Monday, 28 November 2011

New and Old

Old friends. Catching up with a special lady who has been there for me for eighteen years, with whom I have shared all the ups and downs of life as I have gone from newly-married, newly-qualified teacher and her as  single teacher, to us both mums of three. We chatted over mugs of tea and lit a bonfire in the garden for excited children to toast marshmallows before just having time to snuggle up on the sofa with my godson  and a favourite book. Connections. Roots. Love and support.
New challenges. North Downs Way under our belt, starting the South Downs Way. Happy dog romping in the fields, twelve rolling Hampshire miles, fresh air and warm late autumn sunshine, time out from busy life to talk and think deeply and to relax. New hope. New ideas. New future.

Friday, 18 November 2011


It's been a good week for home ed.We have had many of those meandering conversations which have lead us to all kinds of ideas and activities. We  have been following the Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat in our chapter book time and this has lead to many times of jumping up from the sofa to print off a tangram, to look at the work of M.C. Escher or to cut up a Mobius Strip. We are reading "The Eagle of the Ninth" and talking about Roman Britain. We have climbed and swum, the boys have been out to an evening with the writer of Dr. Who and my eldest has continued his enjoyment of an excellent science course at the National Physical Laboratory. They have worked independently and with me, played with friends and worked in the garden. My youngest explained the concept of heat in terms of particles wobbling and my middle son told me about absolute zero as we chatted about heat in the car. And we rounded it off with what is becoming our favourite day of the week, Friday: a lie-in and then free to do something all together. Last week we cycled along the Thames Path, this week we went for a walk in the woods, indoor climbing and had poetry tea in the cafe at the rock wall. Sometimes, when life is harder than usual, it is easy to lose my sense of what it is that I do, and enjoy: life, education, growth with the children. And that is what Home Ed is all about.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

So much happens ...

It's getting hard to keep up.There's the private stuff and the public stuff, the happy stuff and the sad stuff, the hard stuff and the easy stuff; there's laughter and tears, words that hurt and words that comfort. It has become harder and harder to find the time to blog, but also to work out where to draw the line between the deeply personal and the freely open. I decided to fix a regular weekly slot to post, but this week it came and went as I spent valuable time helping a little boy struggling with big emotions and changes in his life.
And home ed carries on. My younger two (I was corrected yesterday when I called them "the little ones". "Medium one" and "Biggish one" is more accurate, apparently, leaving my eldest as "Huge one"!) have received certificates for their horse-riding and stable management, and all three have been awarded swimming badges. They tried out a sports class (but didn't like it) and toured the archive of the Surrey History Centre (Where the old documents get washed in soap and water! Go figure!). My two eldest are studying for maths exams and my youngest continues in her progress to becoming a chess master! Yesterday, inspired by last week's success, we dug out the bike rack, took all five bikes to a local town and pedalled, with the dog, along the Thames Path, enjoying time outdoors and time together.
It's not all been easy though. I've been the subject of confusing and unhelpful allegations and it's taken time and energy to sort it out. I'm left feeling betrayed, hurt and judged. I don't know who made these allegations, or why and it's hard not to slip into feeling that everyone is against me, thinking things about me and condemning me. But I have to grasp hold of the simple fact that I don't know what people are thinking. Yes, someone has chosen to act on their opinion of me but that leaves everyone else who hasn't, or who doesn't hold the same opinion. I don't know how other people judge me, I don't know their minds and I cannot always look for approval, imagined or real. In the words of a dear friend who e-mailed me this week, I have searched my depths and found more truth in my life. To find your truth and live more authentically is always a great thing and I will continue to do this and try not to worry about what people think!

Friday, 4 November 2011

On Monday we set out on our sponsored Bike Ride:
Ready to go

First pit-stop

Resting on our way home

Still full of beans

Home and happy

Well done!
Over £100 raised!

We changed our route to remove the need to put five people and five bikes in the car so we cycled from home to Kingston, along the river, and then home again: 22 miles in total. I was impressed that I could cycle so far - it's a long time since I've regularly used a bike - and even more impressed that the children could! There was not one word of complaint and, in fact, they were pretty excited the whole way and we are aiming to cycle from home to Waterloo - around 30 miles along the river- in the spring.

The Bicycle Ride.

We get on our bikes, our feet on the pedals,
At the end of this ride there shall be no medals,
Just a nice happy feeling, and family glory,
(Unless we all die in an accident gory.)
Twenty-two miles on a bike! Golly Gosh!
Through mud that goes squish and though puddles that splosh,
Through fields of grass and paths all brown,
Out and in and out of town,
We go past locks, we go past houses,
We go past horses and, er, cow-ses,
All this for puppies, small and sweet,
And kittens with soft paws for feet,
For we’re sponsoring an Animal Home! (Mayhew,)
For cats and dogs and rabbits too!
At long, long last, we stop for lunch,
On chips and sarnies we happily munch,
Then back on the bikes and off we go!
(Starting, of course, a trifle slow.)
But our hearts are light as air,
Because, Great Scott, we’re half-way there!
We make light conversation, trying to ignore,
The noises coming from the floor,
Because our feet, beginning to ache,
(Though they’re just being lazy, as we know,
We only started five minutes ago!)
After many, many hours
Of passing grass, and flowers, and flowers,
We get back home! Hip hip hooray!
What a fun, but tiring day!
We are so tired we all fall asleep,
There is no need for counting sheep!