Changing seasons

It is most definitely Autumn now after a delightfully warm Indian summer throughout September. I’m not sure if I have a favourite season or not but I do love the transition from long, hot days to cooler mornings and dark cosy evenings around the fire (whilst we still have one). Our home ed curriculum follows the seasons and it is so lovely to be consciously acknowledging the change and exploring different elements of it. So far we have covered vegetables, milk, tractors, wheat and wool. Next week we’ll  be focusing on apples (which should be especially great as the orchard outside is abundantly full of the fruit) and then looking at leaves and the signs of autumn in weeks after that.

 

making butter

Making butter in milk week

tracks in mud

‘Muddy’ tracks in tractor week

Cleaning muddy vehicles

Cleaning muddy vehicles

Weaving fun in wool week

Weaving fun in wool week

I’m conscious that each of these subjects could be explored in a lot more depth than we have been doing but I think our approach has been just involved enough for where Isaac and Sophia are at the moment and am also aware that we will more than likely be following this curriculum again in the future specifically for Isaac and the baby. We are reading the suggested fact and fiction book each, doing a few related activities and Sophia is doing a journal page at the end of the week which is a good comprehension exercise as she summarises the story book we’ve been reading that week, then writes her summary down and draws a picture to accompany it.  She loves maths and science though so does a  lot of key stage 1 worksheets (mostly addition, ordering and sequencing) and we’ve been working our way through a KS1 science book. She also spends a bit of time on the laptop once or twice a week doing interactive activities in these subjects. We’ve also been borrowing the Biff, Chip and Kipper first reading books from the library and she practises reading those with me several times a week. When she is doing activities where she needs less or no help from me, I tend to do puzzles with Isaac or basic counting and letter recognition as he is beginning to show a keen interest in both (but especially counting).

But, I’ve got distracted. Back to Autumn! I’m enjoying marking the change in seasons through our home ed activities and we’ve been talking about it a lot. The time spent outside in the garden is shortening, the kids do still run around outside most days but usually for a few 10-20 minute bursts rather than the majority of the day that they did just a month ago. Sophia made me laugh the other day though, I suggested watching a movie together after a busy morning but the sun was out and she said we shouldn’t waste a sunny day watching a movie! A good attitude to have! Nonetheless,  we are spending more time doing table based activities (quilt squares, painting, playdough) and more time cooking. I’m trying to make sure we don’t just make cakes and they occasionally get involved with helping me make dinner (when I’m feeling patient enough for it to take three times as long)! Forest School forces us to intentionally spend some time outside each week and once we’re back in Topsham it will be easier for me to get us out for a bit of time each day, to observe the autumnal changes first hand. The leaves are changing colour, the blackberries are almost over and the air feels much cooler. But at the end of these short bursts of outside activity, I’m enjoying being at home, curling up on the sofa with a pile of books and the kids, bringing our play and activities inside.

Berry picking

Berry picking

Isaac has spotted hay bales!

Isaac has spotted hay bales!

Warming up at home

Warming up at home

Being so conscious of the changes in the natural world around us is causing me to reflect further on the changes in our lives. As our move fast approaches (a fortnight on tuesday!) I’ve been thinking about our journey as a family. Conveniently this is actually my 100th post on this blog so it seems like a good time all round to assess where we’re at and how far we’ve come since my first post this month 2 years ago (I’m 4 days early otherwise it could have been 2 years exactly)! Back then, Isaac was just 9 months old and we were living on our floating home, Pinafore in Brighton Marina. Looking back, my first posts were about time spent at the allotment we worked on with friends, Sophia’s initial forays into reading and writing and life on board a 31ft yacht as a family of 4. Since then we have moved twice, are now living on land in Devon and are unexpectedly expecting child number 3. Bit of a change!

I had intended this blog initially to just record our home educating journey so that interested friends and family could check out what we were up to and so that I  had a way of noting what we were up to and how the kids were progressing in their education. Since then I have expanded to waxing lyrical about gardening, nature and an off grid approach to life, ranting about politics and generally musing on parenthood and life. I think this was a natural evolution and look forward to seeing where the focus is in another 2 years. Mostly though, despite changes, in the seasons and in our life, I just hope that this blog still exists in 2 years. I’m not great at recording our lives physically in photo albums, scrapbooks and beautiful collages on our walls but I cherish having this online record. Something we can come back to in the future to remember our antics and to revisit ideas as I approach the beginning of home education properly with Isaac and then the baby. And finally, I hope that is might be of some use or interest to other folk out there in this virtual realm.

So here’s to another 2 years…and hopefully a lot longer!

For comedy value...literally the only family photo I could find of us from 2014!

For comedy value…literally the only ‘family’ photo (by which I mean, a photo that all 4 of us are in) I could find of us from 2014!

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