plants, picnics and production

This week has seen us enjoying the warm weather and quiet spaces. We attended a picnic in local woodland, this was a pleasant sunny Monday afternoon and a great opportunity to meet more new faces. While there another lady came over to where we were sitting and commented on “that boy over there in the green tshirt” meaning Josh. She went on to tell me how good he was, what a nice polite boy, he had helped her young son when he had climbed a tree and got stuck.
Josh then went on to write a story about the picnic, which is a massive leap that he chose to do this without any input from me given that just 2 months ago any idea of writing would have been met with sheer frustration and arguments. In fact he was not a stranger to removing himself from not just his desk but the whole classroom before I de registered him…. so to see him sit himself at my kitchen table and write 2 and half pages of story was pretty amazing!

We visited Kew Gardens with a home ed group. It was lovely to see all these kids walking along together to the workshops. They were not staying in groups of age, if they found themselves next to someone they talked to them, simples. They were not all wearing the same clothes or having to sit in groups of limited numbers, we saw a couple of school trips while we were there and couldn’t help but observe the comparisons. The group of 30 or so children all in matching clothes, all the same age being supervised by less than 5 adults…. occasionally being told off when one group got a bit “rowdy” and decided that they wanted to run around and play tag on the vast space of grass while the others were eating their lunch. How dare they not be happy and willing to sit still in such a wide open space?! Funnily enough none of the children in our group ran around playing tag either, but they weren’t told not to, they were just busy and happy talking to all these new people.

It was lovely to have such great feedback from Joshs group leader after his workshop. He came out happy and enthusiastic telling me all about bananas, papaya, rubber, monkeys and poison dart frogs! While Alana had covered the desert, how cacti store their water and how plants adapt to their environment.

During another picnic and trip out we looked at fossils and remains that had been found at a local quarry site. Josh found it very interesting to think that mammoths and pre historic lions once walked in our area!

We have done some more project work as Josh is interested in the Romans at the moment so we looked into what plants the Romans may have used and for what purpose. We were all amused that brambles were used to treat bleeding gums!

Alana had requested more structured learning. She begins study for her science double award igcse tomorrow, that will be a new challenge for her. She will be doing it with a group of young people and a tutor every Monday. She is also working through an English text book and working on her creative writing while continuing to focus on the world wars. She thinks she is interested in also studying her history for igcse but we have decided that it is best to chill out. There is no rush for her to take on any more formal learning, she is doing great.
She cooked dinner for the family for the first time unsupervised, and it was really tasty. We discussed what she could do to improve her recipe and quantities in future and she looks forward to doing it again. She also baked a cake on her own, measuring out her own ingredients and working the oven.

We find simple every day things spark conversation now. Josh sitting and watching top gear got him learning about how car chases are filmed in the movies, spiderman had him talking about rubber and electricity and if he gets bored he is much quicker to ask “what are you doing?” And wait to hear the answer rather than previously just starting to create mischief.
We don’t hear the “I’m bored” comments half as much now and I have spent all week with my children while Ryan has been at work, working late on Friday and overtime on Saturday as well and I am still feeling relaxed and chilled.

Ryan tried to suggest that we needed more structure when I commented on not having to get up for school….. but why I asked him. Are we not happy? Doing well? And de stressed? What is this structure they speak of? We are happy!

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