With my husband away on a residential training course this week, I have been holding fort. I was woken by our 9 year old bringing me a cup of tea. She is well on the road to achieving her dream (when she was 4) of being a servant. She is such a blessing! A little later, another little lady came upstairs, climbed on the bed and we had a cuddle while discussing which day of the week it is. She cannot remember the name Thursday, so we talked about ways we may help her remember the days of the week and I promised to show her how to write them.
At half eight the alarm went for school to start and I checked they had all done their chores, chickens and ferret fed and so on. I don’t have to ask, I just have to check and yes, they were done, but child number four was not dressed. This is not an uncommon start to the day. She was wandering around with her clothes for the day held on top of her head. She needed a little encouragement to get dressed and a reminder not to just leave her pyjamas on the floor. Half way through being dressed and undressed she stopped to ask when Daddy would be home. Concentrating on the answer meant no dressing was done for a few minutes.
The children got on individually with their work. I read aloud to Son no 1. a book that made me choke with emotion. I love well written literature and this was a good one, capturing the real value and worth to be found in human kindness. He then disappeared to his room to do his work by himself. He is the catalyst to catastrophe if he sits too close to any of the others and so is better working in his room, generally.
I helped Miss Puddleduck write the days of the week, then we concentrated on her maths and she did some work from her other books. Son no 2 continued his fascinating study of volcanoes and earthquakes, something that has really gripped his interest, especially as we have just had two teensy earthquakes locally. He tells me he wants to see a volcano erupt. I told him he will have to go to New Zealand or Iceland when he is older. Daughter no 1 got on with her work quietly.
When the alarm went for break, they all proceeded to build an elaborate train track across the living room floor and squeal with delight. I realised then that this is “grumpy week” for me as I found their squeals irritating and more so that my toes kept being run over or trodden on. I let the play continue unchecked and kept my grumpy self quiet.
I had promised the boys, yesterday, that I would give them a map to follow and send them off orienteering. I got the map ready and explained their route to them while they put together a picnic lunch and collected the right footwear and waterproofs etc. Then off they went.
The girls continued working until music practice and after they had practised their instruments we sat and read through a book about the body that I have been taking Miss Puddleduck through. Today, we looked at the senses and nerves. She now keeps telling me that her brain is telling her she is hungry, or when she hurt herself her brain knew about it because her finger sent a message to it via her spine.
We found that the cat had kindly left the entrails of a rabbit for us to examine. It was a great visual for the last lesson we did from the body book on digestion. Miss Puddleduck was most concerned that I touched the intestines and stretched them out to show how long they were. She was worried I would forget to wash my hands. No chance! Who needs things to dissect when you have cats? The boys were most impressed to find a bat as this morning’s present from the cat. I was around last night when she brought it in, very pleased with herself. She must be a swift hunter to catch a bat. I cleared away all her presents, much to Rosie’s indignation and so she went straight off and caught a mouse.
The boys came back just after lunch, very pleased with themselves, sweaty and a little damp from the rain that caught them intermittently. Son no 1. has now gone off to do his Thursday afternoon milking at the farm and decided against wearing the work wear boiler suit I bought him, this time. I’m not sure how much pride was involved in that decision.
No 1 and most musical daughter asked if she could put some music on. She chose the CD of the Albert Hall concert I played in. She watched me closely as soon as it came on and eventually asked me if I recognised it. Yes! It’s “grumpy week”, so showing no reaction until she asked wasn’t really fair. The music has been my soothing serenade to writing this, while the children are now bouncing on the trampoline. The sun has come out and it’s time for me to make tea.
Everyday is different but we do follow a pattern where our written work in the morning is structured around a time frame and alarms set on my phone. This way the children know what is happening, what is expected of them and I don’t have to badger them at all. They match those expectations. It keeps us all content and consistent. But just occasionally I’ll throw some spontaneity in and send them off to climb the highest hill nearby. Thursday afternoon is traditionally outdoor afternoon when we get outside to do mainly horse related activities. As we had a lovely horse filled afternoon yesterday instead of Welsh lessons, before the girls went to Brownies, I didn’t feel it was too urgent today. On Tuesday, we had our project day and went driving. The rain came sooner than expected and called a stop to proceedings but it gave me an opportunity to visit the NT office at Erddig and ask about their Education provision. I love the way the National Trust is so welcoming to home educators. It is brilliant!
Now! Tea time and a welcome home for Dad. Hooray!