I think one of the beauties of home educating is that there are no real boundaries between education and the whole of our lives. Within the course of a day, multiple opportunities arise when you least expect them, questions which astonish you by their depth and perception, moments of clarity as a new concept is grasped, the unique opportunity that presents itself to illustrate something which caused many questions yesterday.
The last few weeks have been busy, but there have been some highlights which I would like to share:
1) Mummy got fixed by the doctors. During my last pregnancy (almost 2 years ago now), I was in and out of hospital with vomiting, and the vomiting just continued every day after the birth. I knew what the problem was, and last month I had surgery to my stomach to correct it. This was successful, but for about four weeks I was unable to lift the boys. Not being able to drive was not really a handicap, but my sons are very lively and energetic and I was not sure how their energy and need to jump and climb be very physical would be. I was astonished by their concern for me. They keep asking me when I am going to be sick, and then thanking God that the doctors could fix me. They keep asking if the doctors allow me to eat certain foods (I am on a special diet for a while).They are being very gentle and kind (when they remember) and quick to say sorry when they are not. Even this time of illness has been an educational opportunity in terms of them showing kindness and gentleness. (Every so often, we 'revisit' the fruits of the Spirit and look to see how these have, or have not been manifest in their lives. They have surprised me this month).
2) Spring is on its way. The last few days have been explosions of glorious spring. They boys have taken delight in showing me the buds, the fresh green leaves, the snowdrops and crocuses. They've noticed the warmer air. Yesterday, we were out early to go to a farmers' market and the birdsong was a delight. The boys were able to celebrate this, and started to sing 'Summer and winter and springtime and harvest, sun moon and stars in their courses above' - from Great is thy faithfulness. Its one of my favourite hymns, but I did not realise they knew it so well.
3) We've had a few longer field trips - I've seen it as part of my rehabilitation, to build up my exercise tolerance. So, we've been to the museums in town. We've had a couple of long park walks. We caught the train up to the coast, and walked along the beach to the next station and travelled home again. We took our 'collectors' bags, and gathered welks eggs, differnet kinds of shell, seaweed and some old rope. The boys suprised me by using the razor shells to draw out large letters on the sand. (I've mentioned elsewhere, but one of my boys can pretend not to know his letters, but in this kind of situation almost forgets to pretend, and does amazingly well).
4) Generally I've seen an improvement in their social interaction, such that they have little conversations with older people who speak to them on buses and trains. I don't mean that I am careless and let them talk with any stranger, but I am meaning friendly individuals who ask them their names, or how old they are etc. This is something I know other home educators comment on - that the children actually become better socialised because they are exposed to real people living real lives. I'm starting to see, and celebrate, evidence of this.
5) Just a general contentment. Some days we are very active, and are outside much of the day and walk miles and have adventures. Other days, we have more stories, reading books and quiet activities. Some days involve lots of socialisation, whereas we sometimes go several days without meeting with friends. But we can't easily plan these things. The last few days have brought spring sunshine after a long season of rain; any indoor activities can wait on days like these! And its that flexibility, and ability to respond to changes in weather, in health, in energy levels, that makes home education so delightful. To be able to say, 'writing practice can wait, we're going to the beach!'
Not every day has been momentous. Not every day has been easy. But generally, day by day, I am encouraged. Your home education journey will have been different to mine over these past weeks. But more than anything I pray that as parents we can all have the wisdom to embrace the opportunities that arise, and to respond to the needs (educational, discipline, health, emotional) of each individual child as we seek to see them growing physically and spiritually.
- I am a Christian mother of five, and our highest goal as a family is to serve God in every aspect of our lives. Jesus promised His disciples 'life in all its abundance' (John 10:10) - that has been our story, a rich life, not devoid of challenges, but certainly abundant. Previously writing at www.homeeducationnovice.blogspot.com, we have come to realise that education is just one area where our faith shapes our choices and direction in life. This blog seeks to share our adventure.