With the door slowly closing on summer, I am standing with my foot stuck in it refusing to let the door close and admit that it is autumn. But the horses kick up fallen leaves on our early morning rides and an extra layer is needed to be worn when we set off so I’m going to have to say goodbye to a glorious summer, that I have loved.
It has been wonderful. The weather was to be celebrated after last year’s soggy summer and true Brits made little complaint (unusually) but did their utmost to enjoy it.
One week of the summer, saw four great achievements for us: (i) Longshanks was very successful at carriage driving in his first show and is now thoroughly encouraged and completely besotted with the sport; (ii) all the children were baptised; (iii) we climbed one of the Welsh 3000s together as a family; and (iv) I got the results of my theology assignments back to find that they were all my highest marks yet, making this year’s work average out as a First.
And now back to routine!
Rich Tea Boy would be starting secondary school if he was in the main stream system – a time of change. So I have been planning this term. September and a new academic year is always a teacher’s time of great new plans. We have been following the same pattern and timetable format for the past five years.
Last year, I varied it slightly by allowing one day a week to become a project day, leaving the other four days for syllabus work. However, I have just done some learning style assessments on each of the children and as a result have decided to adopt Suzannah Wesley’s homeschooling method of giving her time to each child at set times. Mine all have different interests and all have different learning styles. To accommodate those differences I will focus on one child each day, meanwhile the others will continue with their usual syllabus work. With four children this still gives us one day for joint project work.
yesterday, and apart from feeling exhausted just looking at it, I have got each child to write a list of specific things they want to learn about or explore more. Together we will decide each week what we will do on their day. So for Longshanks, his day is Monday. Miss Puddleduck will have Tuesday. Miss Friendship will have Thursday and Rich Tea Boy, Friday. It was very telling that Miss Friendship had the longest list of things she wanted to do, amounting to 31 things. Longshanks thought his list was long at 19.
Rich Tea Boy ran his fingers through his hair, cleaned his glasses vigorously, sighed and wrote down two things. He then rested his forehead against the table and so I asked him what was up. He said his mind goes as blank when he looks at a blank piece of paper.
Miss Puddleduck and I constructed her list together with much giggling. She was so funny to do the learning style assessment with too. It is an assessment that covers not just learning style but skill and interests and how environment affects their learning – ie. if they get hungry easily, hot or cold or are affected by lighting. She knows herself quite well and came out as an inspirer/relater. Being a visual learner was only just higher than a tactile and kinesthetic learner, which surprised me but on her skills and interests assessment it was no surprise that she came out highest in interacting with animals.
I intend to use the results of these assessments to make sure that the way we approach each child’s topic of interest on each of their days will be done in a way that is fitting to them.
I noticed a huge deluge of photos shared on Facebook recently of crisply uniformed and shiny, clean faced children standing by their front doors or garden gates as they embark on a new academic year or even start school for the first time. With the photos came that sense of excitement and I felt excited for them and hope they have a wonderful year and learn to love life and learning. I loved beginning a new academic year and I loved new uniform, especially new socks! New timetable, new teachers, sometimes new school and friends – all the exciting “new” things.
The children are ready for routine again however reluctant I am to let summer finish and I feel compelled to return to routine by the silence I found in town the other day when I popped to Tesco for some bread – a real lull after the holiday hubbub.
Hmmm…that’s how I feel this year: A silent lull and grief at summer’s passing! How does it compare to our return to routine last year?