Saturday, 25 June 2011

What do they do all day?

I often wonder what people make of our alternative lifestyle. I mean, there's one thing homeschooling, it's another thing to do very, very, little "schoolwork". To outsiders, I wonder if the big vision is unseen, hidden out of view. Whether it just looks like chaos!

Well it actually is chaos a fair bit of the time! Brothers will fight. Boys will be boys. They get mad at each other, jump on each other, get in each others hair. They don't have loads of opportunity to escape from each other, so they tease and wind each other up and poke and annoy. As a girl who was raised with one sister, and lots of female cousins, there wasn't a lot of testosterone action going on when I was their age, so I find the outpouring of emotions quite extreme sometimes. The boys get really mad at each other. They have to raise their voices to be heard above one another, they vie for mine and each other's attention in frustrating and often LOUD ways! Pete was the youngest of three boys, and in spite of mindfully peaceful parents, they fought and pinned each other down and wound each other up too. I guess its just a boy thing.

But this is of course not all they do all day! Inbetween wrestling and so on we have packed in quite a bit this year.

* Had archery lessons

* Attended a course of 6 Ukulele lessons

* Been camping

* Been to several home ed Sports Hall sessions with 30 kids at a time

* Planned and grown a veg plot, mostly from seed

* Been on loads of farm visits, including a ride on a tractor/trailer

* Joined a lovely new Home Ed group in Ely

* Had friends to stay for a few weekends here and there, some with children, some without

* Been on theatre trips to see Private Peaceful, Ruthless Romans (Horrible Histories Live), Awful Egyptians (also HH live), and Science Museum Live

* Starred in a play at Bewilderwood, playing lead parts

* Had a family 'holiday at home' with Granny and Granddad and their uncle on vacation to us from the USA, including a further trip to Bewilderwood (lucky so-and-so's!)

* Had a few sleepovers

* Hung out with our teenage friend Nicole once a week every week. She has taught science lessons to the children, they have grown crystals, dyed chrysanths, made bath bombs and massage bars, experimented with home-chemistry ingredients

* Spent the day at Pensthorpe Nature Reserve, where BBC's 'Springwatch' is filmed.

* Visited our local Butterfly and Wildlife park

* Played independently at the park with friends

* Visited Norfolk Lavender/Farmer Freds Play Barn a couple of times with a large group of friends

* Been away for a weekend to Brighton, where we visited the Sea Life Centre, met up with family and friends, and were treated to sunday roast at other friends on our journey home.

* We've had various friends round to play for the afternoon or day.

* We learnt about Etheldreda on an Ely Cathedral trip.

* We attended a Commemoration service for Katharine of Aragon at Peterborough Cathedral, with readings in Spanish, songs and costumed re-enactors, and were lucky enough to have a 1:1 lesson in Tudor costumery and custom.

* We celebrated our friends life and mourned her death.

* We welcomed the arrival of a new baby girl in our friendship circle.

* We have played and built and made and sung and danced and laughed and cried and listened and read and fought and painted.

* Walked our dog for miles and miles

* Had to be extra patient waiting for our van to be fixed when it went into the garage for more 2 months. It was hard!

* Spent a bit of time being cared for by Granny, whilst I did Doula training, whilst Pete and I went to a wedding, and also whilst went to Norwich for a weekend.

We've had some great days so far this year, some ok ones, and some rotten ones.

And still to come...

* Finn is going on a 'Young Inventors' holiday for a whole 7 days, away from all that is safe and dear, very grown up! He doesn't know anyone on the holiday and isn't fazed in the least!

* We are going camping in Somerset for iccle Miss. Betty's (our God-daughter) 1st birthday party weekend.

* Going to HESFES, a home educators week-long festival with a staggering amount of really cool workshops and activities for children.

* Going camping in Autumn in Norfolk with a group of friends.

* The ***possibility*** for a french student to come and live with us for a couple of weeks this summer to improve her English. TBA.

* Summer sports classes

* Who knows?

Our life is difficult to measure in terms of tick-boxed curricula. The children's education is broad and spread out over a myriad of activities, encounters, conversations, contrived set-ups, accidental happenings, and out-of-the-blue opportunities that present themselves to us. We might have maths lessons at 9pm one evening, perhaps born out of a conversation or practical/logistical problem we need to solve. We might have an intense geography lesson before breakfast which comes about as a result of an interesting conversation or line of questioning by one of the children, and ending up as a "lets get the atlas out" moment. The children surprise us by choosing to listen to history, by never tiring of certain things (lego, or Stephen Fry reading Harry Potter on audio). Learning happens ALL THE TIME.

How do your homeschool days look? If you have boys maybe you have some great strategies you can share to minimise the boy-fights?! Would love to hear your ideas/thoughts/experiences!!!


  1. What a fab blog! I love reading how other people home educate. Gosh you have done loads this year! I have been playing with the idea of writing for EOS but not brave enough to try! I will have a look for your articles. It's reassuring to know its not just my boys that fight too, in fact my daughters can be just as bad!
    Zoe x

  2. Ooh hello there. Very excited to have you in my bloggy patch! Welcome and make yourself at home. Have a biscuit. Kick off your shoes. Nice to meet you! X