“Mama, all your children are growed up!” Sparkly Eyes declared the other day. This revelation came following her birthday, though obviously her grammar hasn’t taken a similar leap forward.
It’s certainly a party month, with Lanky Dude’s birthday party followed in quick succession by her birthday. Lanky Dude had a nerf gun mega battle for which we transformed the main hall of our church building. We had about twenty teenagers expending their energy, with hot dogs and cake in the short interval.
Sparkly Eyes’ birthday coincided with our home ed group camping week end, so after the traditional opening of presents in our bedroom and the making of Lego on our floor, much of the day was spent getting ready for another trip. She was delighted to see friends once we arrived and had her birthday cake round a campfire. We had a lovely week end, just chilling with friends while the children, of all ages, played. I joined this particular group when we were at the beginning of our IGCSE journey, as I felt I needed to know others had walked the path before and hadn’t ended up with completely dysfunctional children! And how I’ve been encouraged and inspired! I’ve never before met such a well-balanced and friendly group of teens, with an enthusiasm for learning, ability to think for themselves, direction in life, and grounded faith. They truly inspire me every time we get together, and as one of the mums with younger children said, it’s encouraging to know it will be worth it in the end! Because home-schooling certainly isn’t an easy option; and so I appreciate the honesty of the other mums as we all try to work out how best to nurture, disciple and teach our precious children.
There was a climbing centre at the site, and the boys climbed both days, and even the girls had a go the second day. The boys took the girls to the outdoor ropes course, while Hard Working Husband and myself had a coffee and cake outside in the sunshine. Made us feel quite young again!
This following week has also been action packed. On Monday Lanky Dude had his welcome day at college; he met up with another home edded lad and came away inspired by the teachers and excited about starting in September. This is such an answer to prayer, and I’m so grateful. While he was there a friend of Dancing Toes, who lives on the way to the college came for the morning. They played together, and worked together; better than on their own, we mums thought, so I hope we can arrange that more for next term.
Then we had our home-school group sports day. This is always a highlight of the year, starting with picnic lunch, followed by all children from babies to late teens joining in the traditional races; sack, egg and spoon, wheelbarrow, potato in a bucket, wellie winging etc. And finishing with a tug of war and cake to share. It’s such fun; lots of laughter, catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. Altogether this year 99 children and 43 adults.
Then on Thursday a few of the boys’ home ed friends who had finished exams came down our way, complete with large rucksacks, bivvi bags and enough food and water for an overnight wild camp. It’s been really hot, so HWH and our boys took some water up the hill the day before, which fortunately they found! So, we dropped them off one end of the hills and they returned the following morning having slept under the stars, cooked bacon for breakfast, and remained hidden from passers-by. An altogether better alternative than a prom, I felt.
We combined this with an afternoon in our field, so some other families came down. The older ones played frisbee, having had enough walking! Younger ones had a short walk in the woods, a play on the rope swing, and then did some outdoor weaving. All toasted marshmallows on the fire. So, it’s been a good home school activity week, and although we’re a bit tired, it’s been such a treat to spend so much time with these very normal, but at the same time, inspirational families. We all feel we’ve been much blessed.