Sunday, 7 October 2012


It's getting chilly outside and the boys have been in need of a few additions to their wardrobes, so on Monday morning we all went clothes shopping. We spent what felt like a lot of money until I reminded myself that we haven't needed to buy a school uniform, PE kit and school shoes, and then I saw the clothes we were buying as kind of an alternative! Alternative clothes for an alternative education!

During August I felt a sense of relief that I hadn't had to go uniform shopping; relieved because it was something less to think about, but relieved also because I wasn't keen on the idea of Joseph in a uniform anyway. I understand that uniforms can lend a sense of identity, but at the tender age of four I'm more interested in Joseph establishing a sense of his own identity and the essence of who he feels he is before he identifies too heavily with any outside structure. The uniform for me represents the subjagation of the unique, individual child; I realise this may sound extreme but it is truly how I feel, and I know no other way to express it! When Oliver and I went to look around a local primary school last year the head teacher told us "the children put on their school uniforms and they know they are here to work!" WORK!! She didn't even say learn! I didn't want Joseph to develop the idea that this is what life is all about when I feel so strongly to the contrary, so I was relieved not to be buying bundles of grey and white school clothes, and instead to be filling his cupboards with colour!

When I first met Oliver he told me I was colourful and that felt like a nice thing to be called! In allowing the boys to learn outside of school I guess I'm aiming to encourage their lives to be colourful, and filled with rich, diverse and interesting experiences, things, places and people. I aim to allow them challenges and adventures that are meaningful to them and to encourage them to look around at the world, wonder at it all and ask their own questions rather than the ones someone else (who already knows the answer anyway) wants answers to. I don't need to provide them with these things because this is the life they naturally gravitate towards, I just won't stop their magical interaction with the world from taking place. Of course as their parent I influence where we spend time and the type of people we come into contact with. For example this week we went to visit a beautiful garden; I provided the transport and the admission fee, but the garden provided the colour, and the boys provided the wonder!

Ollie and I enjoy amateur dramatics so our life is full of colourful characters! Those we call our close friends vary in age from 20 years to 64 years and all have their own interesting lives and experiences to share with our children. I'm so pleased I haven't spent my life socialising with people within a 12-month age-range of myself as most of us did in would definitely lose a bit of its colour if I did!

When I became a mum I was struck by the colour that each of the boys brought with them; colourful toys and clothes soon filled every corner of our home! It has been about more than colourful things though; their laughter, ideas, enthusiasm, fascination and energy have made our home a beautiful and colourful place to be, and as for their is technicolor!
Learning is not work. I know from watching my children that if I allow them the colourful life that is so natural for them, learning will never cease! I can let them be, they know how to learn!
Recently Oliver and I were talking about how learning at home with the children has impacted me and he said, "You're just more peaceful these're still colourful though!"

Phew! That's good to know :)


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