Contemplations after a lovely couple of weeks

We have been rather social lately and I find that I like it. It is interesting, in a sad kind of way, how being social is a habit that you can sort of lose. I wrote in my last post about how I was feeling a bit nostalgic about how we home educated when the big kids were small and I was hoping to start building a network for the Babe. And me!

We have had visitors for the weekend and gone to a new home ed group where the Babe had a good time. We also managed the adventure playground meetup and again, she had fun, even if I didn't manage to get to speak to anybody for more than 5 minutes. Last night we went to a friend's house for family food and games and it was really nice. We used to do that sort of thing more often. I guess that means that we should again!

Well, we have given up on the childminder option as she really didn't want to go. Even one day a week was too much for her. I found this hard to come to terms with because I kept looking at it from my point of view - it is only one day - is that too much to ask?- and she is a really nice childminder - and it is free! Oh well, I finally realized that wanting it and not getting it was making me angry so I decided to stop wanting it. I will find me time elsewhere. The Babe's dad can take her out to exciting places or let me get out, and I can still attempt to maintain my sanity.

The one thing that is suffering already is the English group. I haven't written much about this group, but for the past two academic years, it has been my favourite thing to do with home educators and/or kids. We have done whatever I felt like doing, and I have had some good feedback from the participants. Some stuff is academic, some is games, some is grammar, some is literary themes. We are working on writing at the moment, having discussed a few short stories and looked at character, setting and plot over the past few months.

It is funny how I notice the differences in age, ability and aptitude with only these 8 kids, and often know that I am doing things that some of them like and others don't, and some of them get it, and others don't, and some of them are really fed up with others going off on tangents as they make all sorts of connections in their heads. But they all seem to get something out of it. How in the world can teachers do it with big classes of 25-35 kids? Well, they can't. I imagine they connect on some level with the same 5 kids over and over.  I am lucky that I don't have to follow a curriculum, so that when they like something, we can change what we are doing. Last year, I had planned out a term of covering things like simile and metaphor, symbolism, personification, and imagery using poetry. But they really liked the simile and metaphor bits and the poetry we were reading, so we ended up doing that three times longer than originally planned. :-) It meant that reading Refugee Boy by Benjamin Zephaniah got postponed by a year or so, but that has turned out lucky because the play of the book is on soon and some of us are going to see it, having read and discussed the book over Xmas and January.

But I am not sure what we are going to do next. With the Babe not going to the childminder, I lose my afternoon of planning and thinking. I think I am also losing a bit of motivation because of the Meister's plans to start school in September. I feel sort of like our time is coming to an end. Even as I say that, I find it ridiculous, as she is only 14, but I do wish that we had more opportunities to do all the things I would like to do, if time and money allowed. Like go to Stratford, or London, or even just have a car to go to some National Trust properties, and visit friends in far away towns.

As you can see, (or I can at least) everything is in a jumble, and the way it is all connected is what makes up LIFE. Talking about one kid, means talking about another. Talking about being social, means thinking about other opportunities. It is how all of these themes are related. And when I sit down to think and write today, it is all jumbled in my head.

But maybe I don't care. Because we have been visiting with friends, and playing games, and smiling.


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