A Week in the Life: Home Ed.

It’s been a week of illness, so we’ve spent a lot of time in front of the TV. Generally we limit screen time and use it sparingly, but this week we watched both Charlie and the Chocolate Factory films in one afternoon. We also watched the Lego Batman film, courtesy of the Into Film Festival.

We’ve started our new nature curriculum which I’ve enjoyed. I plan to post about it separately.

Christmas is fast approaching and I find myself wondering where 2017 has gone. Facebook reminds me that this time last year I took a month off from social media and I’m nostalgic for those last few days of 2016 that I enjoyed so much. I vividly remember putting up the Christmas tree as the sun set over the day, casting a golden hue over a living room covered in tinsel and glitter. I recall my eldest gorging on enormous pomegranates, his face splashed with jewel-coloured juice and his smile wide and sticky.

We dragged the Christmas books down from the attic – the box that has one book too many in and is splitting at the seams. The smell of those books, dusty and damp, never fails to fill me full of excitement for the magic of the tales told between their stained pages.

We walk to see a friend. The sun beats down on an icy morning and we race down the canal path where it splits into two, seeing who can run the fastest to where the paths reconvene. I lose, as ever, even taking the shorter path.

Forest School brings little fingers wrapped in woollen gloves and hats perched at jaunty angles atop my boys’ heads. They learn how to tie knots and make simple wooden frames. We warm up in the ranger’s office with hot chocolate and investigate water filters and shed snakes’ skins. Getting home, the boys raid their stick collection to make stick picture frames for their bedrooms.

Home ed. this week has consisted of nature journals, reading, a few snippets of maths, but mostly getting outside in between the bouts of lethargy. We carry on ploughing through the Roald Dahl books, moving on to Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.

The boys are awestruck to see how pine cones open up when they are warm and dry. My eldest brought some home on a wet afternoon and put them on a radiator to dry. They knew how they closed up when the weather is wet, as wet weather isn’t conducive to seed dispersal, but to actually see it – they’ve told everyone they’ve seen this week about the magic of pine cones.

The snowberries dance in the gentle breeze, plump and pure as the boys roll them in their fingers whispering, ‘what are these, mum?!’

We pass mahonias as tall as me, their prickly leaves and yellow flowers standing proud in the bleakness of a wet afternoon.

I genuinely struggle to understand why people stay indoors as the cooler weather devours us. There is so much beauty over these last few months of the year and I want to shout from the rooftops: ‘Take your children outdoors! Come see the spellbinding magic that is the world in November.’

But I don’t. Instead, I decline yet another invite to an indoor play-area and we venture out alone to witness this beauty.

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