Thursday, 29 September 2011
There are weeks like this one, when there just seems far more to do than hours to do it in, when my eight-year-old is crying about the cat while my ten-year-old covers every available kitchen surface in chocolate-chip cookie mixture while my private pupil sits patiently and waits for me to teach him and the dog escapes onto the front drive. There are days like today when, after two late nights of emotional conversations, tired does not seem a sufficient word. There are mornings like this when my pale brown carpet is a patchwork of muddy paw-prints as the over-excited and under-exercised dog jumps at everything and everyone and it is nearly 11am before I am thinking about what to try to do today and how to make my home welcoming for a transatlantic visit from my brother. And it is moments like this when the devil-voice asks how much my children can possibly be learning. I look around: my twelve-year-old is in a GCSE maths tutorial with two other young lads, so we are covering maths and social skills. My ten-year-old has just returned from church where he has delivered, and sold, his muffins for a charity coffee morning and has set off to the shops to spend his hard earned cash. I reckon that covers economics and citizenship as well as developing his independence, oh, and leadership - because the eight-year-old has gone too. She's learning teamwork and social skills and as she spent the previous half-hour washing her scooter in the sunshine she's been developing independence and responsibility. Chapter book (literacy, history, maths) snuggled on the sofa (social and emotional skills) and a dog walk in the park later (P.E. and animal care) and the day looks very different.