Pootling Along

Pootling? Is that a word? I think it is…it sounds nice anyway. I feel it sums up our last few weeks. We’ve had busy days and not-so-busy days, had days where I’ve felt like the most productive, child led, home educator Ma there ever was, and then other days where I’ve knitted and drank copious amounts of tea as they’ve played/fought/wallowed. Things are moving in a good direction, sometimes slowly, sometimes fast. I don’t know where our destination is but I’m finding that it isn’t as important as I once thought, the fun is in the journey.

Like all journeys, there are nettles that sting bare skin, thorns that prick as you try to reach the berries, the odd downpour, but there is also the sun coming out after a storm, delicious foraged apples and spontaneously swimming in a lazily moving river to counter and outweigh the bad.

Dan’s health hasn’t been great recently, it’s the nature of the beast with ME unfortunately, but it’s been at a fairly “good” level and stable for a decent amount of time that I foolishly wasn’t really expecting it. It’s rubbish but it doesn’t do to dwell. He is incredible at not letting it get him down but I find it really hard and frustrating to seem him not have enough energy to do the things he wants and needs to do. It just makes me sad.

I read another blog recently where the writer has been suffering with poor health and her pastor pointed her to this verse which I did know but re-found as it were, always encouraging to remember:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

(2 Corinthians 12: 9)

So, dark clouds, the rain starts.

But I’m heading to Brighton with the kids next week to see our dear friends for a very special small man’s 4th birthday so we’re really (really) looking forward to that and the silver lining is that Dan will get some time in the house on his own to hopefully get some proper rest (kids bless ’em, don’t quite get that concept…)

Slowing rain, the sun fights it’s way through.

I’m feeling so incredibly happy and confident in our decision to home educate at the moment; Sophia continues to amaze me with the things she picks up with little or no guidance from me (most recently, simple addition and subtraction in her head or with stones and conkers and starting to figure out ‘sh’ and ‘ch’ sounds in words). What I love most is the enthusiasm and passion she obviously has for working these things out. She is so incredibly pleased with herself when she figures out or learns something new. I love the self motivation, the fact that she’s done it because she wants to, not because she’s been told she has to. Even Isaac who obviously is not much more than a baby really makes us chuckle with the things he cottons on to (such as picking up Sophia’s habit of pretending to eat nice things in books and feeding me pretend cakes when he sees a picture of them in books we’re reading).

And then, a rainbow.


And the journey goes on.

Born to Read

I’ve just come from Patch of Puddles where I read this post written by the wonderful Merry and I’m shocked. I just cannot believe that 1 in 8 children leave school functionally illiterate. It’s such a large number, an eighth of our population. Madness.

We grew up surrounded by books. I remember Dad reading the Narnia books to us at bedtime, Swallows and Amazons, Famous Five, endless Roald Dahl, I remember reading theLord of the Rings trilogy annually for 3 years during my teenage years and being angry that the films (although great) didn’t do them justice, discovering Harry Potter (and not bothering with the films), the Stravaganza books, Malorie Blackman, Michael Morpugo, devouring 1984, Animal Farm, We and A Brave New World and even recently my teenage sister introducing me to the Hunger Games (to our other sisters disdain for them being romantic popular dystopian wannabes!)

Now I’ve started remembering it’s hard to stop (and I’m getting excited about sharing some of these wonderful books with the kids once they’re a bit older!) but I’ll mention three more (forgive me indulging myself) and move on! Firstly, A Spoonful of Jam by Michelle Magorian is a book I just love, one of my favourites still. Jacqueline Wilson is incredible and I was obsessed with her books in my pre/early teen years and was unbelievably chuffed when she replied to my letter with a beautiful thoughtful reply. And finally, Shirley Hughes is the epitome of childhood reading for me. I get so nostalgic reading her stories to Sophia and Isaac and genuinely still enjoy them. Her words and pictures have a special place in my heart. I know that sounds a bit ridiculous but they really have had an impact on me.

When I think of children growing up struggling to read, not getting the support they need and missing out on the unique joy of curling up with a book and immersing yourself in a whole new world and story, I just feel so incredibly sad. So many stories waiting to be read and explored, so many adventures to be had. And to have that door shut.

But there’s obviously such a larger impact than just missing out on the joy of burying yourself in a book. Being able to read is key to thriving in our education and employment system. Without that skill, they will and do struggle to complete secondary and further education, to complete job application forms, to read road signs and instruction manuals and medicine bottles and a thousand other things that we read in every day life.

We take being able to read for granted and that’s ok, but only if we acknowledge that for some children, it’s harder and they need more support than is always offered. We need to help them so the world of words is available and open to them. So they’re not held back for the rest of their life.

Beanstalk is the new name for Volunteer Reading Help and is taking part in a campaign with Save the Children to change the story for the children in the UK who need extra support to open the book on reading.

I’m a bit useless at this blogging malarkey still so don’t know to embed their campaign video but you can watch it the post I linked earlier and you can go check our their campaign Born to Read to see how you can help out. So please please do go and have a look, people need to get involved to help this campaign grow and help these children unlock their futures.