Yesterday was one of the most joyous days we’ve had in a long time! :) Maybe because it was a beautiful spring day? Or maybe because I ditched all work (apart from an hour writing my blog in the morning and half an hour cooking dinner in the evening)? Maybe it was because J played chase with them in the garden rather than taking them out (because they didn’t want to go out)? Or maybe because I prioritised playing on the girls’ makeshift boat and actually got into it rather than thinking of a thousand other things I could be doing instead? Or maybe it was because I played happy tunes on Spotify while the girls made art in the kitchen and we all sang and danced along? Or maybe all of it
Whatever it was, M was practically bouncing off the walls, shouting ‘I’m so happy!’. The energy of the day really reminded me of when we first began home educating: it was summer so the girls could run in and out of the house; I was fired up with excitement because of our recent decision to HE and I was strewing like mad, thinking about all things we could DO; both girls were filled with relief and happiness at not having to go to school anymore. I still remember the day I turned around to look at M in the back of the car (grey faced, dead-eyed, utterly miserable, looking like she was about to be fed to the lions), D was crying and so I turned the car around and they never went back.
I wish all children had the right to be home educated. Oh right, they do! Ok, I wish more parents understood it and saw it as a valid alternative to school. I wish everyone would take their school goggles off and realise that education doesn’t have to be so pressurised and robotic and that there is more to life than SATs and GCSEs. Oh yes, and that there are other ways to socialise than with 29 other people your own age (because we all do that as adults, right?).
Anyway, back to our happy day yesterday: I always feel it’s a pity there aren’t two of me – one could do the energy filled play days, while the other lies down to recover. They could take it in turns. I’m highly introverted and I need a lot of time to be on my own! Or at least just thinking my own thoughts rather than dealing with everyone else’s. Hence, these magical energetic days don’t happen all the time as I would probably go insane, or more likely, depressed.
I’ve been making a concerted effort to just play the last week or so. I find it so easy to do craft, or artwork, or taking them on a day trip, but I find simple imaginary play so hard, and a little boring if I’m honest. So yesterday I pulled a long forgotten toy out of the basket and joined the girls in a game on the boat. M isn’t big on imaginary play either but she joined in too and was soon in a heap of silent laughter as D entertained us with a hilarious role play with her toy rabbit, Cute Twitchy. I actually found myself really enjoying it.
I’ve also been trying to say ‘yes’ more to D (I’m on a constant quest to say yes more, as a small voice inside me is saying ‘actually I would like to sit down and have a cup of tea’). So when D asked me to make Cute Twitchy a toy carrot I inwardly groaned (imagining myself to be sewing on my own for hours after D gets bored and wanders off) but I said ‘yes’. D actually did a fair amount of the work but got tired of sewing at the end so I finished it off for her. M also got engrossed in making a top for her toy, Pink Teddy, but got stuck when deciding which buttons to use from her beautiful collection. I’m sure she’ll get there eventually.
We also did another D-inspired activity: she had asked for a pestle and mortar for Christmas, after seeing a scientist grind lapis lazuli on a science program. It’s been sitting on the shelf for a long time so I suggested she might like to pick some grass to grind. Luckily, I had accidentally bought two so M could join in as well. They crushed grass, dandelions, daisies and few early forget-me-nots. Then D moved onto spices and she tried poppy seeds, cloves, and fennel seeds. We enjoyed the smells (they even ate a clove each!) and chatted about why lapis would have been so prized (M was disappointed she couldn’t make a blue sky).
We then watched a couple of films before returning to the kitchen to do more grinding and painting. We had a quick read of this article, before having a go at using white vinegar instead of water to make the paint – it really lightens the colour. M noticed I had chopped a red onion and asked if she could make paint from the skin. D used uncooked skin, and then I boiled the rest and M crushed that. It turns out that boiling it first makes a much deeper, pink paint! We’re really looking forward to getting some berries to have a go at crushing next.
The day finished with another game on the boat, and then D decided she’d like to teach me and M about numbers instead of having a bedtime story. I could hardly stand it, she was so unbearably cute while she patiently explained to me all about the patterns she can see in numbers and what the bigger numbers look like.
Just to finish, J took the girls to Battersea Park over Easter weekend and they had a go at water-zorbing… I want a go!