Well how did it suddenly get to being September? Seems like 2 minutes ago it was full-blown summer! Today we had a whooshy day out in the wind, happily kicking piles of golden leaves and enjoying the honey coloured sunshine on our trip into town. Tonight the dark and rain feel so unmistakenly autumnal. Summer is really going to bed now and the new season is waking up.
On a friend's blog I recently wrote about the quiet dread of the coming winter months from a home ed perspective. Cheery, I know. You may think that's a little gloomy, but the reality of having four boys at home all winter is very, very hard work. There are so few places to be able to take all the children at once. Some really close friends can hack the energy levels of my lot, others, as much as they may love us, just can't handle that much activity, bickering, and high jinx. My gang are a lively, bouncy, tiggery sort who are always up for life in a really physical and intense way. Kind of like having Thing one, two, three and four, you could say!!!
How will we channel this energy all autumn/ winter so it doesn't drive us all up the wall? What tricks has Mummy got up her sleeve?
- Walking the dog in the daytimes rather than one of us adults taking her in the evening
- Swimming once a week
- Meeting with friends at different play-parks
- Nature walks in woodlands, visits to nature reserves, etc...
- several home-ed group gymnastics sessions with 30 kids, a big gymnasium and no agenda except to have heaps of fun and move absolutely freely
- Visits to Farmer Fred's Playbarn (a really nice new gastro soft-play centre )
- Re-arranging the furniture a little to allow for greater movement indoors, indoor ten-pin bowling is a favourite with the kids. Building dens indoors and out.
- Having a regular dance session every morning for half an hour to get everyone's blood flowing nicely, brains charged up and ready to take on the day.
What will we learn this new term? Well technically we don't really follow term-times here in the Cleary household, although we are told from July onwards that soon it will be back to school time. For this reason September always seems like a new start through no action of our own...it gets much quieter out and about and we go back to being quizzed about our lifestyle/educational provision by complete strangers when we're out during school hours, some of whom are nice, some are more full of their own sense of what education ought to look like, and can even be quite rude and ignorant. So that can be a little tiresome.
So what are we interested in right now? Quite organically the children are showing a great interest in dinosaurs and Alf and Indie in particular are currently really interested in Tutankamun and Egyptology! So we have been reading books, watching video clips online, drawing pictures and talking about pyramids, mummies, different gods, etc etc.... I will try and build as many activities around these two themes, perhaps seeing how many things we can make into pyramids. Will update you on that later in autumn.
Things coming up for us this Autumn so far are....
* running several soap-making workshops
* a visit to Peckover House in Wisbech to see a play about prison reformer Elizabeth Fry - the lady on the £5 note.
* two family birthdays and an invite to a birthday party of a friend
* the wedding of two lovely friends, who we have known for ages
* a possible visit this Saturday to Woolsthorpe manor - the educational centre birthplace of Sir Issac Newton
* a daytrip to London to the Tate modern gallery
* visits to a new home ed group called Eureka! which will take place in a local village hall
We're also planning to move Finn on from his uke skills by having Guitar lessons, Herbie on piano, and Alfie will come and hang out with me at the village nursery next door to our house, and we'll see if he likes it enough to want to stay there on his own one or two mornings a week. We'll see how that pans out. I'm not sure just yet whether Indie will do any clubs this autumn, if the right thing comes up we'll sign him up!
As for me, I am signing up for a dressmaking evening class, which my friend Nicole is also thinking about doing. She is currently doing her own Doula training and so we are exchanging ideas/thoughts/materials/etc... which is pretty exciting! Our plan is to set up as a Doula team when the time is right....I feel very lucky and priviledged that I could have such a brilliant partner in crime!
So inbetween all these action-packed Autumn events there'll be a whole lot of boring, loads of bickering, giggling, reading, playing, writing, cooking, sewing, listening, bouncing, dreaming, making and doing going on round here.
Pete and I just strung up a door that came off its hinges and turned it into a giant loom, on which we will weave a rag-rug to give as a gift for Christmas. Here's where I got the idea:
Using a door as a weaving loom
Isn't this genius? I haven't followed this exactly as we strung the door on one side only, as you would a one-sided cardboard loom.
Well after writing all these ideas down I don't feel quite so anxious about the coming months and how dark they'll be, or how hard it will feel. It feels good to actually get all these ideas down. Maybe some of them won't happen. it doesn't matter. We're the boss of ourselves, and not going back to school, on reflection, actually feels pretty darn good! I am really looking forward to sharing these coming months with those I love most of all!
Hurray for home ed :-)