I had this post all figured out in my head, but I've blown it. I can talk the talk, but I don't always walk the walk. I truly, in a place deeper than my intellect, believe that home education works, that it is freedom for my children to explore and to be who they truly are. This month I have stepped back as far as I am able and tried to let their education be autonomous, (at least a bit! ) My daughter has come on leaps and bounds in her reading, and together we have discovered the joys of sewing. My eldest son has written most of his novel, a staggering 17, 360 words! My middle son has just rediscovered his boxed set of David Attenborough DVDs and is working his way through 'Life of Birds'. And then I go and lose my temper. In a 'fit of crossness' (my son's words) brought on by being woken early by a child's nightmare, an over-busy week and worry, I told them all that they did nothing if I didn't stand over them and then sent the middle one off to 'just go and learn something!' I told my youngest that she expected everything done for her and that she had to more independent and why couldn't she just learn to read? I picked up her scissors to cut her velcro to size. 'But mummy,' she said, 'I can do it. You said you wanted me to do it myself.' Caught red-handed!
At the root of this anger, I suspect, is no small part jealousy. I would love to play around with sewing (or knitting or painting), to be free from the critical voices, only seeking to please my rag-doll. I would love the time to try and write a novel. I would love to watch the numerous brilliant documentaries I wish I had time for. Instead I squeeze in a watercolour class but find it hard to overcome my fear of making a mistake. I manage twenty minutes most days to blog, but even that didn't happen yesterday. I watch 30 minutes of an art history lecture series most weeks, but sometimes fall asleep in front of the tv.
On Tuesday I asked my painting tutor for a list of essential colours which I should kit myself out with if I'm going to continue. She gave me a very helpful sheet listing some I have and some I don't. "And of course," she added, "the colours you like." What do I like? How would I know?
My little needle-girl said to me yesterday that sewing was her present, her special thing that she could do. I'm guessing that someone had translated the word 'gift' for her, so that sewing is her gift, or talent. But I like the idea of it being a present: it brings her joy and confidence, and I'm sure that brings delight to her heavenly father. At nearly 40 I feel as if I am just discovering my presents and that allowing myself to enjoy the freedom I prize for my children is part of that journey.