It also didn't help that the house turned into something resembling a disaster zone over the weekend - so instead of being able to enjoy snuggling with my boys, I had to do a manic amount of housework today. Usually the boys help me as part of their 'life-skills education', but it had mounted up to a hideous amount that I just needed to get on and grapple with. And of course, today's baking and art only made the mess worse. Still, the boys did their jobs as usual (laundry & dishwasher), leaving me to catch up on some of the tidying, in between helping them to have fun learning, plus making meals, putting groceries away, refereeing squabbles etc - it just didn't make for the most enjoyable of days.
That's not to say we didn't have any fun though - we still did, in between all the manic-ness. Happily I had foreseen that today would be, let's say, full (!), so I added a couple of bits (puff pastry and grated cheese) to our weekly grocery order, and we did the easiest 'bake' ever: Cheat's Cheese Straws
I had some rare one-to-one time with Eldest too, while we both had a go at the art project he wanted to try, using watercolour paint and salt. That was lovely!
Later Youngest and Middle dd their own arty things (the difficulties of using white pastel on white card did not appeal to them). Middle got out a large A2 sheet of paper, and when his back was turned Youngest adopted it as his own, had a play with the watercolour wash + salt technique, and then got involved just experimenting with colours etc - he had a lovely time!
"Mario-land" by Youngest
Middle wasn't impressed by the theft of his paper, but we soon got another piece, and he was full of enthusiastic plans as he gathered all of his other bits together. A couple of times he got distracted and wandered off, but he kept coming back to it until he was finished - I love the way that is possible in home ed! Anyway, his final piece of art turned out not to involve the A2 sheet at all (that got turned into a jumbo aeroplane instead), but it was very cute...
"Lizard with 3D Eyes" by Middle
Meanwhile Eldest went off to flick through one my our recipe books (our planner is now covered with recipe book page references on post-its) and decided he wanted to make a marble cake right away. I was busy with the younger ones so he got to make it entirely by himself. I checked on him a couple of times to make sure he was happy by himself - which he was. We didn't have the right size tin, so I suggested he make a marble sandwich cake... and a bit later he mixed the vanilla and chocolate mixtures together a bit too enthusiastically, so we decided to just have a chocolate sandwich instead! He decided to make a vanilla buttercream to sandwich it together... and I have to say, it turned out really nicely! However my own Mum will sympathise with the state of the kitchen by the time he finished: I loved baking in my youth, but it was well known that I couldn't do it without getting every surface in the kitchen messy... and Eldest has certainly inherited my genes in that respect! I'll just have to deploy the same rule as when I was his age: Mum stays out of the kitchen until it's all finished and tidied up again!
So even though it wasn't the most peaceful or happy of days, it was still a good day, really. It reminds me of the saying, "a bad day home educating is still better than a bad day at school". On a bad school day the boys could have come home upset, exhausted, discouraged, hopeless... whereas despite today's challenges, they are all still happy, relaxed and positive (Mummy is pretty tired, but still). I do prefer to focus on all the good in our days, although it wouldn't be fair if I didn't share the rough bits with you as well - but ultimately for us, although home education may not be easy - it is still awesome.