Day by Day, Homeschool, Homeschool Questions, Routines

Mothering in Uncertain Times – Last week of term in lockdown – April 2020

We have now completed the last two weeks of term in lockdown. I think every parent needs to recognise what an achievement this has been; not only navigating ourselves and our families through an incredibly anxious time, but also educating our children. I hope all parents reading this can give themselves some kind of treat as a recognition of this; tea and cake with no interruption (!), glass of wine and a bubble bath, watching a favourite series or listening to an encouraging podcast or audio book, eating chocolate, or just sleep…..

The concept of jotting down what we’d done in our week began as I thought I’d send a note to a retired teacher friend who might be interested. Then I realised I have quite a number of retired teacher friends all in isolation, so decided to turn it into a blog post which I can send to them. For those reading this who don’t usually homeschool please don’t be alaramed. We were attempting to finish off our pre planned work, not to begin from scratch, with three days’ notice, like you have amazingly managed to do!

Our morning book basket/book stash

We usually start the day with “table work” ie. maths and English, and then after morning snack move onto our book basket. However, last week we skipped the table work and joined thousands others to do “PE with Joe“ on YouTube instead. Much better for our stress levels!

We always start our “sofa time” by reading the Bible together and praying. On Mondays we do some nature study reading. I’ve got a mixture of older books alongside some modern ones. They are beautifully illustrated and have wonderful attention to detail. It’s interesting to see the changes in wildlife in the last few decades.

We have been studying Shakespeare’s “As you like it” and learning one of Rosalind’s speeches. We’ve just about got it now!

We’ve been learning about the Civil War and as part of this have been reading “Children of the New Forest”. I’ve never read this before and we’re all enjoying it.

Elevenses is an important part of the day. With the boys home too, a big plateful of not cross buns is called for.
Checking out our growing ecosystem

We’ve been learning a little about ecology, and had a go at growing an ecosystem. We collected a handful of grass and boiled it in water for a few minutes, to ensure no living organisms were left. Seems a bit unkind, really. Then we’ve been checking the pH and looking through the microscope at a drop of it. We’ve forgotten some days, and it’s been hard to chart the changing pH as we only have pink litmus. But we’ve seen an overall change. At the end of two terms, one of the girls, asked recently….”what’s ecology mean, Mummy?” Can’t win them all!

Update…just about to post this and when we went to look at it today Sparkly Eyes had added green paint to it! Ah well…..!

Music appreciation

As a family we’ve been listing to “The Story of Classical Music” narrated by Aled Jones. The girls and I then follow this up by looking more closely at one composer. “Papa” Haydn was our most recent study. After reading a bit about his life, we listened to the “Surprise Symphony”. We try to hear different instruments, beat a rhythm and discuss how the music makes us feel. They then draw a picture as they listen again. I’m not particularly musical, but I’m learning lots and enjoy it.

My podcast pal, Helen, is very musical and for anyone who’d like to a few more suggestions about music in home ed, we did a podcast here. Music in home ed

Lunch time

After lunch we all have a quiet time when we read, listen to audio books, play with Lego etc. It’s my sanity time!

Exploring magnets with Lanky Dude

We took advantage of Lanky Dude being home, and he put his A level physics to good use and taught the girls about magnetism.

A walk in the woods to pick wild garlic

I’m so grateful at this time that we live in the countryside and can easily walk with only the birds for company. We collected wild garlic one day last week…

Wild garlic pesto pasta

…and made wild garlic pesto for supper.

That was last week…this week life has changed again. The constantly shifting goal posts are hard for us to navigate, more so for children, and even more so for children with additional emotional needs. We have certainly had some re emergence of challenging behaviour with our adopted children and I’m trying to keep some structure going through the holidays, together with a plentiful sprinkling of easy wins! I’m grateful they generally seem so happy and the sunshine is a real blessing.

So we have much to be thankful for. I’ll write an update on HWH and the boys soon….thank you for reading; writing helps me to process all that is happening at the moment.

Helen and I are also recording some special lockdown podcasts for all those now educating their children at home. The first one is here. Hope it may be helpful.

In the meantime, for all mums; remember you’re raising the foundations of our next generation and however tough it is, you are doing an amazingly worthwhile job!

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