This month has flown by again and here I am reflecting on what we’ve done with our October days. Once again as I look back on the month I am actually surprised by the amount we have been able to do and how much learning has been going on for all of us not just the boys.
Out and About this month!
I have loved that we have been able to get outside lots this month. The weather has been, on the whole, really good and I haven’t yet had to use the waterproof trousers I invested in for myself!
The start of October saw the opening of our newly renovated park, just around the corner from our house. So we have made the most of good weather and spent lots of time there this month enjoying all the new equipment. I have loved being there in the days when there is hardly anyone around and I don’t have to keep constantly checking where the boys have got to. But going there after schools have finished for the day has been a real highlight too. I love that the new park seems to have created a real community hub and there is such a buzz when there are lots of the local children there, of all different ages, enjoying time together. I am so thankful for such a great park so close to our house!
We’ve also enjoyed early morning walks in the area around our park and collecting leaves, conkers and other bits from our walks has been a big feature this month. I created a little autumn table at home where we could put some of the things we’d found so the boys could have the freedom to explore them a bit more if they wanted! We’ve added to the table as the month has gone on so at one point it had 2 pumpkins on, books, artwork and a whole range of different leaves.
One morning we collected leaves from the ground around one tree and then had fun exploring the huge spectrum of autumn colours that we had found when we got home. Reuben and I got watercolours out for the first time and it was so lovely to see him taking such time and care over painting and exploring how the watercolours worked.
Again this month has featured lots of days out at parks getting to know new friends and also spending time with old ones! We’ve also enjoyed mornings spent in our local library, exploring the science area in a nearby country park, bike rides and play dates at other people’s homes.
I am realising that getting out to explore the world around us needs to become part of our daily rhythm as we all feel so much better for it when we’ve done it! I have to remind myself that it really is worth the effort when it feels like it takes forever to get three little people ready to leave the house!
Time at Home
As much as being out and about has been a wonderful part of this month, I am learning that I also need to make more time to be at home and find rhythms to life together learning at home. At the start of this year of home school I felt the need to grow our social circle and meet other families who are doing the same thing who are around in the days. It has been great to make some wonderful friends through our local Home Ed Facebook page and spend time getting to know them and learning from them and with them. But this next month I think I need to pace myself and not fret so much about making sure the boys have lots of time with other people and making friends. Some of my favourite days this month have been days at home and I want to make sure they feature more next month. So what have we been up to at home:
Story of the World
When I first started using this book I thought we would be whizzing through it taking a chapter a day! As we got going with it I changed my expectations to a chapter a week and now I am realising that a chapter a month or longer is probably more realistic! So this month we continued on with the next part of Chapter 1 “The First Nomads become Farmers.” I thought we’d get through these initial chapters quickly so we could get on to what I thought the boys would find the “more interesting” bits of history, but not only am I enjoying reading this book so are they. I am realising that there is actually lots we can explore from this first chapter and I am learning that I need to slow down and enjoy them enjoying learning rather than rushing on to the next thing.
In an effort to slow the pace and explore bits of this chapter in more detail, I bought the book The Stone Age Boy which the boys have loved reading. It puts into a story what we had been reading about, how people lived then, what they ate, cave drawings and it even talks about archaeology!
We also made our very own Shaduf together and talked about how the farmers used this to collect and distribute water for their crops! This was a good building challenge for us to have a go at together. We used duplo and then a pencil with string and part of an egg box attached to it. The boys then drew and coloured in the Nile River and added our own little village next to the river with duplo people living in it! I am looking forward to seeing where this book leads us next and enjoying that all of this is new for the boys and they are fascinated by every bit, even the things I would least expect!
I cannot believe that these have featured so much this month! Every day the boys make something new with them and I love seeing how this toy allows them to be imaginative, creative, work together, problem solve and deal with conflict all at the same time! There seems to be no end to what they can do with them and I would definitely recommend them to anyone. Although they aren’t cheap they are worth every penny!
Autumn Themed Fun
We’ve had lots of fun doing arty things; we’ve had the watercolour paints out quite a bit and both older boys have had a go using them, we’ve used chalk to draw pumpkins and finger paints to mix and create a picture with our own Autumn pallet of colours! We’ve made and played with cinnamon scented play dough and tried to match leaves with their trees! I have also continued trying to involve the boys in cooking and food preparation with me and they especially loved dipping orange segments in chocolate to have as a snack!
Having read someone else’s blog I was inspired to set up an activity that the boys can do after breakfast each morning (Breakfast Invitations) There are loads of ideas on Instagram that I have seen and want to try. I am planning to do one activity a day for the next month and see how it goes. The idea is that the activities aren’t very long and don’t require too much planning but will give me a bit of time to tidy up from breakfast or have a quiet cup of tea whilst the boys are focused on something on their own! Check out what we’ve done so far on my Instagram account.
Learning with other Home Schooling families
One of my concerns when we decided to try home schooling was what it would be like for the younger two, would they make friends, have enough age relevant input from me and would they miss out on activities that I did with Reuben when he was their age. So earlier in the month I had the idea of bringing together some of the families we have met to have a day where the children do activities in groups with children of similar age.
We decided to do Autumn themed activities and a couple of the Mums planned and led groups for the different ages. There were 11 children and 4 adults in our house for the day and we had a crazy but wonderful time! I was actually surprised how much I enjoyed having the chance to plan something for Ezra and the other 2/3 year olds! Reuben had great fun painting pumpkins and doing pumpkin science experiments with his group and Jesse spent a bit of time with the other under 1’s before he joined me for the end of my group!
This is definitely something we want to do again and we are already making plans for our November meet up!
My own learning
The boys spent a day at my parents this month and had a great time searching for bugs, collecting them in jars, building a den and going swimming. This gave me some time to myself (well with our 8 month old still around) when I spent a bit of time researching and reading about Steiner and Montessori and other different ways of approaching Education that I had studied when I was university. I found this really inspiring and it made me realise that I have so many different thoughts and ideas whirling around my head about things I want to do with the boys, and ways of doing things that I want to try.
I have decided that over the next few months I want to try to spend some time getting clearer what my aims are for the year, what things we are going to focus on and how we are going to approach this whole learning journey whilst the boys are young. At the moment it feels a bit like trial and error and I am ok with that for now but I know I have a tendency to flit from one thing to another trying all sorts of things but not always sticking on a path with one thing. So this is my own challenge and learning journey for the next stage of our homeschooling adventure!