Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Happy New Year/ Term/ Phase!

OK I admit it: I am a shockingly neglectful blogger.  If I have any faithful readers left after my wandering off and ignoring you for so long, thank you for sticking around!

The house move at the end of October, with all the upheaval and settling in that that entails was followed by a big family get-together at our house over Christmas - both of which seem to have taken most of my attention and energy over the last few months.  But now Christmas is over (well, the boxes are lined up waiting to go into the attic and family have returned to their homes), and I have started to read people's posts about their new terms - and I am inspired to be a bit more attentive to what the boys are learning his term.  There's no massive upheaval foreseen for our next few months, so I'm looking forward to getting our teeth into some "proper" Home Ed now we're more settled in our new home.

I usually draw up a simple plan of thoughts on an ultra flexible timetable, just to help us have an idea of where we're going.  Some months we stick pretty well to it, other months we end up having completely different experiences - I love it either way. This term I am tweaking it to add a further dimension: it's going to be a three-way plan (with a separate section for each child).  Eldest has clearly got different needs to his brothers now, and I want to make a defined space for that in my planning.  Identifying each of their learning journeys as separate on paper feels like an important step for me to take, even if we do still all share some learning experiences together as I hope.  Now that I have drawn the outline plan up, the aim is to talk with each of the boys individually this evening (bedtimes are great for cosy chats) and see if we can come up with a loose idea of what they are interested in investigating this term.  Then I'd like to think I can put the finishing touches to the general plan-type thing tomorrow.

It sounds involved and I guess, especially to any radical unschoolers reading this, it may be more complicated than necessary. We've just done this for long enough to know what works for us - and the single thing that makes the biggest difference to keeping Mummy (and therefore everyone) happy in our Home Ed is having a plan - however vague or flexible - at the start of a term.  Then our priority naturally becomes adapting it to our needs as the weeks go by.  If at any point it ceases to be fun or interesting, we change tack. Simple as that.  But having no plan at all usually ends up with all of us feeling listless and dissatisfied, so especially as we've had a very random, bitty term, we are sticking with what we know.

I am hoping to be able to keep blogging, not least because many of you were kind enough to ask me to do so when we moved (apologies for not doing very well at that bit).  However, one of the many happy by-products of our Home Education has been the inspiration I gained from seeing my boys find a love of creative writing, which in turn has led to me writing my first novel.  It is not quite finished: I need to get it ready to send off to publishers etc (eeeek!), and that is going to take work. So my spare time which I used to use for blogging is going to be shared with other writing, and I have no idea how much time that is going to take (I suspect it will be a lot!)  I enjoy blogging though, so am hoping to keep writing here when I have something to say and time to say it.  As always, we will have to see.

Meanwhile I'll leave you with a few photos from our adventures in north Worcs so far - there may have been little by way of structured learning at the end of 2015, but we have been enjoying finding out what our new locality has to offer.  Just because we haven't stuck to a learning plan, it doesn't mean we haven't been learning.  Simply listening to the boys talk shows me how much they are growing and learning all the time, and all those new experiences and places to explore are playing an invaluable part in that!

The Wyre Forest - we have particularly enjoyed the "Stick Man" trail so far

The river Severn in flood at Bewdley

another day, another trip - to a different part of the Wyre Forest

 Santa Safari at West Midland Safari Park

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