Monday, 7 July 2014

Summer Wind-Down

As you may have noticed, I do like my Home Ed diary.  It only takes me filling in two or three completed activities per child, to leave me with a feeling of "look, we are busy; we must be doing OK" satisfaction.  I know it's false; I know that activity does not necessarily equal learning and that true learning is impossible to measure - but it's fairly innocuous and so I humour myself with it.  If I ever got to the point where a blank diary caused me to majorly panic, I would have to rethink my reasons for keeping it.

Recently I have had the opportunity to check that I am not too dependent on having a full diary as life has gone less structured again.  It has a habit of doing that every now and then, just to keep me on my toes!  All of the hedgehog rescuing and family emergencies have coincided with the children generally running out of steam for planned activities, and so we seem to be entering the period known as the Summer Wind-Down.  In school this might take the form of tired and restless children doing less activities while the teachers try to get all of their paperwork up to date before the school holidays.  At home - or our home at least - this takes the form of everyone running out of enthusiasm for anything other than being outdoors or on their computers playing. It has been like that for at least a week if not two.  I have managed to maintain focus on the Maths and English curricula, but otherwise I do feel like the proverbial horse is dead - further flogging (ie trying to keep it up until the "end of term") would be pointless.

A lovely friend of mine and experienced home educator blogged recently about Mastering Home Education.  Like me, she sees Home Ed as a seasonal experience: one where changes in season are to be expected, even celebrated.  In her post she uses insightful sailing analogies, and it helped me to identify that we are experiencing the educational equivalent of a spring tide, where despite working hard the tide pulls against all your efforts and you make little to no progress. So I figure, why fight it?  Sally's advice in such situations is to "get a tow or change direction and land somewhere else".  A change of direction sounds like exactly what we need!

So I'm going to embrace our lack of enthusiasm for planned activities, and have some time off the structure. No Maths or English (gasp!), relaxed restrictions on screen time (although still limiting the amount that the younger two go on for any one time as they do seems to suffer without breaks), and we'll focus on having fun, being outdoors and generally enjoying the summer - in whatever form it takes.  We just to change tack and give our minds a rest - chance to recharge and enable creativity to flourish.  I'm not sure where this change of direction will take us as it wasn't planned, but that's absolutely fine.  Even if it's less impressive/ reassuring to not have anything written in a Home Ed Diary, I love these seasons where we just meander and take in what's around us before we find a new direction and follow that enthusiastically once more.  For now, I'm just grateful for spring tides!

1 comment:

  1. We've been in summer holiday mode for a good few weeks already, with eldest off school after sitting his GCSEs, it seemed like a good time to stop :-) J had definitely run out of steam so it's lovely to just completely switch off for a bit, knowing that we can start afresh whenever we feel ready. Rx