We have thundered into October 2014 on a juggernaut of routines, get ups and brain-draining logistics. The alarm clock is my new enemy – it now goes off in the dark and it’s a daily headache. For the first time in my life, I can’t believe how quickly the weekend spins around!
So September has been filled with…cars breaking, kids schooled in opposite directions, clubs every night, homework completion, cycling and running to school, taking care of businesses, lesson planning and bill paying. Housework? Well, that’s left in the gaps when E is asleep! As you can imagine then, the house is upside-down.
If this was to be life for the next fourteen years, I think I would struggle to pin a smile on every day. It certainly wouldn’t be genuine. What has kept me going is the knowledge that we are just riding a storm. I know it won’t be forever. I know that all being well, our home education journey will have begun this time next year. And that will be the latest! Every day, E becomes more manageable, the garden is beginning to take shape, and I am sure that our fantastic outside learning space will be the icing on the cake.
There have been some things that have upset Darrell and I when hurrying the children through their morning hoops…I comments that he ‘hates’ long days at school, that he wants to go back to the previous group and his old teacher, and I can relate to this as there is a distinct lack of warmth in his current class. Even when he comes out of school, some of the negativity that comes out of his mouth makes me want to scoop him up and out of his punishing schedule. Even I would struggle to do the hours he clocks in at that place – these are the hours of an adult working full-time….and he’s not even five. Even writing this fills me with sadness. W is pragmatic and less than enthusiastic about school, and the OFSTED awarded this week sums this up – not stretching the children, children restless and left without tasks in class (I have spotted this when I have visited the school) and children told what to do, instead of what they are learning. No wonder he is totally switched off, though he behaves like an angel in class and of course always does as he’s told.
E is happy, relaxed, and has the joy of a mummy during the day who doesn’t have to rush, can cuddle him and talk to him and take him everywhere. I thank my lucky, lucky stars that I am given this brilliant situation, and of course this wonderful, beautiful boy who fills everybody’s world with joy. I hope that shortly I can fill my bigger boy’s days with the happiness Eti is experiencing at the moment. On a weekly basis, we are spending time with ‘Great Nana’ who is in her nineties, visting the library (E could probably do the whole thing himself, from the lift to the self check-out) and we are visiting a nearby toddler theme park that we have an annual pass for, so that our littlest boy gets the ‘special time’ with mummy that the other boys had when they were young. I am on a waiting list for the toddler group round the corner from us (I know – very popular), but when people ask me about pre-school I try to be vague and remind people there is NO NEED for this now – he has just turned two, and is doing all the social interaction he needs to do at the moment.
I have made a step in the right direction when it comes to working smart and not hard, so that I am free to enrich my children’s life with learning, with me as their enabler. Our working week will not be the conventional 9-3, far from it, it will be when it is right for all of us, and I want to follow their lead more than anything!
I had to make the tough decision to reduce my teaching ‘contact’ time, and the logical decision was to invite my local drama group to move to a weekday class nearby so leave the weekend class free for the first time in six years. This is such an exciting move – as the weekends can be ours to go here, there and everywhere, learning as we go! I am already planning our weekends away, and hopefully they’ll be such fun they won’t even notice how much they’re learning! This will happen from February 2015, so our field trips are only 5 months away!
So, darkness is descending, the schedules are punishing and D and I feel ground down to the bone, but regeneration and metamorphosis is as close as the next Spring! And we have the wonderful distractions of Christmas and big boys’ birthdays to keep spirits up.