Wednesday, 9 September 2015

First Day Back

I had all good intentions of  commencing this term's Home Ed at the beginning of last week, but we had been away for a long bank holiday weekend exploring Worcestershire, and badly needed a couple of days to recover.  By Thursday I suppose we could have made a start, but the boys had a couple of playdates and we just couldn't seem to get motivated or organised.  Never mind, I thought, most local schools were only just starting, and we might as well enjoy the lack of compulsory term dates, so decided to leave it until this week.  I had forgotten that this Monday the boys' friend had a mid-morning + lunch birthday party at LaserKombat (Middle and Youngest's first time), and then our monthly soft play session, usually on a Weds, had been moved to Tuesday (yesterday) because of maintenance at the venue... with the result that today has been our first successful attempt to resume "education".

(Yes unschoolers, I know that learning happens all the time, but we have very clear periods of "time-off" when the boys are free to do mostly what they like, and periods of "education" when Mummy is focused on facilitating learning experiences for the boys.  I'm sure they are learning all the time whether I am focused or not, but as it is my legal responsibility to ensure that my children get a suitable education, our family fulfils that by having periods where I make sure I am fully engaged to that purpose - and periods when I can relax without having to monitor their activities, even if that results in my researching future possible activities or writing up what we did.)

The boys informed me that Monday and Tuesday did still count because they had lessons in shooting (ahem), target practice, team work, strategy etc - and the fact that Eldest won his games and Youngest came third and then second even though it was his first time playing, encouraged me to accept that there was skill involved (not to mention some slightly scary natural ability).  Middle later said that he was a bit disappointed about not scoring highly enough to get a place on the podium (one reason why I don't like competetive games) but I said I was really proud that he overcame his anxiety that had prevented him from joining in on previous parties that he had been invited to.  He really enjoyed himself and as I reminded him, his skillset may well be different to his brothers, but attitude counts for a lot - and his attitude was great :)  The soft play session yesterday - although very tiring coming the day after another full-on active day - was also lots of fun, and as the other Mums and I chatted and encouraged each other, sharing our new term struggles and plans, the children had a great time honing their social skills and getting LOTS of exercise.  Personality clashes happened, some of which they sorted out without needing assistance according to skills they have developed, and some of which required guidance, but only when asked for.  Soft Play (or similar play-based socials) may sound like a nice easy day-off - and in truth, they are pretty easy-going for me now - but we mustn't overlook the benefits of the kids getting together in large groups and learning to manage relationship issues.  Yesterday I could really see how well the boys have progressed socially since starting HE - and I am convinced that is because they are supported in their socialisation, rather than being thrown in at the deep end and left to it, as tends to happen more in school.

Anyway, back to today.  We started with a new Bible Study that we are following, called "Living with Jesus" (I will write a separate review shortly - we all loved it), and then the boys went their separate ways to do some MathsWhizz exercises.  Eldest and I have already chatted about the need for him to do more maths time than his brothers as blogged about in my previous post, and he has been brilliant about it - not one word of serious complaint (only one light-hearted jibe about it).  Middle found it very hard to focus and get started - he was having too much fun starting a diary in his new notebook (!!! yes this is the same child who was almost phobic about any request to write anything, now voluntarily writing!) - so it took him longer to finish than both brothers.  Then they all had a go on Brainpop: Youngest learning about Community Helpers (scoring 3/5 in the test); Eldest learning about Critical Reasoning (scoring 8/10) and Middle learned about Life on Mars (10/10).  Youngest and Eldest also played "inventioneers" in my ipad while they waited for Middle to finish his Maths.

Over lunch we watched a programme recorded from the BBC the other night, comparing the reigns of Queen Victoria and Elizabeth II - and chatted about today's significance in history as our own queen became the longest-serving British Monarch (the emphasis being on serving rather than reigning, because I think that has absolutely been our current queen's focus).  Finally they drew a picture each of our "Queen Liz 2", and have now disappeared off to play while I catch up with my blog.  Our new term may not have had the smoothest start, but I think we're doing pretty well.  Now I'm off to phone estate agents and arrange to view houses!  I'm hoping this 'limbo' season will be over soon so we can all settle again, but meanwhile will try to keep blogging - bear with me in case it gets a bit sporadic until we've moved?

Youngest's picture of the Queen in her coronation outfit

Middle's picture of the Queen being crowned

Eldest's portrait of Queen Elizabeth II