise the seasons in our own motivation and energy, and to run with the strengths of each season - whether the energy & drive of the high-vision moments, or the consolidating strength of the resting periods.

So that being said, I've been focusing on the strengths of where we're at.  I could give in to my slightly dissatisfied feelings of 'not doing enough'/ 'are they learning anything'... the usual wobbles - or I could acknowledge how much is actually going on.  If I was feeling negative I would say 'they just watched TV this morning'.  In actual fact, they were watching "Artzooka" (an excellent art & craft programme that really inspires their own creativity) and "Finding Stuff Out" (this morning's episode learning about the sun, solar power, solar system etc) - and "Octonauts" which helped Youngest to learn about the Mariana Trench (deepest part of the ocean).  I could be discouraged that it's taken Middle a couple of months to finish his latest lapbook - or I could rejoice that his interest in the chosen subject (volcanoes) has continued for that long, despite not having the desire/ opportunity to work on his project book... and indeed rejoice that he completed his lapbook today, still as eager to share what he knows as he was at the beginning!  (*lapbook photos to follow soon hopefully - I ran out of time this evening*)  I am occasionally tempted to worry if I am "forcing" the boys to do their online curricula, and thereby ruining their natural love of learning, despite knowing that they chose MathsWhizz and Reading Eggs themselves - but today I am just so encouraged that Eldest has finally managed to conquer an area in maths that he had come up against a few times and was finding a challenge.  He hadn't complained about it (apart from the first time when he hit the issue and needed me to reassure him that "failing" wasn't a problem: as long as he kept practicing he would get there in the end) - and today, his look of accomplishment was a joy to behold!   And I could, if I was feeling really low (I'm not actually this bad), feel guilty about the amount of time that we're spending outside, and not "doing lessons" - not that we do lessons anyway, but you know what I mean - but actually it's been such a long, cold and hard winter/ spring, we are just rejoicing in the opportunity to top up our vitamin D, to go for long rambles, interacting with nature, often while socialising with friends, before it gets cold and wet again, and we retreat to our cosy home.

Anyway, you get the point: I'm learning with my children that everything about Home Ed is seasonal and there are different strengths and weaknesses to each season.  Oh, and finally, speaking of seasons, I couldn't go without sharing Eldest's latest photos from his camera trap (inspired by the very seasonal Springwatch).  We got some more lovely photos, this time from pointing the camera towards the woodland behind our garden... we were very excited to see the results, and hope you enjoy them too...

 hooray, it's a fox!
Foxy's spotted something...
whatever it is, he's not happy about it... 

and the biggest squeals of excitement saved for...

the badger (or its bum, at any rate)


  1. amazing photos captured again - well done.
    We had a lovely day outdoors today with our local ASD home-ed group and i'm giving the boys some time off 'lesson' time whilst the sun is shining. hope u r feeling yourself again soon. I have had postnatal depression for the first time in my life after having T last year and it has come as a surprise to me to feel this way - lacking in energy and enthusiasm too. like u say - so important not to feel guilty about feeling this way though. lots of love, xxx

    1. Thanks BB - one of my favourite things about Home Ed (there are many) is the freedom to get outdoors & enjoy it while the sun shines :) Sorry to hear about the PND, it can be vicious. I'm glad you can see it for what it is though, & hopefully not beat yourself up, but be kind to yourself xx

  2. Wow, wonderful pics, and how fab to have a badger living so close to you as well! I know about that "flat" feeling - we are still in our rather prolonged "slump" but I am telling myself that most of that is down to J's ASD issues, and that we are still better off than if he were at school. I think it's great that we can give our children the time to just be themselves and not have to worry about tests and levels. There will be plenty of time for "formal" learning in the future.
    R x

    1. Thanks Rachel! we are very excited about the badger! I totally agree that you are still better off than if he were at school. Sometimes when it gets hard I have to remind myself that even when I feel I'm totally failing them, at least they are relaxed and happy, unlike when I felt I was failing them by leaving them in an environment where they were anxious and depressed. I'm sure you and your son will get there - ASD doesn't make for an easy ride, but yes, at his age there is no need to worry about "formal learning". Hope you have a good week xx