Things got busy and I didnt get to write anything, as often happens in this life, sometimes life gets in the way and things get put to one side under the promise of “Ill do it later” and by the time later comes something else has come up. Thats kind of what happened here.
It was a Thursday before the October birthdays that the vomiting started. Right at the end of September. Our house, or more to the point, the small one, got struck down with a vomiting bug. All day Thursday until he fell asleep that night he was sick, when he awoke at 5am demanding “umm” (his word for food) downstairs i thought maybe he flet a bit better. Half way down the stairs the diarrhoea started. Luckily we had the potty with us in case of vomiting and i was able to catch it, but it has set him back on the potty training and we are back into nappies for the moment as he is scared of “his bumbum”…… Anyway, after eating the vomiting started up again, we were not clear. The vomiting lasted into the following week.
Monday was Js birthday, and we were able to celebrate it as small had perked up at the time. We thought we were home free. On arrival home from the birthday celebrations we discovered a leak in the loft affecting two of our bedroom ceilings. What an end to a day, if that then wasn’t bad enough the vomiting started again through the night.
So we had a plumber some, and fix the leak, we have pulled up the drenched insulation and contacted a plasterer all could be said to be on the up again, except for smalls continuous vomiting. A trip to the gp after 8 days confirmed it was still a bug and should ease soon. We noticed a wet patch on the kitchen ceiling and discovered a secondary leak in the airing cupboard, plumber was called out again and all spare sheets and towels from the airing cupboard needed to be rewashed, not ideal when already coping with vomit on a daily basis!
The following Saturday was As birthday, and again we were in a position to celebrate so long as we watched what small ate. It seemed that the bug was past but had left him with a dairy intolerance leading to sickness every time he had yogurt or cheese etc… without eating these things we were vomit free. We ventured to Longleat safari park after 48 hrs clear to celebrate the childrens birthdays and had a lovely time….. apart from A getting sick on the way home! Oh no.
It seemed that she took quite a nasty bump on the head on the play equipment and felt sick fairly quickly after that, she then proceeded to fall asleep in the car and wake up vomiting, nasty, we put it down to a concussion as the following day she was fine. Perhaps our mistake, but we werent to know the severity of the bug, or perhaps it was a concussion… who knows.
She went off to France and Belgium for a night and two days with her granddad for a birthday treat (a visit to a cemetery that granddad wanted to justify) and was fine until about 20 minutes away from home on the Wednesday night, when she got sick again. As did J, and small. So Wednesday night and Thursday they were all pretty poorly, i was ready to tear my hair out. We had planned a trip to Cambridge and J was booked onto a science workshop which we missed and I had a major wobble about their lack of learning while the sickness had been in the house and I had been exhausted.
All in all the bug lasted nearly 3 weeks (so far, as J was sick again last night we need to see how it pans out) We managed to get to 4 and a half days clear, then it returned! And in that time it was easy for me to see them laying on the sofa watching back to back episodes and laughing at “bad education” on netflix and worry that I was failing them. I am well aware that we would have really struggled to justify 2 weeks off from school due to sickness without needing to provide drs notes and evidence. That would have been tricky given that the older ones havent seen a gp for this bug. Its always easy to doubt yourself when there is no one around to prove yourself too. So judge myself I did, we are our own worst enemies and biggest critics at times.
Home educating parents all comforted me, reassured me that children are learning all the time, that we all need to rest, that I was teaching my children how to allow our bodies to recover from sickness bugs and how to prevent them spreading. I was teaching them about priorities and health coming top of that list. It wasnt so bad, I wasnt failing them.
We were at least able to enjoy our visit to Windsor castle complete with a workshop which covered history from 1066. We enjoyed seeing Queen Marys Dolls House, and the state rooms and the shields learning about the guards of the garter. We saw the changing of the guard and the flag indicating that the queen was in residence.
I have since been able to put things into a bigger perspective, I have been giving things a lot of thought due to this wobble and also in part due to friends with children in school updating about parents evenings and how proud they are and how well their children are doing (which is great by the way, I love seeing those updates and I am chuffed that all of my friends children are doing so well and thriving, I remember also being incredibly proud at very positive parents evening sessions where I was greeted with a smile and told what a pleasure my children were.)
As home educators we dont get these parent teacher consultations, because the point of them is for communication about how your child is doing. I dont need to have that conversation to be told these things because I see it every day.
I know that Js hand writing has improved greatly, as has his enthusiasm for writing. I know this because he will sit down and write without even needing to be asked, this was a big step. I also know that his reading is improving because he is doing so much more of it and comes to me less to ask “what does this word say?” I read his work and find fewer spelling mistakes so I know that his spelling is improving and I talk to him, and hear him talk to others of all ages constantly so I know that he is building on his communication skills. While being ill he has watched drama programs with me and has learnt a lot about the tudors, a whole term spent learning at school didnt sink in but now he has a wide knowledge base of the tudor era and following monarchs and how Henry viii shaped our present laws and religions.
I know that A is following her interests, I see her experiments with hair and makeup styles which is her passion. I know how skilled she now is at dyeing hair. I also know that she is self motivated to work towards an end goal, learning to do her own research project, gather data and compile it together into graph formats independently. She has a good strong work ethic and is committed to things that she says she will do. She continues to come to work with me on a Saturday, and although she has given up her volunteering at the toddler group her reasons were well justified and she is keen to explore other avenues. I know that she was able to experience a trip into France and Belgium without me, and is now planning a visit to Australia without me, so her interest in travel has been well sparked. I know that while she was away she was able to visit the memorial cemetery and build on her knowledge of the sheer number of lives lost in the war. She was able to help set up her granddads SAT NAV and help to direct him to destinations. I know this, because her granddad gave me that feedback when they returned, that she had been fantastic a great help.
I may not get told by teachers that they are a pleasure to teach and be around, but I know this because I am the one around them, and when a random person approaches me and says “excuse me is that your son / daughter/ children?” and I reply, still half dreading what I am about to be told< that they are indeed mine, to be told how wonderful, helpful, polite young people they are warms my heart. I have heard it from random parents at parks and in museums and shopkeepers, so I am safe in the knowledge that they are a pleasure even when I am not there to see.
Yesterday small one played “shop” in town for the first time. He was at a “counter” asking us what we wanted, he made me tea and cooked me a pizza and charged me money for it and sold his big sister a puppy. This was the first time he has played like this, and I was there to see it and experience it. I remember my older children reaching this key point in imaginative play, I remember being told by their key worker at preschool that they were doing this. I remember being over the moon and feeling very proud and I am sure that had I had social media at that time I would have posted about it, but I hadnt seen it for myself, I saw them do it eventually of course I did, but not that first time when I was all so new and amazing. Seeing that and being part of it yesterday was something else all together. Reminding me, despite last weeks wobble, that this is exactly why we chose home education as our path for small, to enable us to witness and enjoy all of these learning curves, enjoying the short time when everything is a new and exciting adventure.