Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The community that supports our learning

It's been another busy week for our household, with plenty of friends and family passing through! We're fortunate to have a lot of people around who want to be involved in our lives, and these relationships are going to be really important as we embark on our learning at home adventure!

I've realised that these relationships haven't been all about luck though, and it's been important to acknowledge the role Oliver and I have played in bringing these people and relationships into our lives and maintaining them there. I don't mean that in a 'wow-look-how-great-we-are, aren't-we-good-at-having-friends' sort of way! I mean that over the years I've realised that I create the environment in which my relationships play out, and as such the impact they have on my life. For example, we welcome help and support here (we have twins, we've had to!) and as a result we have some really helpful and supportive friends and family. If we didn't welcome this, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't be this way! I hope our children will absorb from our attitudes the idea that we value the people around us, their skills and interests, and value the role they play in our lives.

Because Oliver often works away during the week and we don't want him having to work too much at home at the weekend too, we decided about a year ago to hire a gardener and this has been a brilliant decision! Not just because we can potter about in our garden and enjoy it rather than seeing it as a chore, but because our gardener has become a really valuable part of our lives. We know nothing about gardens and he has taught us a lot because we've been interested and keen to learn from him. We've shared with him our thoughts and hopes about what the boys will get from the garden and he's responded to this by creating areas especially for them, bringing cress for Joseph to grow on his windowsill and bringing fruit and veg for them to help plant outside. This week it was tomatoes!

If we simply asked him to mow the lawn, prune and pull up weeds we'd all be missing out on some great learning experiences, and our lives would be a little less rich! Our friends Andrew and Rita also came this week, and spent time in the garden with the boys planting runner beans and topping up the bird table!

On Friday we had an impromptu trip to the beach and were fortunate to have timed it just right for a root around in the rock pools! My parents came to meet us and spent a happy couple of hours with the boys...dad splashed about with them while mum shared her interest in the shells and sea life!

This is just a glimpse at the people who have been around this week. There have also been the friends who came for lunch and watched the hail storm with us, the family and friends we spent lovely time with over the Jubilee Weekend, and the friends I've been out with for a bit of adult time! All of these people contribute to our lives and our learning whether they realise it or not and it's great to watch the boys' relationships unfolding with the friends and family around us. We are part of a community (people and places) that plays a huge role in our learning and we like it this way. Each and every one of us has value, and knowledge is located everywhere, not just in teachers and not just in books. I hope the boys will go about their lives with their eyes and minds wide open ready to learn from anyone and anything, because the best learning can sometimes come from the most unexpected places! I think willingness is the key.

I hope to share plenty more examples of how we learn from the community around us as this blog unfolds. A few people have asked me whether I feel concerned that my own knowledge is limited and the boys may want to learn about something I don't know much about. This happens all the time and I find it exciting, it's great to think about something new and go looking for information. I don't feel anxious about not knowing all the answers, I don't think I have to. I think it's ok not to have a clue, to want to test out different theories or even to simply decide that you don't give a monkey's!! I can use the community around me to find things out and get help and support if I need it, I hope the boys will to. I don't have to know everything I'm asked, I don't have to give the 'right' answer all the time and neither do Joseph, Callum and Charlie. No ticks, no tests, just a wonderful process of ever-evolving, constantly unfolding knowledge, perfectly unique to the perfectly unique individuals we are!

A huge and genuine thank you to everyone who plays a role in our lives, however small it may seem. We are learning from all of you, all of the time.

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