In my first post about our home ed journey I explored some of the reasons why we’ve made this decision and what we hope might happen. Today I’m looking back over our first month and trying to remember what we actually got up to!
September has seen a pleasingly slow transition from summer to autumn. I get anxious about the arrival of autumn; the start of a new school terms forbodes of grey weather, dark evenings and the squeezing of the enjoyable part of the day into a tiny window, the rest of the time to be spent shivering under a blanket unable to spark myself into action. Every year I forget though, that September and October are often beautiful months and indeed we’ve had many enjoyable days outside, albeit in coats some of the time (except Freya; she’s determined to stay in her summer dresses).
We caught the splash park for the last time before it closed for the season.
We attended one of our first facebook-home-ed-group-organised outings, to Pitstone Windmill, a National Trust site. My dad came too (good job too as I couldn’t have managed both kids on the steep steps!) It was a relatively quick visit as we had to vacate the tiny carpark for the next group, but it left an impression on Freya and now I’m looking for library books to follow up the experience. To make the most of the gorgeous sunshine we headed over to nearby Ashridge estate where the main priority for both girls was squelching in muddy puddles and poking the ground with sticks. Freya turns almost everything into an imaginative game; I think this time she was the queen mixing up muddy potions, and then she was Rapunzel and was exploring out from the tower into the woods.
Our home ed circle also continues to enable weekly opportunities for outdoor play (and outdoor tea-drinking for the mums. We even have our own mugs now…which the kids couldn’t resist helping us decorate.) These friendships are essential to my own general wellbeing, and I also love the easy-going environment for the children to play on their own, or together, or in pairs, or with their mum, or someone else’s mum…
Immersed in a lovely play invitation set up by Tanya – play dough and sticks and little figures.
As a family we’ve been taking little steps over the years to make our garden easier to play in. Our garden is steep, brambly and stinging-nettly! This autumn we’re finally going to try and create a level lawn. Jeff and my brother have dug a patch over and we now have to get some support in to hold the soil in the right places before we can sow seed. I really hope it works. I long for the kids to have grass to play on next spring.
This year, every other week my husband Jeff is taking a day to be with the children. The other week Freya said she wanted to see planes, and after a quick google Jeff discovered the de Havilland aircraft museum not too far away. Here the children spent the day climbing into fighter jet cockpits and pretending to be business class passengers in the 60s!
The kids have, of course, been doing all sorts of things with their grandparents every week – visiting the library, playing in the park, baking, reading…I’ll have to invite them to write a guest post sometime!
In my personal journal last month I noted that a priority in my eyes for our home ed journey is to develop our family relationships, especially the bond between the sisters. Freya hasn’t found it especially easy, losing her only-child status and discovering that this other child demands a lot of her parents’ time and energy. However, Hannah is changing at a rate of knots, as tiny ones do, and her language development is definitely helping Freya to enjoy her more as playmate. I’ve tried to allow lots of time for simple silliness and laughter between them to aid the bonding process. Freya invented a game called The Oopsie Club where they run in circles on my bed then fall on their backs “oopsie!!” It has them in hysterics. These times almost always turn into aggressive roughness from Freya towards Hannah. So we’re still learning. I’m learning how to help Freya release whatever’s in her in an appropriate way. Freya’s learning about gentleness. Slowly. I’ve learned these times are best in the morning (and getting out of the house does take ages!) as in the afternoon the roughness takes over much more quickly and Hannah is much less resilient to it too. I am also aware that we still haven’t found ways to give Freya time with one or both parents on her own, not often enough anyway.
What’s coming up? More of me coping with the change in the seasons – I’m in the process of writing an autumn bucket list inspired by a friend. I want to share this with Freya and instil a cosy ‘hygge’ feeling of autumn to help me stay upbeat! Freya will turn five, so I’ll be in the thick of party organising in a couple of weeks. And hopefully lots of snuggles, cuddles and reading (and even watching tv).
Linking up with Beautiful tribe, Enchanted Pixie and Along Came Cherry for This Homeschooling Life.