Change of Seasons

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After muddling through for just over a year with most of our books still in storage and without any significant social contact, Motor-biker decided at the beginning of April to try school.

It took a while for the bureaucratic wheels to turn, but once the ball was rolling everything seemed to happen very fast.

We had a tour of the school on the Thursday and then filled in the forms to officially apply for a place. On the Monday we were informed by the County Council that the place was ours and so he started on Wednesday morning.

We agreed that, given that the transition from home to secondary school is such a massive one, it could be overwhelming to jump in at the deep end and so he would start gradually. One lesson the first day, two on the second and so on.

Tomorrow is due to be his first full day.

So far it has been a mixture of enjoyment, overwhelmed exhaustion and frustration. (I will elaborate on the reasons for his frustrations later.)

For those of us left at home, there is also a mixture of feelings of joy and sadness – joy because I am happy for him to do what he wants to do (and he is such a sociable character, I think he will be in his element), sadness because my home education journey is coming to an end before I expected it to and with that I am experiencing feelings of disappointment and a niggling sense of failure.

It is nonsense of course – motherhood inevitably includes a sense of guilt but I know that actually I have done my best and we have had an incredibly difficult set of circumstances that have been and continue to be outside of my control.

Baba Zonee has decided to stay at home. He is a different character from his brother and doesn’t feel ready for school.

Pony-rider has turned 16 and is still at home mainly because she can’t decide what she wants, and Dragon-tamer is still at home struggling with mental and physical ill health after his breakdown which school caused.

I’m not worried that Motor-biker will have the same experience at school that Dragon-tamer did – again, they are very different characters.

Whereas Dragon-tamer found the education useful and the social contact difficult and frustrating, Motor-biker is likely to have the opposite experience, and I am prepared (and fully expecting judging from his reactions to the lessons so far) to need to supplement the education at home.

So perhaps not much will change in a way except for the timetable, and Baba Zonee will benefit I’m sure from having one-to-one attention for a change (not to mention a bit of peace and quiet! Motor-biker’s other nickname is Tigger due to his irrepressibly boisterous and bouncy nature!)

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I couldn’t help noticing that this massive change of season for us occurred on the occasion of the Full Moon at Passover and Orthodox Easter (also counted as Beltane for those who celebrate on the full moon rather than on May 1st according to the calendar). That confluence of Christian, Jewish and Pagan dates felt auspicious to me in a way. Perhaps it’s just me being fanciful, but perhaps that’s just me! 🙂

I feel a little as though I, like Dorothy, have been caught up in a whirling, mad tornado (again) and deposited in a new land – charmed and bewitched, and I’m a little bit lost and unsure. Unfamiliar territory with unfamiliar landmarks. I will triumph eventually, but we may have a strange journey ahead.

I am thinking happy thoughts and taking deep breaths, and trying to adjust to the idea without going crazy.

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Välkommen till Svengelska Hemskolan

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Years ago, when the children were little, I kept a blog called ‘Svengelska Hemskolan’.

“Svengelska Hemskolan: Homeschooling in the UK with links to Sweden with intentions to follow the Charlotte Mason philosophy, mostly using Sonlight Curriculum, and also themes / projects / unit-studies, lapbooking and which usually looks a lot like unschooling!”

Since the platform is about to close, and there isn’t an option to just directly import posts into wordpress, I thought it would be mice to copy them over. so the next few posts will be on the theme of homeschooling with a Swedish twist 🙂 Some of the posts were also posted on Multiply, which I loved while it lasted, but lost access to my posts as I couldn’t figure out at the time how to export them before it closed, so I’m glad to find some of them again.

Hej!
Well, I’m not sure how much of this will be Swedish and how much English… I guess we’ll just see how it evolves! Det kanske blir rätt svengelskt!
By way of introduction, we are homeschooling in the UK but lived in Stockholm for a while and are keen to keep our Swedish going. Stora pojken gick i Dagis och kan lite svenska, och alla barnen går nu i svenska skolan en gång i fjorton dagar för att träna i svenska.
mvh
Lillbjorne
Svengelska Skola

Home Ed & Fibro

I imagined when we started the new year that I would somehow manage to find the time to post regular weekly updates. Of course that hasn’t happened. I would like to be able to say that it’s due to being far too busy to blog! But in fact it has been more to do with ill health.

I wonder how common it is for families with both parents and children with chronic diseases to home educate.

It has been on my mind to organise some pages with links, books and resources for both parents and children with chronic illness. I will get round to it. But right now I am struggling due to my ME and Fibro pain – struggling with the most basic activities such as housework and cooking, staying awake for any length of time after showering, driving, walking. I’m not quite bedbound but I have been very much more limited than usual.

We have been managing short spurts of homeschooling. Of course, it isn’t necessary to do anything formal at all – we have tried to cultivate a way of life that incorporates constant learning. But we have become more formal recently and I like to feel that we have achieved something quantifiable every day.

We have reached a little bit of an impasse with regards dyslexia, and we have abandoned the attempt to learn joined up writing – I had read that it is recommended by some experts as something that helps the brain make connections, but I think that when the dyslexia is severe, it only serves to confuse further. I’m looking now into software to help them work on the computer instead. When I have something in place I will let you know.

We did manage a couple of field trips and activities in September: a medieval castle ruin in Launceston, the first meeting of the new Home Ed Teens group and surprisingly regular trips to the library, but there were lots of things I had to say no to.

The two eldest have started their courses with the local adult education centre. It’s a bit of a hodge-podge but they offer some quite nice opportunities for free. At the moment they’re doing some photography which they’re enjoying.

The two youngest are part of a drama group and we organised a new sports group (or rather, I should say, I got the ball rolling and somebody else has kindly taken over the organising as it is not my forté!) which starts in October.

I’m having to re-learn to pace myself after a long spell of not needing to worry too much, but I hope to be able to manage my energy well enough to get some more fun things done in October. And I’ll try and post more often.

We Have a Winner!

Thank-you to everyone who participated!

Our winner is…… «Drum roll»

Kat Patrick!

Kat wins, for doing every single entry requirement, sharing us on facebook and twitter and everywhere! I’m not sure it has resulted in any new followers, but we keep plugging away 🙂

Kat, please contact me within 24 hours to let me know which planner you would prefer, and let me know your address so I can send it to you. Let me know also if you would like to do a guest post to introduce yourself and your blog.

And for those who didn’t win this time, watch this space, as I am thinking of creating my own planner, and there will definitely be more giveaways coming up 🙂

Happy Friday, people! Have a great weekend!

Rural Social Life Fail

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Winter term 2014

October through December was all bleugh, ugh and meh. (whatever that last one means, I’m not quite sure – just a bare-faced attempt to get down with the kids’ new slang) 🙂 We went on a couple of local field trips to museums and suchlike, but all our enthusiasm seemed to have been sucked out of us. I’m not sure why – perhaps it was the change in the weather as the days started getting shorter and the evenings started drawing in?

But mainly, I think, it had to do with the fact that our social life has dwindled to a trickle. Cornwall, or at least our experience of it so far, is not like other places. Here, we have a group get-together in a hall once a fortnight, and absolutely nothing in between. If people are meeting up individually, they’re not telling us.

I’m not sure I would have home educated at all if we’d been here from the start.

We were used to a home ed culture in the city where there was something going on every single day if we wanted to join in. We are still in culture-shock, after four years.

Despite there being plenty of other children of comparable age to mine, none of them have hit it off with anybody.

Then to top it all, the winter storms tore the roof off our meeting place, meaning that the end of year Christmas party was cancelled, and finally our 2nd car is out of action, meaning I rarely have transport.

Altogether, quite, quite depressing.

Spring Term 2015

We’ve only had one meet-up this year so far. While our former venue is still being repaired, it’s a challenge to find suitable locations, and mostly it just hasn’t happened. Apparently our old haunt won’t be available again until at least March.

The mobile library has also stopped coming this year – cuts to rural services that we could really do without. We’re also still without a car, so our ‘World’ as our oyster has shrunken to nothing. With absolutely nothing in our village – no shop, no pub, no community centre other than the church, the place is an absolute ghost-town.

I wish I knew how to address this. Socialisation was the one thing that I never had to worry about with home education. But we haven’t seen anybody during the day now for almost a month. The only thing that’s stopping us going stir-crazy is drama group on Thursdays and Sundays. Living in a rural location without a car in what is – it has to be said – a slightly ‘foreign’ country (where I, frankly, don’t understand the culture) is testing us to the limits.

Unless things change, I can only see two options – move house into a town, or stop home educating.