Thursday, 2 January 2014

Hello 2014!

Its a new year!

A few weeks ago I was reflecting to a friend that 2013 had been a bit of a 'nothing' year, and it felt as though it might just be the year that linked two others together. After we had chatted for a few minutes I could see that this isn't the case and while 2013 may not have been full of big exciting events it has been quietly important, and has consolidated many of the good things in our lives. It was our first full year of Unschooling, we have forged some lovely and supportive relationships with other Unschooling and Home Educating families, and we now have a full year and a half of experiencing how well Unschooling works for our family under our belts, and that feels really good!

Our sons are all a year older and things have shifted. We started 2013 with two toddlers, and I'm starting 2014 with the definite feeling that we now have three little boys! We stopped needing a buggy early last year and it became much easier for me to take the three of them out and about alone, meaning that a whole range of new possibilities opened up to us. Just before Christmas I spent a day in London with the boys while Oliver worked. We had a cable car ride, rode around on the DLR, visited the Cutty Sark and went down the river on a Clipper to Tower Bridge and the Tower of London.

At the beginning of the year this wouldn't have seemed possible, but as the boys grow and shift so do the possibilities and opportunities for all of us. I performed in three theatrical productions between September and December, I can't imagine that this would have been possible a year earlier either. So, in January 2014 the big double buggy in the hallway has been replaced with scooters and bikes, and as much as I feel sad that a cherished era of their lives has passed, I can see the joy that lies ahead.

A life of natural learning has taken strong roots here over the past year, and one of the things I love most about Unschooling is that I can never predict in which direction interests will flow! This time last year life was all about Dinosaurs for Joseph and had been for some time, I even dedicated a blog to the subject (Day in, Day out...Dinosaurs!) At some point last year he developed an interest in WW2, and this has taken us in all sorts of fascinating directions! He loves aircraft and likes to see how they have changed and developed from WW1 to the Cold War and present, comparing their features and thinking about the type of campaigns they would have been best suited to. He enjoys watching documentaries about specific battles and campaigns, and has become very interested in the strategy of warfare. He appears to be a great problem solver and loves to think around and question issues and offer his own solutions, and role playing war scenarios gives him a brilliant opportunity to do this. Joseph's love of all things War-related deserves to be written about separately and I'll do that soon, its something that has provided the whole family with a great deal of fun!

Oh, and Oliver graduated the week before Christmas, which was a brilliant end to the year!

Oliver and I aren't the sort of people to make grand plans, so as it stands 2014 is pretty much a blank canvas! We have a wedding to look forward to in August, and Oliver is hoping to continue working towards his Walking Group Leader Award, which means we'll need to spend a fair bit of time in parts of the country that offer him the chance to practise his navigation skills! We'd like to spend a bit of time Youth Hosteling around the North of the country, and to do some camping, but we have no set plans. Callum and Charlie turn four this year and become 'school-aged', so we'll be looking forward to their first day of Unschooling in September! I have a few things I'd like to pursue for myself too, but I'll be working quietly on that for now.

I'm thinking all the boys' legs will grow a little bit longer this year, and they might walk (or scoot) a little faster, so I might lose a bit of the weight I've gained walking at the pace of two three year olds rather than power walking with a double buggy! I do recommend walking at the pace of a three year old fairly often though, I've discovered an awful lot that I've been missing, and it was worth the extra pounds!

Right now, I'm enjoying the end of Oliver's Christmas and New Year break, and all the food and drink we still have left! We've had a peaceful week and a half at home, being together and with the friends and family we love. When I'm at home playing with the boys and helping them explore the things they enjoy, I feel a deep sense of gratitude that when the Christmas break ends we're not atomised back to our 'usual' lives. We'll be sort of rolling into 2014; eating chocolate, enjoying our Christmas toys, playing on the PS3 and trying to make the most of each precious moment as it passes! :)


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