Monday, 13 January 2014

Getting on with it, I guess.

The Babe has been going to a childminder on a Monday for a few months now so that I can have some time to myself. I was thinking that this would be time to get a job, or do some volunteer work or spend some time with the Meister. Well, it turned into getting shit done day. Mostly medical stuff for a few of us.

The Meister was having blackouts. It was very scary. She went missing a few times, and woke up in places she had never been. Police and ambulances were often involved, along with many 7 hour trips to A and E. She was referred to a neurologist, had many, many tests, and has now been signed off. She doesn't have epilepsy or any neurological problem, or diabetes, or thyroid function problems, or hormone imbalances, or whatever else they tested her for. Apparently, they are vaso-vagal episodes. Or in layman's terms. She appears to faint when she gets stressed.

So fine. That is all good news. But it does mean that home education has been very different. Because she has not been able to go out on her own, and because I was this year diagnosed with arthritis and spent several months unable to go out, and we don't have a car,  we have been having a very stay-at-home life. My Monday's without the Babe, turned into hospital appointment days.

Tuesdays is often the only day we see people because I offer an English group for 13-16 year olds (well, 17 if you include the Boy who likes to join in even though he already has his A in English!) Then we spend the afternoon knitting and crocheting and chatting, while kids do Minecraft, or talk cult TV and Manga, and go to the Pound Bakery and do Parkour at the park. Tuesdays are exhausting and energizing, and then we do very little for the rest of the week again. I spend a lot of time doing physio and pilates and trying to get the ole hips in shape. (It's working!)

It has been stressful. It has been boring. It has meant that I have been concentrating on bookwork with the Meister in a way that I never have with the others. We must also consider that I am at home with a 4 year old and a 14 year old, and catering to these very different age groups is not easy. If I am playing with Playdough, I may set the Meister some workbooks to do. I rarely get around to checking the work, but I set it so I can say I set it. So home ed has been difficult this past year in a way that it hasn't in the past.

Things, however, are looking up. I put it all down the extra energy I seem to have from my Vitamin D3 supplements. (No, really!)

The Babe is not keen to go to the childminders anymore. That is hard for me. I don't feel it is too much to ask for a day a week. But it is too much to ask a 4 year old to make sacrifices for my benefit. After all, I am the Mummy. :-)

Today we tried out the little people's home ed drama group. She didn't take part, but at least she stayed until the end. That is new. She doesn't like big noisy groups. Or being told what to do. (So school is definitely NOT and option.) I am hoping to go back, and to maybe try to build a new network, but some things occurred to me today about how things are different than they were when my big ones were wee.

Firstly, we spent a lot of time just hanging out at each other's houses. We did coffee mornings and playdates and trips to the park for years. My older 4 kids spent the first 12 years of their lives, just playing and hanging out with friends. It is harder to do that now because there are more home educators. It is hard to just meet somebody, and say, come on over to my house. Everybody seems to be too busy anyway. There are activities every minute of every day. (How do they all afford it!?)

And yet, home ed was much more and integral part of the way we lived. Camps and trips to museums and hill forts, and walks around reservoirs, and climbing rocks and trees, and visiting aboretums, and reading books ALL the time, and watching telly, all happened with friends. And it all led to learning on the hoof while playing.

I miss that. I'll have to think about it a bit more. But things are different for our family now. And I guess home ed will be different with the Babe. The Meister has decided she wants to try school again. We have a studio school opening in Manchester in September, and she wants to give it a go. Small classes, and project based learning, and long days and terms. It is all a bit different from regular school, and different from home ed. If she could do it 3 or 4 days a week, it would be perfect for her. But it is full time. She is giving it a go, and hopefully, I can stop worrying about trying to find places for her to do all the GCSEs she wanted to do.

More on that in another post I guess. This is just me trying to get caught up with myself. Hello Me. Are you a home educator?