The days are getting shorter and I look forward to the end of the day. After dinner, the boys head out into the garden. Darkness is falling and the sky is inky blue. There is only silence, punctuated by my excited children.
I’ve given them a corner of the garden. They’ve built their bug hotel, planted hydrangeas and grasses, put up a bird feeder. After forest school, the park ranger sent us home with a couple of trees each and the boys plant their Blackthorn and Dog Rose saplings. They protect the spindly wood with plastic bottles to keep them safe from Muttley.
It’s so good to see them taking pride in something and working towards a vision, however small that vision might be. Their excitement over a small, muddy patch of garden is heart-warming and I smile as I watch them work together.
We head out to a country park we’ve not been to for well over a year. We follow the Ladybird Trail – hunting for 32 different species of ladybird native to the UK. The boys shriek and squeal as they find each one. Reaching the end of the trail, we have only found 30, so we reverse the search and still only find 31.
We spend hours more here than we intended. As we drive home, the boys watch the sun set. It sinks slowly, dripping lazily in the sky like a leaking tap – hardly noticeable, but every time you look, the sky has changed completely.
The days are flying by. I have a stack of the boys’ work that never seems to make it to their folders, but instead gets moved around the kitchen from the toaster to the fridge to the coffee-maker, before being added to and then sent on another journey around the worktops.
We do Reading Eggs and Mathseeds, read Whizz Pop Bang and old copies of Eco Kids Planet, spend time cooking together, swimming, forest school…the usual home ed. suspects.
We complete science experiments from sets given as presents. We snuggle under crochet blankets to read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Daddy orders the films so we can stay under the blankets and watch the story play out in front of us, with popcorn and pizzas. We spend far too much time in the garden.
We’ve slowed down these last few weeks and I’ve enjoyed it. The air is cold and the grass crunches underfoot when you first step out in the morning. Christmas is in the air, the first few houses bravely sporting twinkling lights and shimmering stars. The occasional festive song is slipped into the repertoire at the supermarket. Mince pies are stacked up in every shop.
But for now we enjoy the cold, spending time together, reconnecting, turning inwards.