The end of our first week of the summer term. This is the last term when Lanky Dude will be doing his academic learning at home, and I want to make the most of it….he’s been home-schooled since he was 4, having spent reception year part time at school. It’s been such a special time, and I’m so thankful we’ve had the privilege and joy of inputting into his life over this time. He’s got two IGCSE’S left, for which he is revising in his usual methodical way.
This week end, we are staying at the same Christian centre to which we brought the church youth, back in February. I love the visible change in the seasons as we visit twice a year. As we drove up this time, the bluebells are out, with some dainty English ones amongst the bold Spanish variety. As always, we chat, eat lots, play games, go for walks. It’s lovely “being”, not “doing”. We have a rota for all kitchen chores, which the youngsters also join in with. The main challenge this time seems to have been tea towel flicking fights. We also have an informal service on Sunday, and a “talent show” in the evening, which produces a lot of laughs. It’s a wonderful weekend for the children and teens, of which there seem to be an abundance. They have a fantastic time playing outside or chilling inside. I love hearing them all laughing together over some raucous game. And I’m always touched by the way everyone looks out for the younger children. The girls have a great time with so many kind people to spoil them, and a team of teenage girls to do their hair and nails! The boys enjoy wide games, volleyball and generally messing about with their friends. And I was touched yesterday when some of the young adults stayed behind on the walk, to help me get the girls back home….Sparkly Eyes is not an enthusiastic walker, and I’m sure she covered more distance via piggy backs than actually using her own two legs! Rhythm Dude, Dancing Toes and I started the term by walking up the wooded hills behind our house. We used to do this before the wet and cold of winter set in, leaving Lanky Dude minding Sparkly Eyes (he works, and she has that mums-best- babysitter of CBeebies).
We love seeing the changes as the year unfolds. Trees turning from deep green to golden, before finally loosing their leaves. And now, all the pale green leaves bursting out. The wild garlic with their star like white flowers are carpeting the ground on the lower slopes, while the calming sea of bluebells inhabits the higher ones. We collected handfuls of wild garlic and made a yummy pesto with it…or to be more precise, a friend who came round for tea with her teenage children whizzed it up for us! I’ll put our recipe in the meals idea section. When the boys were younger we had a nature table, went on lots of nature walks, and sporadically wrote or drew our findings in a nature journal form. We did this because I love the countryside, and something within me thought it was great for observation, attention to detail, and generally just being aware of the beautiful environment God has designed for us. Also, I love reading the “Miss Read” series, about a village country school in the 1950’s and 60’s, and she often takes her eclectic and delightful bunch of children on nature rambles, so I reckoned it must be “educational”. Since then I’ve become aware that nature study and the journaling to go with it is a foundational element for the Charlotte Mason approach to homeschooling, so I’m being a little more intentional about our journaling. Dancing Toes is doing a traditional journal with drawings or paintings of what she finds, together with short notes and pressed flowers. Rhythm Dude isn’t keen on drawing, but loves taking photos, so he’s doing his on the computer, which also gives him typing practice. The top photos are of the bluebells from the week end, and the ones below are from our recent nature walk, together with the pesto we made.