National Poetry Day

Oh dear, it has been quite a while since I have visited my poor, abandoned blog. I think I felt guilty for not completing the second half of the read along I was attempting to participate in and was thus avoiding the blog a bit, and the avoidance became a habit. Ah well…

I’m back today to share another poem. Since it’s National Poetry day, I was trying to get the small people to all write poems. So in an effort to set a good example, I sat down and wrote one myself. None of them seemed inspired by my excellent example, but I haven’t given up on them completely. If they do produce anything, I will record it here for posterity. But in the meantime, here is the fruit of my labours.

Autumn Joys

Mackintoshes
and galoshes.
Conker hunts and
puddle sploshes.

Piles of washing
refuse to dry.
Baking, cooking,
casseroles, pie.

Candlelight, fires.
Incandescence.
Yearning for light’s
comforting presence.

Misty mornings.
Inky evenings.
Crisp forest walks.

Sleep approaching.

(Edited to add:)

Pippi has discovered garden inspiration.

Fat Slugs

Fat Slugs

Very, very fat slugs

I found one in my garden.

Poetry

I need to do the second part of my Stardust Read Along discussion, but this week has been pretty busy and I haven’t had time to sit down and think about it yet. It will be coming soon!

In the meantime, the small people and I have been writing a bit of poetry inspired by the nicer weather.  I present them here for your reading pleasure  and for posterity’s sake. I have to say, I am rather mortified to be posting my very bad indeed poem, but the small people would only let me post theirs if I included mine as well. Poems are presented as written, mistakes included. I wish I could include the letter reversals as well, but I don’t think I have the right font for that!

Pippi’s Poem

SummEr

SuN suN ArE you
AwAKE bECAUSE
iT is morning
ETe FrOgs ARE
HoPPing in HTHe PrAy
iT is VERY dEAUTifuL
in THE bAY

I love the bit about “the frogs hopping in the pray”. I tried to get her to explain what she meant, but she couldn’t. I think she just liked the sound of it. And that last word is “day”, even when I tell her which way round to write her “b” and “d”, she still manages to reverse them.  :)

 

Betsy’s Poem

This is still a work in progress, but Betsy was happy for me to put what she’s got so far.

The SprinG Sings.

BLueBeLLs ring.
fLowers sing.
The Leaves on the trees
WHistle in the breese.
Cats meow and WriGGLe
FroGs croak anD GiGGLe.

I love her rhyme scheme here and the use of consonance as well. She was pretty pleased when I explained that she had used a poetic device that she didn’t even know existed.  :)

 

My Poem

(Cringe… I cannot believe I am sharing it. I was embarrassed to let Betsy read it! I wrote it because Betsy wanted a poetry writing companion.)

Kiss from a Star: Spring

Fairytale princess – she has lain asleep.
Frozen.
Covered in darkness.
Life retreating within her.

Triumphant – he returns from the quest which led him away.

A kiss – joyful reunion.

Warmth runs through her.
Darkness fades.
Slowly her face turns towards him.
Life returns.

The Boy has not officially written any poetry lately. I believe he has regaled us with a few songs and he has certainly told many increasingly blood thirsty tales of Little Robot Jack’s adventures. But alas, none of it was written down.

I hope that you are all enjoying the spring whether you are in the UK where we’ve been waiting for it rather impatiently, or in the States where it may already be feeling like summer!

Stardust by Neil Gaiman – Read Along Part 1

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For many years, I have been a lurker, reading lots of blogs, but never entering into conversation with anyone. I have recently decided to crawl out of my internet cave and interact with people a bit more.

To kick that off here at my blog, I’m participating in a read-along of Stardust by Neil Gaiman hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings as part of his Once Upon a Time Challenge. I only very recently discovered Neil Gaiman. I haven’t loved everything I’ve read by him so far, but I’ve liked it enough to keep plugging away at his back catalogue. So when I saw this read-along was happening, I knew it would be a good opportunity to get on board.

Stardust is basically a fairytale for grown ups, as are most fairytales really. The dust jacket synopsis is as follows:

At the dawn of the Victorian era, life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall – named after the imposing stone barrier which separates it from a grassy meadow. Here in Wall, young Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to the beautiful Victoria Forester. But she is cold and distant, as distant as the star she and Tristran see fall from the sky one crisp October evening. For the coveted prize of Victoria’s hand, Tristran vows to retrieve the fallen star and deliver it to his beloved. It is an oath that propels him into a world that is dangerous and strange beyond imagining…

This discussion is meant to cover the first half of the book with the second half being discussed next week. I, being the impatient book reader that I am, did not have the self-control to stop half-way through. So I have read the whole book. I will try valiantly to forget the second half for the purposes of this discussion, though!

If you’re interested in reading Stardust and haven’t yet, you probably want to stop reading now. Spoilers ahead.                I’m going to stick with using the discussion questions that were set for us. So here we go:

1.  We have spent a little time with Tristran and even less time with the star.  What are your initial thoughts/impressions of our two protagonists?

Tristran seems very earnest and likeable, albeit young and naïve. The one thing that really bothers me regarding Tristran is that his father allows him to go off on a seemingly vain quest into Faerie without telling him who he really is. I really don’t understand this. Surely the knowledge of his true parenthood, or at least the very little information that his father has about his mother, could only have been helpful to him. I would be interested to see what would have remained the same and what would have changed during his journey if he had known that his mother was part of that world.

I was actually really surprised to discover that the star was a person. I was totally not expecting that. My first impressions of the her were that she is stubborn and strong-minded, but not necessarily in a bad way.

2.  There are some very interesting potential villains introduced in this first half of the book.  Do any of them particularly stand out to you? If so why or why not?

The main thing that stood out to me regarding the potential villains was that there were so many of them, and they are mostly quite ambiguous. We know that the Witch-queen has evil intentions towards the star, but we don’t know how the quest of the brothers from Stormhold (living and dead) will impact upon our protagonists. There is also Mistress Semele, who certainly seems to fall in the baddie category without her role in coming events being very obvious.

Also, despite the ambiguity of the villainous characters, they are very dark and quite scary!

3.  In Chapter Three, just after the section with the brothers in Stormhold, Neil Gaiman gives us a description of Faerie that includes “each land that has been forced off the map by explorers and the brave going out and proving it wasn’t there…”.  What imaginary lands do you then hope are a part of Faerie?

I’m sure there is a great deal more to Faerie than we will get see in this story. For me, Neil Gaiman’s description in that passage summons up thoughts of Atlantis, Camelot, Eldorado, enchanted forests and the edge of the world.

4.  We do not get to spend a great deal of time in the market but while there we are given a number of interesting descriptions of the wares being bartered or sold.  Which if any of them caught your eye, either as items you would like to possess or ones you would most certainly hope to avoid.

The stand selling “Eyes! Eyes! New eyes for old” utterly creeps me out. I think I’d quite like to have a tiny crystal cat, though! And I would be sorely tempted by the prize of a “wind flower”, which sounds amazing, although I’m rubbish at riddles so I’d probably have to pass it by.

5.  If you have read much of Gaiman’s work, particularly his short fiction, then you have come across some rather graphic and disturbing portrayals of sex.  Gaiman offers up something very different in the way of a sex scene early on in Stardust.  What are your feelings of the scene either in general or as a contrast to other Gaiman-penned scenes involving sex?

This scene took me by surprise. I think I began this book thinking it was probably YA or a universally suitable sort of book (like many fairytales). Then I got to this scene and though, “OK… definitely a book for grown ups then.” I didn’t find it to be offensive, but it was definitely a more graphic scene than I was anticipating.

6.  I suspect Neil Gaiman is influenced by a number of fairy and folk tales in Stardust.  Are there any elements of the story that made a particular impression and/or reminded you of other fairy stories you have read or are familiar with?

Although it certainly has a wide variety of fairytale influences, it was the nursery rhyme influences that stood out to me most in this story. I guess I find fewer references to nursery rhymes in adult literature than more general fairytale themes. Since having children and accumulating numerous editions of nursery rhyme collections, I have realised that I really love nursery rhymes and it’s lovely to see them alluded to and even used for key plot points.

7.  And finally, which of the many side characters introduce have caught your eye and why? Or what else about the story thus far is of interest to you?

I find both the tall man, who is seemingly somewhat responsible for all the events that befall Dunstan and Tristran, and the small, hairy man (creature?) very intriguing. I hope they both enter the story again down the road. I also feel very sorry for Brevis who gets turned into a goat, and wonder if he has any further role to play in events.

Overall, I really love this story. I love the numerous allusions to mythical/fairytale themes and creatures, the tiny details that are included just for the sake of it and to enhance the atmosphere of the world being created, and the naivety and innocence of Tristran which lends the whole story an air of lightness and innocence even though it is terribly dark in many places.

Ten on Tuesday – Gratitude Edition

Oh my, I didn’t realise it had been so long since I updated this little corner of the interwebs! I have decided to get back into the swing of things with a themed ten. This week, I bring you ten things for which I am thankful on this chilly Tuesday morning.

1.  Freshly mopped floors. Somehow, if my floors are clean, it makes all of life seem better.

2.  “Little Tyke”, the daughter of my friend whom we have the privilege of looking after once a week. She is extremely cute and often very polite, which never ceases to amaze and amuse me. It is lovely having her with us. It is also a good reminder of how much more difficult life is with very small people around, which is useful to banish any broodiness which might come along!

3.  One of my children (we’ll keep it anonymous to protect the other grumpy children) who decided to be exceedingly helpful today and almost single-handedly tidied our very messy conservatory/toy room.

4.  The old, broken washing machine has finally been removed from our house. For five and a half weeks it sat in the kitchen blocking the back door and making our pantry cupboard difficult to access. Mr Mallon insisted it was providing useful extra worktop space, but fortunately it started to stink and he took it to the tip on Sunday. Thank goodness!

5.  In five weeks my dad and aunt will be coming to visit us. I can’t wait!

6.  After many delays and a fair bit of hassle, we reserved a cat at the RSPCA on Saturday. It is technically Pippi’s much belated birthday gift. We are all very excited. (Well, perhaps not Mr Mallon who took an instant dislike to her. But he does that frequently and the rest of us liked her.) She is a three year old (ish) tortoiseshell. The staff at the rescue centre named her Cookie and after hours of family brainstorming and name deliberations, Pippi has decided that we should keep that name. We don’t have her at home yet. We’re still waiting on a home visit from the RSPCA to ensure we are going to be responsible cat owners. (One might be tempted to think they don’t really want to find homes for their animals – they make it VERY hard to adopt one!) We’ve been hearing since we reserved her that tortoiseshells tend to have very strong personalities and can be a bit of a handful. I think she’ll fit right in with our crazy family!

7.  Diana Wynne Jones March. Have I mentioned DWJ on this blog before? If not, I am shocked. Her books are my latest obsession. I read Howl’s Moving Castle in September, which I’ve been meaning to read ever since I randomly saw the anime film at The Big Scream at Fact when Betsy was 6 weeks old with friends from our NCT antenatal classes. I absolutely loved it. Then, a bit of research informed me that DWJ is the godmother of children’s fantasy. She wrote about 40 books over about 40 years. They are all very different from each other, but each are written in her own imitable style. I’ve been working my way through her collected works since September. Then, I stumbled upon a group of book bloggers who celebrate Diana Wynne Jones month each March (she died in March 2011). I have had so much fun reading everyone’s thoughts on how her books have impacted their lives, reviews and discussions of her books, and even a “watch-along” of the film of Howl’s Moving Castle where we watched the film together and live-tweeted it. It has been great.

8.  Reading Eggs. This is an internet-based phonics programme. I’m pretty sure it basically taught Betsy to read. Pippi and The Boy have been spending a great deal of time on there lately. They’ve been totally enjoying themselves and they are learning loads from it. Hooray.

9.  My friend Anna. She was on holiday last week, and I realised that I really rely on our weekly forest walks to keep myself sane. She is lovely, and I am very glad she is back home again!

10.  Central heating. This has been such a long cold winter! Even though I’m sure we’ve spent a small fortune on heating our house over the past few months, I am extremely grateful that we live in a warm house and we have the money that we need to pay our bills. God looks after us, and for this I am ever so thankful.

Ten on Tuesday

1. Today we have sickness in the house. Not serious sickness, just a couple of colds, but as we are usually bizarrely healthy, it’s not a scenario to which I’m accustomed. Pippi woke up complaining of a headache and she had a bit of a fever. And later in the morning Betsy took herself off upstairs and was found to be asleep on her bed. Calpol has been administered, duvets brought downstairs and DVDs put on. Is it bad that I’m enjoying the quiet and snuggles that come with mild unwellness?

2. Last week we had snow. It was marvellous. The small people and I spent two lovely afternoons sledging with Anna and her kids. Here are some photos courtesy of Anna. (And for those of you – I’m sure there are many! – who’ve been holding your breath for the vulture fact, I can only give my apologies… I have neglected to ask her about it. We’re going to count these pictures as Anna’s contribution to the blog for today!)

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3. Observing my children’s sledging preferences made me laugh. It’s quite funny how one activity can sort of sum up their personalities. The first afternoon, Betsy would not sledge at all, although she had fun watching everyone else. After a fair bit of persuasion, she agreed to go down with me the next day and loved it. Then after further persuasion, she plucked up the courage to go down by herself, which she did, shrieking all the way. She had a whale of a time and was heard bemoaning the fact that she had allowed herself to miss out the day before. The Boy spent both afternoons mostly pottering around by himself, rolling around in the snow. He went on the sledge with me a fair bit and always enjoyed it, but he wouldn’t go by himself or with anyone else. Pippi was an enthusiastic sledger from the moment we arrived and had no qualms about going solo. By the end of the second afternoon, she and Anna’s daughter were hurling themselves down a very steep snow ramp that someone had built up to a picnic table launching point that then proceeded down the steepest bit of the hill. (I think you can just make this out in the penultimate picture above.

4. I’m currently working on a little writing excercise which involves composing a poem based on a template from this poem: Where I am From by George Ella Lyon. I’m not sure I’m really getting anywhere with it, but has been fun dredging up old memories from the past. One thing I’ve realised while working on this is that I don’t have a very good sensory memory. I consider myself to have a very very good memory. I have great recall for trivial facts, days and dates that past events occurred. I have quite a lot of memories from very early childhood (younger than 3). But trying to dredge up the particular sort of sensory memories that this poem calls for is driving me nuts. I don’t remember smells or feelings. I am more of a fact remembering sort, I guess. It’s been an interesting self-discovery.

5. Birthday season is upon us. I hate having three birthdays all so close together. I don’t enjoy any of them properly. At my birthday, I’m busy feeling guilty about my lack of organisation for the kids’ birthdays and wondering if I should bother to make myself a cake when I know that have loads of child birthday baking to do soon and will be baked out before the end. Inviting friends to two birthday parties on consecutive weekends feels like an imposition on their free time. And all the celebratory traditions feel like a big to do list of chores rather than celebrations. I think I need to find a way to enjoy this month more since no one’s date of birth is likely to change in the future!

6. Pippi was given a science kit for Christmas where you set up a little tank and hatch the eggs of some tiny creatures that are only just big enough to see. With much ado, we set it up this week dutifully following all the instructions, and nothing happened. No eggs hatched. It was a failure. There was great disappointment and consternation. I think we’ve all taken this harder than maybe we should have!

7. I have temporarily given up on my reading of The Iliad. I downloaded a free version onto my Kindle, and it turns out I was reading the most awkward, difficult translation available. I had to sit down to read it with the computer nearby for looking things up every other sentence because I’m not familiar with the Roman names of all the gods. (It’s a story about the Greeks… who uses the Roman names in a Greek story???) And the language used was terribly archaic and difficult. After a while, I did a bit of research and quickly saw that a different translation would make the whole thing much more enjoyable. Unfortunately, our library doesn’t have any copies of a decent translation, so I’m going to have to purchase a copy. But just to save you all some trouble if you were planning on reading Homer anytime soon… just say no to Alexander Pope versions!

8. My washing machine has just started making some very unpleasant noises. I seriously do not want to purchase another major appliance this year!

9. I’ve been listening to this song today. Lots of food for thought in the lyrics. “Where you invest your love, you invest your life.” Good stuff.

10. What’s been going on with you lately?

Omega Memories

I first came to England (13.5 years ago!) to undertake a 9 month residential course with Frontline Church called the Omega Team which was also partnered with YWAMs Operation Year / Discipleship Training School programme. It was an incredible year… difficult at times, but mostly loads and loads of fun and featuring several once in a lifetime experiences. Plus, it’s how I met Mr Mallon.

I was feeling a bit nostalgic this evening and found myself humming a little tune. Near the beginning of the year, our team met up with several other groups undertaking a similar course. We were told that we all had to come up with a creative way to introduce ourselves to the other teams. So we sat down and wrote this little song to the tune of YMCA. Sadly or impressively (take your pick), I can still remember all of the lyrics. I felt that this work of art ought to be preserved for posterity.

So here, I present to you The Omega Team 99/2000′s famous Omega Song…

 

Good evening, we welcome you to Frontline.
We’re the Omegas. Hope you have a good time.
At this conference for Operation Years
Good to be together here.

It’s fun to be an O-M-E-G-A
It’s fun to be an O-M-E-G-A
Serving soup to the poor, we’ll even knock on your door.
We’ll do anything for the Lord.

Spekelands. It’s the house where we feast.
And there’s Sally, the bus we drive. She’s a beast.
Lots of cooking. It’s either raw or it’s burnt.
From mistakes life skills we have learnt.
Issues, they come up every day.
Mind blowing teaching; Too many notes in the way.
Lots of reading, and then discipleship too.
Getting to the roots, not just fruit.

It’s fun to be an O-M-E-G-A
It’s fun to be an O-M-E-G-A
Perservering in prayer, smashing strongholds, oh yeah.
We’ll do anything for the Lord.

In week 4, we experienced DT.
No sleep, and running into the freezing sea.
And who, could forget that walk or the leaders who would not talk.
Breakdowns and mental torture too, not to mention all those soggy shoes.
All that hardwork. And what was it for, just a piece of pesky jigsaw.

It’s fun to be an O-M-E-G-A
It’s fun to be an O-M-E-G-A
Freezing nights on Soupie, Edge kids say “Don’t touch me!”
We’ll do anything for the Lord.

Gareth, he’s our resident bongo boy.
Hannah, she always fills us with joy.
Ruth, she just loves to sing.
Dave’s a comedy king.
Sarah, she keeps fires at bay.
Helen, causes floods every day.
Ana, catches trains the wrong way.
Lauren’s from the USA.

It’s fun to be an O-M-E-G-A
It’s fun to be an O-M-E-G-A
Dressing up as Flintstones, visit kids in their homes.
We’ll do anything for the Lord.

Rachel, she loves to play her guitar.
Susie, she’s our bright Brummie star.
Aileen, she’s our Geordie lass.
Claire amuses us.
Now the leaders, let us introduce them.
Debbie, Toni, DJ and Ben, and last, but clearly not the least
Sue keeps us in one piece.

It’s fun to be an O-M-E-G-A
It’s fun to be an O-M-E-G-A
Growing more everyday in a PASSIONATE way!
We’ll do anything for the Lord….

Home Education

When people learn that we home educate, they display a range of reactions from “Is that legal?” to “What about socialization?” to “You must be incredibly patient. I could never do that.” It can be hard to know how to respond to people sometimes. Home education is incredibly different from classroom based, school education, but most people don’t really understand this. Most of us went to school and we are used to thinking that “education” is all about information and skills being transmitted to us in a specific way by trained professionals. It can be hard to break out of that box and see that learning is something we were made to do. It’s almost impossible to avoid learning from everything you do, every minute of your life. And home educators have the freedom to nourish this inbuilt desire to learn without following the model that is expedient for controlling 30 or so children in one room. You just have so much more flexibility with your own children, unconfined by time constraints and walls.

Home educating my kids is… a rewarding challenge, immensely difficult, loads of fun, a huge pain in the butt. This is all true. My answer would probably change depending on the moment in which I was responding. I don’t think that home educating is for everyone. You have to really want to do it as takes a lot of motivation to choose a lifestyle (and, yes, home educating is a life style decision – it cannot be confined to set hours and it affects your entire outlook on life) that is so very different from the norm. There are plenty of “perks” to home education – no school run, not tied to term times, clubs and lessons are easier to fit in, we don’t have to be early to bed, early to rise if we don’t want to be. But there is also the constant tension that arises from being different to most other families, the questions from perfect strangers when we’re out and about (which are sometimes fine and lovely, and sometimes harsh and accusatory), the doubts from friends and family members that can be very pressurising at times, not to mention the problems some HE families have with harassment from government officials who misunderstand their legal rights and obligations.

The highs and lows of the home educating parent’s life are myriad and personal. But here follows my own personal reasons for loving home ed and finding it an enormous challenge.

Challenges:

  • I am with my children ALL THE TIME. 

    I am an introvert. I need time on my own, all by myself. This, however, is an exceptionally rare commodity in my life. I get one hour a week sitting outside the door of the gym where Pippi has gymnastics. That’s about it, unless I choose to stay up very late after everyone (even Mr Mallon) has gone to sleep so that I can revel in aloneness. Since time alone is in short supply, I’ve had to find other ways to meet my need to not be constantly engaged with the small people in order to preserve my sanity. For about an hour most afternoons, I ignore the children. They will watch tv or play. I will intervene if it seems like someone is going to get hurt. But other than that, I ignore them and do something for me… usual surfing the interweb and drinking a cup of tea. I look at Mr Mallon’s two-hour a day commute with longing and envy. So what if he spends it on a bus crowded with smelly strangers… it’s still two hours a day that he doesn’t have to interact with other people. 

  • Balancing the needs and demands of three very different people. 

    This is actually something that has only recently become difficult. There are only 18 months between Betsy and Pippi. Pippi has always been more advanced with her motor skills than Betsy. This has meant that they can happily do most things together. And up until now The Boy has always just been a tag along. Sitting and listening if a story or activity interests him, and happily going off for some private game if not. But just recently there has been a shift. As Betsy has become an independent reader, she is less inclined to sit and listen to me read. She wants to be hiding away in her bedroom reading to herself. Pippi, being of a totally competitive nature, is struggling with the fact that Betsy can read and she can’t yet (or not very well). They are even diverging in the sort of books they enjoy reading. And The Boy has all of a sudden developed to a point where he needs some work of his own. His own books that are on his level. He’s even showing an interest in learning maths and reading (neither of the girls were at all interested at his age). So it seems that suddenly, I have a lot more to juggle.  I guess that’s just how it goes, but it’s certainly taking some adjustment.

  • Probably my biggest struggle, has been reconciling my own ambitions and plans for our home educating lifestyle with the desires, needs and personalities of my kids. 

    Betsy’s private nature and strong will have meant that as we embarked on our home educating adventure, things did not go exactly to my plans. I had visions of an idyllic, Charlotte Mason inspired education. With mornings filled with read alouds, math and writing practice and narrations by Betsy. But if Betsy thinks you want her to do something, she will dig in her heels and utterly refuse to do it. Betsy WILL NOT narrate back to me a summary of what we have read. In fact, Betsy seems to believe that the information contained in her head is her private property and she does not willingly share it on anyone’s terms but her own. This quickly scuppered my plans for how we would conduct our home education. Instead, I have had to sail out into the uncertain waters of autonomous education. Autonomous education is based on the theory that we were designed to learn and will naturally do just that if left to our own devices in an atmosphere full of stimulating materials and opportunities. I find it quite easy to believe the method works when I read about it in a book, but it does very much go against the grain of traditional school-based education and the societal pressures of our day. So for me, educating Betsy has been a daily exercise of trusting that this will all work out ok in the end, and hoping that I’m not ruining her forever. The fact that she has become a fluent reader with no formal teaching from me, encourages me that maybe this thing really will work. And hopefully along the way, she will flourish from being allowed to be exactly who she is and developing in her own time even if that doesn’t fit the rigid guidelines suggested by the powers that be.

Highlights

  • Watching my kids build strong relationships with each other. 

    My kids get along really well. They have to as we are always together. Don’t get me wrong; they also fight quite a lot of the time. And I do sometimes wonder if we could all do with a break from each other sometimes. But for the most part, they really love each other and they play together wonderfully. Wanting my kids to have a really strong foundation of friendship with one another is one of my main reasons for wanting to home educate them. Friends come and go throughout our lives, but  no matter how far away from them you end up living, your siblings are always a part of your life. 

  • Knowing that my kids can learn free from external pressures and expectations. 

    We are all unique individuals who grow and develop at our own pace. For the most part, we accept this when it comes to babies. Some people get their first teeth at 3 months, some at 18 months. There is  a wide range of times when babies learn to crawl, walk and talk. Most parents understand this and don’t freak out if their baby develops at a slightly different pace from their peers. But once kids reach school age, we seem to expect them to all follow the same developmental time scale for skills like reading and writing. Also, schools have to measure students progress. There is no easy way to do this so we resort to testing and placing kids on a scale which judges children with earlier readiness for learning certain skills as “better” or “smarter”. I love that in our home, my kids don’t have to keep up with a time scale dictated by averages. They can learn and develop at their own pace. They are free to pursue topics and skills that interest them. And they don’t have to perform in order to prove that someone is doing their job well. 

  • Learning and exploring the world alongside my kids.

    I love learning. According to one of those personality type test thingys, “Learner” is one of my key strengths. So it naturally appeals to me to learn along with my kids. You definitely don’t need to know all the answers in order to home educate your children, but you do need to be able to take their questions seriously and respond by seeking out the answers together. I love reading and discovering new worlds with my little people. There is nothing better than being all snuggled up on the couch together following the adventures of Dorothy and her friends in Oz or learning about the Vikings. I like to think that I set a good example to my kids of how we should always be learning as they observe my reading habits or see me sitting with my Welsh flashcards in the afternoon. When it comes down to it, this is why I home educate my kids. It seems such a shame to send them off and let someone else teach them about the world when we can have so much fun learning together. It’s an opportunity that, for me, is too good to pass up.