Home Education: it starts here!

It suddenly hit me this week that if we were taking the school route, Sophia would be starting next week.  I felt a bit emotional,  my little girl all grown up. A bit silly really given that she’s not going anywhere. But it feels like a milestone nonetheless.

I’ve spent all summer knowing that I should make a plan for September but avoiding it. I’m still an advocate for play based and informal learning in the early primary years but Sophia craves more than that. She loves sitting down and ‘doing lessons’ with me so I knew I should really formulate some kind of plan for us to follow rather than floundering each day when she asks me what we’re doing.

Today I had a light bulb moment. I looked at the Wee Folk Art Homeschool Companion Guides a year or so ago but had pretty much forgotten about them or dismissed them for one reason or another. Today I took another look, showed them to Dan and made a decision to have a go at following them, starting with the first unit ‘Harvest Time’. I’m planning on starting the week beginning 15th September (thought I’d put a date in here so I have to stick to it)!

I think they should suit us perfectly, a gentle approach and a good mix of science, literature, narration, writing and what they call ‘social studies’ (it’s an American programme). It doesn’t cover maths but I’ve found a free Maths curriculum from the Centre for Innovation in Mathematics from the University of Plymouth that looks pretty good which I think we’ll use to cover Maths.

I’ve finally got a printer (just needs ink!) so think we’re pretty much ready to start. The Wee Folk Art guides have a book list which I need to source but I’m hoping I can get them second hand or borrow from the library as it’s quite an extensive list! I feel quite excited but also a bit nervous. Mostly I’m just determined to stay on track and actually try and keep up with the plan.

People often say I’m ‘brave’ when they find out that Sophia and Isaac won’t be going to school and up until now, I haven’t really agreed. But right now, I definitely feel like I’m taking a big step; I’m putting myself (and Dan) chiefly responsible for their education and that is at once, both terrifying and empowering. Of course, I would like to think that I’m humble enough to admit defeat if it turns out that I can’t meet all their needs and if school would be the better option, but I’m excited to jump in with both feet and give home educating the best shot I can. And Sophia is excited too; excited about her home education groups starting again, about the prospect of a new forest school, about doing regular lessons with me. And I think us both being on the same page right now is a good start to the coming year.

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Pregnancy Diary: 16 weeks

Today I am exactly 16 weeks pregnant (got a bit confused on dates but pretty sure I’ve got it right now).

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Apologies for missing the last two weeks, I actually started writing last week’s but we were away in Brighton for our friend’s wedding and were kept pretty busy!

Today the lady in the post office appeared shocked that I was pregnant and said I had no bump. I wss surprised as I think there is a definite growth. I guess perception is in the eye of the beholder (I hope that makes sense, it’s late and I’m waiting for jam to set)!

So apparently, by now, baby is 10cm and might have started playing with the umbilical cord. I find that so strange, that they can interact with their surroundings at such an early gestation. Amazing!

I am feeling so so much better now I’m firmly in the second trimester, taking my iron (bloods showed I was slightly anaemic….no surprise there) and finally getting some sleep. Isaac is sleeping much better, no one is ill and it’s not so hot.

I’m finding that I’m really too busy with the sprogs to engage massively with this pregnancy (hence these boring posts!) In a way it’s a good thing though, I think in both my subsequent pregnancies I was a bit obsessed and unable to actually be fully present. Having said that, I am looking forward to feeling the baby move regularly, this stage of pregnancy is odd…you know you’re pregnant, have seen baby on scan, heard heartbeat at midwife appointments but when away from that environment the only sign of life inside is a slightly swollen belly. It’s a bit surreal. But I’m in no rush, am going to actually try and be patient this time and get on with the business of day to day life and enjoying it.

Thoughts on summer

I have a confession to make…the break in the gorgeous summer we’ve been having is my fault. I was talking to Dan a few weeks ago about how really, I’d had enough of the sweltering sunshine and that I’d quite like the temperature to drop and for some rain. I know, I know, shoot me now. And I take it back, bring back the sun….please?!

What I think I’d really had enough of was the ridiculous guilt that was consuming me that we weren’t doing enough outside, that we hadn’t been to the beach enough, that I wasn’t making the absolute most of the good weather. Pretty silly huh?! And slightly unfounded as well as we’ve had several wild swimming trips, afternoons on Dartmoor, a beach side break in Wales and numerous days spent outside either in our garden or out and about with friends.

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I think,  possibly,  that I might overthink things and have unrealistic expectations. With a nasty bug that hit us all over the course of three weeks and pregnancy tiredness,  this summer hasn’t been quite as sand and water filled or as idyllic as I’d envisaged. But I guess that’s a good life lesson. Normal life doesn’t pause for three months over summer and probably just as well,  we’d have an awful lot to catch up on if it did! I guess the key for me, at least, is to take each day as it comes, do exciting summery things when we can but not to worry or beat myself up if we spend the whole day inside when it’s 26 degrees outside because we’re all tired.

What’s your attitude towards summer? Are you a planner with a list of places to go and things to see or do you relax, chuck everything out the window and just enjoy lazy days and long warm evenings?

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Pregnancy Diary: 13 weeks

I am 13 weeks and 4 days pregnant.

It kind of feels like I’m right at the start of it all still but actually, am over 3 months in so it’s not really. Plus a noticeable bump is starting to emerge that begs to differ.
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(Please excuse the post work out shots!)

According to baby centre, baby is now 6.7cm long and amazingly (I never knew this before!) has developed sucking muscles in it’s cheeks so if I prod my belly apparently they might feel it and start to root. Crazy huh!

First trimester is almost over and I’m definitely feeling it. The nausea has gone and my appetite has returned. I’m still exhausted but that’s due to various Isaac related reasons. Yawn. Bring on the energy boost that second trimester apparently brings!

Just a short one today as I’m tired and still need to mop the floor that has been the victim of a lot of ‘not making it to the toilet’ incidents. I promise I’ll blog about something other than pregnancy and babies before next week as well (perhaps our home ed sports day which happened today and in case I forget to mention it…Sophia came first in the under 5’s running race and the all age three legged race. She was very proud of herself. Isaac refused to do anything…)

Pregnancy Diary: 12 weeks

So I guess this is my blog announcement! I’ve copied the lovely Sarah from Caterpillar Tales in deciding to try and blog the pregnancy.

I am 12 weeks and 5 days pregnant and had my dating scan yesterday.  Apparently due 12th February, we shall see! Both Sophia and Isaac were born at 39 weeks and 5 days gestation so I’m intrigued to see if that was just coincidence or if my baby baking timer is very exact!

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I have struggled with the first trimester. I know that I am unbelievably blessed to a) not have been that sick and b) to have actually got this far but the exhaustion and nausea has hit me hard. The kids have both been very understanding and Dan has been a star at picking up my slack and being patient with my whinging and constant tears (I’m a cryer anyway but add extra hormones and an episode of Melody has me weeping these days)!

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it but since Christmas I’ve been regularly lifting weights and doing more cardio and eating clean. I’ve felt much better than I have in years and was determined to keep it up during pregnancy and remain healthy.

Unfortunately tiredness means where I was working out 5/6 times a week, now it’s more like 3/4 and I’m lifting half the weight I was pre pregnancy but the days I make myself do it, I feel tons better and less tired. A friend of mine who is a mother of 2 and personal trainer told me that a lot of female athletes achieve personal bests during their second trimester so I’m looking forward to hopefully working a bit harder soon.

According to the scan, baby is currently 6.2cm (crown-rump) which is tiny! Baby centre reckons 5.4cm but I guess I’m nearer 13 weeks now. Apparently baby can close it’s fingers, curl toes and clench eye muscles by now…pretty cool!

Relinquishing Control

The kids and I spent this morning making an aquarium (courtesy of Uncle Charlie-thank you!) and over the course of the morning I realised what a control freak I am. This will come with a certain amount of eye rolling from people who know me,  even in the most casual sense. But although I am aware of trait I was reminded again of the importance of being able to let go and not let my controlling tendencies spoil the moment. In this case it was mess, things being cut out neatly, longing for decoration that was more than scribbles.
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But as Dan quietly remarked, the fun is in letting them do it. And I’m so glad that I was chilled enough to let them go hell for leather, to let Sophia cut out the shapes herself, to let Isaac spread glue everywhere, to let the floor become covered in sticky sequins. Because they had so much fun and are really proud with the result of their joint efforts.
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It was another timely reminder to me of the importance of letting go and of embracing the chaos that children bring. It doesn’t come easily to me. I don’t relish messy play and have been known to tidy away toys even as a game is still in progress. But I’m working on it. So what if I didn’t get the hoovering done and the bathrooms cleaned? It’ll get done later or tomorrow when the kids are busy playing off together in a rare (but becoming more often) glimpse of sibling harmony.

And when I do manage to relax and allow myself to be immersed in the moment, regardless of mess or the putting off of chores, we’re all happier. And that’s the most important thing right?