When a child finds their “thing”.

Yesterday we had the privilege of attended the first pony show of a very good friends daughter and her pony. We took the camera so that we were able to get photos of the event, allowing mum to just enjoy the precious experience with her daughter. It was lovely to see and I feel lucky to have been part of it.

As a home ed community we open our arms to each other, it hasn’t proven difficult at all for the children to form friendships and they are not restricted by age groups or gender, they mix and enjoy each other for who they are as people. We see our children build relationships and work through difficulties, and on occasion it really doesnt work and we are free to step back from certain individuals. But it isnt even all about the children, us parents have benefited from the friendships and support networks formed, support that doesnt just reach out in home ed situations but in all manner of difficult times also.

And so this is how I came to be present yesterday. It wasnt a “home ed” thing for my children, it was us showing support, one family to another. But isnt that just as important a life lesson, if not more so, that all the academic stuff? The meaning of being there for others, to make that effort to be there through the good, the bad and the scary? Being there just to do what you can to make the days easier for the people you care about. It seems like a pretty important lesson to me. To see a girl who you have watched grow in mind, body and confidence for the last nearly 3 yrs (and a lot can happen in 2+ yrs usually, but even more so when a child is allowed to thrive in their own way!) a girl who experiences pain every day due to physical disability and who suffers anxiety come out of herself. To see her smiling, and overcoming her nerves with confidence because she is in the ring doing what she loves with her best friend, the pony that her mum recognised the benefits of her having and those benefits far outweighed the costs involved. It was beautiful. What a journey they have been on. My friend said to me “its a learning experience, she may not enter anything, she will experience getting the pony out of the school, and being there.” Well that girl went on to win a fantastic 5 rosettes!

This is what happens when a child is allowed to find their thing, that happy place that makes their heart sing. Without time restrictions due to enforced mainstream school hours and the constant run around every day focusing on things in environments that made them miserable, they are allowed to flourish. Rest when needed, play when needed and work towards their goals.

Our wild challenge.

Its the second year that we have followed 30 days wild and taken part in the challenge. Last year was eye opening in many ways, and bought us all closer to nature as we discovered new areas, new activities and raised our awareness of the natural world around us. This year as we take part again, this time with a 3 yr old and a small baby, we think about our impact on the local area.

We have done walks around various different woodland areas near and far. Admiring the different types of plant life, from pine forests to wild meadows. We have enjoyed climbing trees, smelling flowers and even found a highly enjoyable knitted animal trail thanks to kind donations of knitting volunteers.

We have been following the RSPB wildlife challenge in order to gain their awards, time in the big boys Childrens University Passport (6 hrs for the bronze award) and inspiration for other wild activities that we can take part in.

We have worked on becoming more aware of the difference that we can make in our local wildlife, and this has included sowing wild flower seeds to attract bees and butterflies, building a bug hotel and putting out bee and butterfly watering spots.  We also have planned to carry out a litter pick around our local park and pond.

We have read about urban wildlife and how animals have adapted to life alongside humans thanks to our subscription to “How It Works” magazine, and we received the RSPB magazines which are always a fantastic read. I submitted one of J photographs to the magazine as if they print it I think it would be a great ego boost for him to see one of his photos in print. He is becoming quite a keep photographer.

J entered the British Wildlife Photography Awards competition, choosing six of his favourite photos of British wildlife that he wanted to share with the world.

A had a play and got creative with her younger brothers playdough and discovered that she had a natural skill for making roses, which she now plans to practise and develop further using clays to make more permanent ornaments and fondant for some edible treats. She is also regaining her interest in British history, looking once again at the tudor era which we can kick start and incorporate into our 30 days wild by considering the uses of flowers and plants.

We have also started a subscription with Little Passports, which I hope will serve to introduce N to learning about the world and will reintroduce J to geography as this is one subject area that *should* fascinate him with his desire to travel and love of animals, but that he has lost all passion for following negative experiences in school. I will update on our progress in this area beyond Junes 30 days wild challenge and it will remain ongoing if successful.

As part of the wild challenge for me, with the general election looming, I wanted to look into political parties views and plans for our green spaces and for conservation, so while I didn’t get out and about in wild one day, I certainly broadened my awareness in other ways and I am able to discuss my findings with the children. We discuss where the votes from our household will go. I choose to involve the children in these decisions as much as we are able to so that they can grow with more understanding of politics than I did.

The 30 days wild challenge encourages us to think about the world around us, every day. Something that with the rush of every day life is very easily forgotten about. What is exciting is that we are only one week in. We have ideas and inspiration for other activities and visits and we are all confident that July will see us continue on with other projects in a positive mindset.