Well, we've done it! We 'upped and moved' to our new home in Worcestershire a week ago, and it all still feels very strange.
During the build up to the move the boys were doing some structured HE work - mostly stuff that took little preparation or strenuous involvement from me, as I was focused largely on decluttering, sorting, packing, finding a house and getting here! They kept up with MathsWhizz and Literacy Planet, and did some painting, listened to stories from history, drew pictures inspired by music, watched programmes on science and inventions etc - I may not have kept immacuate records of what they were doing, but I was encouraged by their activities, especially given the upheaval all around.
Now that we have arrived, it is - unsurprisingly - taking a while to settle. We are still waiting for our internet service to be installed (I am currently piggybacking off my phone signal, but my mobile is old and the battery runs out quickly, so that is not viable for prolonged use by multiple people). No internet means no Mathswhizz, Literacy Planet, Brainpop etc - not to forget the boys' beloved Minecraft, so I am feeling a little frustrated in my desire to settle back into a routine. However, I am enjoying the different blessings of this season. We have no satellite TV, resulting in the boys hardly watching anything (CBeebies and the other few freeview channels don't really cut it with them any more), and the Wii has not been installed yet, so they are effectively limited to playing on their 2DSs or finding alternative entertainment. And at the moment, with no structured Home Ed in place, they have a lot of time to fill. You know, they are doing so well! At the time of typing it is currently 2.30pm and I have not had to referee any fights yet ALL DAY! They have mostly been playing together in Middle's bedroom wth his lego - they tried to explain their invented game to me over lunch, but I'm not sure I grasped the intrciacies of the set-up. They were all enjoying it though, and have happily gone back to play again now, not a screen in sight! We've also had some lovely chats about fires (no idea what prompted that), staked out the bird table outside our new lounge window to see who was stealing the fat balls whole (a very greedy magpie), explored our beautiful new surroundings, visited our first Home Ed group, shared experiences in assembling flat-pack furniture (no mean feat) and bidding on auctions. There may not have been much by way of structured learning (not that we do that much anyway), but the richness of this season can't be overlooked.
One change that I hadn't really expected was the practical impact that a different house would have on our day-to-day Home Ed life. We are enormously blessed to be living in a bigger house than our previous one (the benefits of moving away from London), with the result that we now have a room entirely devoted to the boys' learning (and gaming!). We've called it the Den, and it houses the PC for computer work, the Wii (we are scanning auctions & pre-loved sites for a TV to go in the Den with the Wii), and a whole wall filled with shelves for their books, games, kits etc. The only thing not in there is the painting and other messy Art stuff as the Den is carpeted, so Art will still be a kitchen affair. The ex-teacher in me is excited by this new space, and hugely grateful for a whole room to store all their learning stuff... and yet part of me is finding it a bit sad too. In our old house pretty much all of the learning revolved around our shared living space, and I loved that - loved being together, sharing our experiences. We didn't need a dedicated HE room as our whole lives were taken up with learning. And to be fair, that's not really going to change. What will take some getting used to will be a feeling of almost segregation. It's not that I won't be involved in their learning any more, but it's just not as obviously integrated with every day life, and I am going to have to find a new way of working around our available space so I don't end up spending days without getting time with my boys.
It's just all going to take a while to get used to. Hopefully once we have internet, Sky and the boys' den up-and-running we will be able to work out our new routine, and that's the kind of challenge that I usually thrive on, so watch this space - it's going to be different from here on in, but hopefully with lots of fun.