Did you miss me?
This blog post has been started, scrapped and re-started (and re-scrapped) dozens of times since I last posted. Life has taken over, we’ve been wrapped up in learning and working and it seems as though the weeks have passed without me realising!
In the past months (I can’t really justify saying ‘weeks’ really) we’ve celebrated birthdays (there are now two teenagers in GGHQ, gasp), wedding anniversaries (well, just one actually, 17 years with Mr GG!), Christmas and New Year. We have delighted in academic achievements and rejoiced in how well all three junior GGs have adapted to the new routine in our home ed life. We have had at least two ‘holidays’ – one spent glamping in Aviemore (stunning) and an incredibly lazy week in the beautiful Isle of Skye. In the past months there have also been tears over the deaths of two much loved pets … sadly Pringle, Son No2’s guinea pig and Steve, Son No3’s hamster have reached the end of their wee lives with us. There were many tears over the deaths, many discussions over what (if anything) would replace them and, no, we’re not replacing Pringle with a snake nor Steve with a budgie … my suggestion that a ‘useful’ pet like another chicken or some sheep, however, was not well received by Mr GG!
December marked the first anniversary of our home education adventure. There has been much reflection, many chats and discussion and the over-riding opinion is that the past year has been a great success. We are all loving the freedom and flexibility that home ed brings to our lives. There is something so incredibly special about being able to have guilt-free days off as a reward for working hard. There is also something satisfying about watching children going to school when my own don’t have to! I’m proud of how well the boys are learning, all three of them. They are working hard, reaching and exceeding targets we set for them and one in particular, is well on the way to completing a full year’s work in two terms.
Becoming a home ed family hasn’t been completely straight-forward. Workwise we are pretty much where I expected and, if anything, the workload on me is not as heavy as I expected but there are times when it’s overwhelming! There are times when one of our lads misses the social aspect of school, he enjoyed the bustle of school but, workwise, he has done far more in the past terms at home than he achieved in over two years of school, something he recognises himself.
I recently read a post on Facebook about the best and worst aspects of home education. Many, many parents commented that the best part of home education was being with their children all the time and that the worst aspect was being with their children ALL the time. I’d agree with this. I love the company of my sons and I don’t get tired of them being around but I’ve found it much harder to achieve things at certain times. It used to be that, on birthdays, I’d spend the time the birthday boy was at school to decorate his birthday cake … I can’t do that now as there isn’t school. I also found preparation for Christmas much more difficult this year. I didn’t have so many opportunities to nip out and do present shopping and wrapping was done sitting in my bedroom with my back against the door so that they couldn’t come into the room accidentally and ruin surprises! These are such minor niggles though and compared to all the incredible benefits of taking ownership of the education of my children pale into insignificance. I am also incredibly grateful to Grandma GG and Grandpa GG who take the boys for a few hours each week and I’m learning to use this time for ‘me’ not spend it rushing about doing housework!
Mr GG and I still yearn to live a more self-sufficient lifestyle although our garden has been sadly neglected over recent weeks … I have to hold my hands up and say I’m more of a fair-weather garden girl than anything, I don’t like being wet and cold! However, I’ve started dabbling in essential oils and for the past wee while have been making my own cleaning products, including washing powder and fabric conditioner. I’ve also been making hand soap as well, mainly in the hope of relieving some of the damage continual handwashing does to the skin of my lad’s hands … OCD is such a horrible illness, it breaks me to see the pain he is in, both physically and mentally.
Ivy, Minnie and Beryl still delight us every day. They are amazing wee characters and provide great therapy … Son No2, whilst too nervous to venture too close to the chooks, spends time every day sitting beside the chicken run chatting away to the girls. When we go out anywhere he goes straight out to see them when we get home. Son No1 is a dab hand at catching the chooks to put them in the coop at night although he’s not so keen at getting up early to let them out in the mornings!
The past months have, sadly, seen a decline once more in Mr GG’s mental health and he has had to take some time away from work. In times like this, manual labour really helps Mr GG mentally and he’s been using the time to be creative … he made some beautiful wooden Christmas trees which were really popular in the lead up to Christmas. As I write he’s outside making a wooden compost bin for the garden and he also has several other projects in mind for the next wee while.
Watching Mr GG making and crafting has encouraged me to begin making jewellery once again. I’d stopped making jewellery when Mr GG was first ill nearly five years ago and it’s been lovely to be creative again … so much so that I’m tentatively contemplating selling at craft fairs once more.
So, that’s where the Life of Five is now … we’re trundling along well, enjoying our new life, battling the gremlins that attack mental health and striving towards the dream of a more independent.
Until next time folks …