Friday, 17 December 2010

So Proud!

I had a very proud moment this evening, when my elder son, James, who is six, sat with me as we read together from C. S Lewis's The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, one of my favourite children's books and one that I have been secretly waiting to read with him since before he was born (I still have my box set of the Chronicles of Narnia books from my own childhood). I read the first few chapters to him, and then he took over and read almost a whole chapter aloud by himself. Having previously only read to me a few pages at a time of his school books or picture story books, it was lovely to hear him reading a much harder book, and to see his enthusiasm increase as he started to really get into the story. Almost brought a tear to my eye. Yes, I am a big softie.

Of course, it's even more special given the significance of the story's meaning and the fact that we have been having some important conversations about God, Jesus and faith recently as we have talked about the Christmas story. It's been heart-warming for me to be able to answer some of James's questions and to see him begin to make sense of some of the things we believe and try to live by. So I can't wait to continue reading these stories with James and talking some more about what they might mean.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Telling The Headteacher.

Today I met with James's headteacher to tell him of our decision to home educate. I was really nervous, as I don't know him well, and wasn't sure of how he would react. I prayed about it a bit, and sat at home and wrote out a list of reasons why we are making this decision, being careful not to criticise the school or the teachers and to stress the plus points of home education, and then I sat in the car park worrying about it, feeling like I was about to go into a job interview or something. I know. Ridiculous. It turns out I needn't have worried. The head was really nice, and, like any decent headteacher, asked important questions like "What do you think the negative sides of home educating might be?" and "Have you thought ahead about what to do regarding secondary school subjects and GCSEs?" and other equally valid questions, which I tried to answer as best I could. I made it clear that I am not anti-school, and that this was purely a decision based on what we feel will be in James's best interest, and we are not averse to him coming back to school later on should that be necessary. He said he would respect our decision, that I had clearly made my mind up and he "knew when to throw in the towel"! All in all, it was a good meeting, and I came away feeling even more that this is the right thing for James, for now. The plan is to write to him officially after the Christmas holidays, give ourselves a week or two to get sorted out after Christmas, and start mid-January.

Friday, 10 December 2010

I'm A Loser, Baby.

May I just share with you all the fact that I lost a pound at my weigh-in this week? And since then (wed) I appear to have lost another. Don't know what is going on really but I can't complain! I am, for the record, back to the weight I was when I joined WW in July. So I've been up a few pounds, and down a few. Now the real hard work starts! (After Christmas, of course! What do you take me for?)

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Inspired To Action.

I'm afraid I've taken the lazy option today and decided to post a link to someone else's blog. Actually my real reason for doing this isn't because I can't be bothered to write something myself, but because I think this person's blog is one of the best in the blogging world (in my humble opinion). If you're a mum, if you have a faith, if you want to connect with others, be inspired, air your thoughts, organise your life, laugh, find new music, enter great giveaways, and find fantastic links to other great blogs, then I urge you to check this one out.

Inspired to Action

It's written by Kat, who, even though I don't know her, writes in a way that makes me feel like I do, and on many occasions manages to speak right into my life in the process. This post is about the busy-ness of Christmas, and our need to take time out of that to spend with God. Enjoy.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Conservatory Update: Photos.

The old conservatory wall yesterday:

 Today's progress: The new external wall is about a foot and a half further out than the old one . Not much to look at, but for me it's exciting. This will be our new dining room, eventually!

24 Sleeps!!!

The boys couldn't believe it when they woke up to see their advent calendars up on the wall outside their bedroom. They hadn't a clue what day it is today - so it was lovely to witness their cheery smiles! Unfortunately, J was sick during the night last night, so I've got both boys at home with me today. We've had some fun though, constructing a Star Wars lego world in the middle of a giant train track. So far they've been surprisingly well behaved. Now they're settled on the sofa watching a Christmassy DVD (Max Lucado's Hermie: A Fruitcake Christmas) while I catch up with the online world.

The builders returned today after a two-day snow-induced hiatus, to carry on with the groundworks for our new conservatory. Still hoping it'll be done by Christmas. Watch this space!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Taking The Plunge.

We are doing it! We have made the decision. I'm scared, happy and nervous, but ultimately I believe we are doing the right thing, something that is in the best interests of our elder son. So, the plan is to inform the head teacher of his school, and home educate after half term. Aaargh! And Yay! I think that pretty much sums up how I feel!
Update (30.11.10): We are going to home educate James, but we are waiting until after Christmas as originally planned, for reasons that I won't go into. But we are still planning to take the plunge some time in January.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Almost There.

My elder son started year 2 at his school a week or so ago, as the younger one went back to pre-school, and, I have to admit, I breathed a sigh of relief to have a child-free day last Monday for the first time in ages. But as the week went on (actually, after the first two days) I began to feel like I was missing my boys. And, to add to that, I began to see that this year at school may not be any better for J than the last. He still is struggling to find his feet, and his voice, and he seems scared of his teacher (because 'he shouts a lot'). I am beginning to see that, right now at least, my son and school do not seem to go well together. I am very close to making the decision to take him out and home educate him, even if only for a year or so.

What's holding me back? At the moment, I feel unprepared. I like to plan, to know what's coming in advance. So I need to do a bit more planning before we take the plunge. It's looking increasingly likely that we will (take the plunge) and I am excited!

Monday, 23 August 2010

Operation Funsies.

So, there are two weeks until school starts. I have mixed feelings.

I am still knee-deep in 'research' about home education. I am fascinated by people's stories of their own HE experiences, and the more I read, the more I think it's a great idea. I think (as usual) I am stuck in a well of diminished self-confidence when it comes to esteeming my own abilities to home educate my children. I don't know if I've got the guts. It makes sense on paper and in my head. And I think it is the best option for J who is 6, and shows a keen-ness for learning outside of the school environment that has surprised me lately.

What concerns me most at this time is the behaviour of the boys when they are together. Individually, they are wonderful, talkative, interested, compliant where necessary, fun and responsive. Put them together and they fight and bicker, scream and shout, ignore me and defy any attempts to restore peace and quiet amid the storms. In short, they go mental on a regular basis. The focus of my research in the next couple of weeks is going to be how do people deal with manic children and difficult behaviour in the home education environment - I haven't seen much mention of it in the blogs I've read so far, so I'm going to have to dig a bit deeper.

That being said I've got a couple of books coming from Amazon, one about home education (Learning Without School, by Ross Mountney), one about loving my children (How To Really Love Your Child, by Ross Campbell) which I'm hoping will throw out some pearls of wisdom that I can put into practice to bring some calm to this home of ours. I'm trying to fight the feelings I have of looking forward to the children going back to school and pre-school.

How can I home educate if I don't enjoy spending time with my own kids?

So, my other focus for the next two weeks is to get out there and enjoy my time with the children, get down to their level and have some fun, give them some attention and ignore the housework while they are awake. It's operation funsies!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Introductions, And Contemplations.

Hi there.

I'm Rach. I am married to a wonderful man (for nearly 9 years!), and we have two fantastic (and totally boisterous) boys, J (6) and D (3).
This is a blog about our family life. The ups, the downs, and the round-and-rounds. Because let's face it, we have a lot of those!

Right now we are contemplating a big decision. A turnaround. A lifestyle change. 

We are thinking of home-schooling our children.

Wow. I actually said it. That means it's a real possibility, doesn't it?

I only really started looking into it yesterday, exploring blogs, websites and articles, checking and re-checking that I'm not totally mad to be thinking about this.

Today I went into town to try and find some books on the subject. Disappointingly, unless I was looking in completely the wrong places, there were no books on Home Education in our library (or any other local library for that matter). Neither were there any in the two largest bookshops in town. Sometimes it's very frustrating living in a semi-rural area. Shops and restaurants close early (or don't open), public transport is rubbish, and bookshops don't stock the right books. So, it's back to the websites for the time being.

Thankfully, there are some very helpful and informative websites around. This one, this one and this one have done a good job of introducing me to the basics, and providing further links for a more in-depth investigation. I've also discovered some blogs by home-educators, with their own insights and stories to tell. I'm looking forward to finding out more about this fascinating alternative lifestyle, if I nobody minds me calling it that. (I'll list the blogs I like on the left-hand side, and I'll try to keep it up-to-date).

There's just one thing bugging me.

How on earth can I be contemplating home-educating my children, when I have been tearing my hair out with the two of them most days since the summer holidays started? I've cried twice today since breakfast, dragged them literally screaming and shouting around town, been embarrassed by their unsociable behaviour in the library (could they have been more loud?), and threatened to take toys away left, right and centre. I'm hardly the model of a perfect parent, much less qualified to teach them an entire life-time's worth of stuff-worth-knowing.

I have to admit I'm having real discipline issues at the moment, especially with my three year old. I have to sit down every five minutes to catch my breath and read another chapter of some parenting book or other just to keep myself sane. Sometimes I wonder if I am cut out for parenting at all.
And I am thinking of a change that would keep my children home with me 24-7?

Seriously, what's gotten into me?

But then my elder son (age six) said something that made me stop and think again.
The conversation went a bit like this:

"Mummy, how do you learn about things?"

"Er...well, you can look at books, watch DVDs about things, ask people, that sort of thing."

"Because I want to learn about super heroes and the Justice League."

"... Um, Okaaaaay.  Well, you know they're not real, don't you? It's a TV programme."

"Yes, I know....  I want to learn about dinosaurs too!"


And with that, I was back on the track of investigating the possibilities of home schooling the boys. I'm looking at the hows and whys, and thinking and praying it through. Even in the last day or two, I have started to look at my children differently, and see educational opportunities everywhere we go. I am encouraged by this.

 My husband and I are going to read up and talk about it, and hopefully make a decision by December, as that is the deadline for school applications for our three year old. It'll also be a good point at which to take J out of school if we decide to go ahead, and it'll give us time to prepare both children for the changes,

 I've got so much going on in my mind today that my head is spinning. I'm going to end with a quote from this blog:

"Learning can only happen when a child is interested. If he’s not interested, it’s like throwing marshmallows at his head and calling it eating.”

~ Katrina Gutleben
Food for thought!