An ongoing challenge?

Here I am, yet another week in and our 30 days wild challenge in drawing to a close. We have enjoyed it, and learnt so much. We have no plans to stop after the 30 days are up and I am relived that a365 days wild group has been set up on facebook for me to keep up with other adventures and get the motivation year round, its been fab! So, a quick run through of how we spent our week and a few plans for the future?

Day 23 :We drove up towards Mansfield to visit some family for the day. At home our friends had torrential rain and my husband phoned me when he was leaving work to warn me of floods, but up there we had a lovely day. We went for a walk around a local lake, spotted tadpoles, a baby frog, ducks, ducklings, geese and goslings and herons. We paddled our feet in a stream and jumped across the stepping stones to cross the lake. Small thoroughly enjoyed throwing stones into the stream to make splashes and we were even lucky enough to see some rabbits on the grass.

Day 24: The day of the referendum results. We researched what the EU had done for nature and wildlife in the UK, and what we could continue to do. So much information and propaganda had been shared and spread regarding so many different issues but the environment had not been mentioned much and we found this interesting, and disappointing.

Day 25: The children were left with Nanny as I went to a wedding with my husband and wanted a bit of time out. It was a lovely wedding, in a gorgeous setting of a tree cathedral. The children spent time in the garden doing some planting and small played with a large bucket of water.

Day 26: A family fun day that I was working on saw me not spending much time out in the wild. But not one to be deterred, A went off and spent the day at a bbq with friends and we had fun doing some measuring of the garden, planning and designing where things would go and searching up ideas for what to include in our bug hotel. We have decided to include a water feature and a meadow in a barrow feature using wild flower seeds and an old wheelbarrow.

Day 27: We were late getting going but enjoyed doing some drawings and sketches, wildlife identification and bird watching. I was fortunate during my trip into town there was a Red Kite flying over the town centre screeching, I am unsure what it was screeching at or why it was flying so low in such a rural area, but it was certainly something new.

Day 28: We managed a paddle in the river and a ride on the miniature railway in the trees. It started raining, we got even wetter that the paddle in the river had left us, and the children noted the way that the wind picked up and the temperature dropped before the rain started so much so that they were able to tell me it was going to rain before I needed to tell them. I guess that is the overall outcome we are all chasing isn’t it? Allowing the children to become informed and aware of nature, to be aware and to spot the warning signs and to know in advance that nature is telling them to seek shelter. Usually it is me spotting those signs and calling to them while they seek to play as much as they can and ignore my warnings, this day marked the first time that they voiced an awareness of what was happening. Sure, it didn’t make us run for shelter immediately as we weren’t bothered by the rain or by getting wet, but it did encourage them to get out of the river to dry their feet and warm up before the rain started.

Day 29: Today, yet another day when we weren’t scared off by the rain. The home ed adventure playground meet. Some may have been put off by the weather but we had a great turn out and the children were not stopped from playing their games of chase, playing in the sand, or bouncing on the trampoline before deciding they wanted to be indoors playing with the gym mats, colouring, playing pool and table tennis.

Tomorrow will be the last day in the 30 day challenge. We currently have plans to spend it in the park, with a picnic and bubbles and cameras and sketch pads and fishing nets. Lets hope that the weather is kind to us.

And so we need to look a head, we have our caterpillars ordered ready to raise and watch turn into butterflies in July, we have resources gathered to get our bug hotel and wildlife garden area created or at least started and we have plans in place to make and create a nice outdoor space for small to play in, including table and stools and a mud kitchen.

I find myself looking back over learning journals, photographs and pieces of work to really look at how far we have come in our journey. It has been nearly 2 years now, looking back on my first ever blog here when I wasn’t even sure if we would continue after January 2015 and to think of where we are now.

One thing that I have noticed in the last two years is that however much you think people support you or behind you, there is always the question “do you think its time they went back?” It seems that people find it very hard to accept home education as a long term option. They can find it hard to understand how you can feel like you have no intention of putting your children into mainstream school. I have heard from others who have been asked “don’t you think you’ve done enough of all this nonsense?” or “why not just try them in secondary school, it will be different.” As home educators we are not allowed to have a bad day, we are not allowed to feel frustrated without cries of “maybe you should put them back into school?” Actually, as a home ed parent sometimes I even second guess myself and think maybe I should….. those moments last all of 2 seconds if that, and then I kick myself! The children are happy, they are learning well, they are emotionally a million times more stable. We have formed fantastic friendships based on respect and a joy and interest in our childrens achievements. School works great for some, but it does not work for me, my family, my children. We have bad days, but they are no where near as bad as the weeks, months and years that we had battling the education system and teachers. We wont go back to that, we know better now, and when you know better you do better.

Groups are drawing to a close all over and summer parties are happening. We have camping and other trips to look forward too through July and Kayaking will continue through July and August. August will bring us news of As IGCSE Science results. Then September will be upon us. Time is flying!




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