I’ve been scrolling through my Instagram pictures (still new to me), and smiling as they are reminders of all the moments which have been beautiful and precious in the midst of my very ordinary and mundane life. So much to be deeply thankful for, and important to hold onto as after more than a week of grey skies and rain, nearly six weeks of exams and the stress and disruption of much needed routine that goes with that, our tempers are frayed, and home ed feels like a hard option!
I made the decision at the beginning of term that we would be very low key with our “table work”, and not start any new projects. From experience, I knew I didn’t have the capacity to be supporting the boys and being a dynamic home school mum for the girls! This has been a good tactic as despite us all being weary and/or grumpy by now, I do think the girls have coped better with the disruption to their rhythm than they could have done. Thank you Lord.
So, here are some of the highlights of our lives surrounding exams.
Up until this last week, we’ve had some warm, sunny weather and have made the most of it,
talking our books and doing “school work” in the shed in the field,
enjoying numerous nature walks,
exploring a favourite river
demonstrating fire building skills
and pond dipping in a neighbour’s pond.
Dancing Toes harvested her first radishes (I can never grow these successfully!)
and Sparkly Eyes gardened in her own way.
As the weather turned grey and wet we brought the fragrances of June inside and made elderflower cordial
and apricot jam.
I’ve also done more baking than usual in an attempt to keep up the sugar and morale levels of our hard working boys.
On the animal front, the pigs are enjoying the current constant rain, but a couple of weeks ago they were jostling for a turn in the mud bath. Now there is no competition as their pen has morphed into a mini Glastonbury!
Most excitingly, we have a new swarm of bees in residence!
We must be some of the worst bee keepers in the area, and recognising this, some local experts are taking us in hand and will guide us through a season. We transferred this swarm into our hive one damp evening (I say we, but our experienced mentor did it while I stood at a safe distance from the somewhat displeased bees!). I’ve been feeding them with sugar solution to help them to draw the frames, and we will do an inspection this week, weather permitting.
The girls and I have been learning a bit about the painter Mary Cassatt (1844-1926). She was an American lady who lived in Paris for a while and studied under the mentorship of Degas. She was known as one of the “trois dames” of impressionist art. I love her paintings as she takes everyday scenes, often of mothers and children, and brings out the beauty in these moments. We had a messy time mixing shaving foam with acrylic paints to give that impressionist feel to their art work, and then created some tea cup themed collages based on some of her tea time paintings. We enjoyed a couple of books during a tea time inspired by her painting “The Tea”.
One of my personal highlights of each year is our visit to the county agricultural show. The kids and I go (not HWH’s thing!) and we take a picnic lunch (always with strawberries), which we eat watching the displays in “The Countryman” ring. We usually buy pasties for supper, and in between explore the numerous tents and displays, always learning some new things and visiting old favourites. I was so glad that Lanky Dude decided to take a little time out of revision and come. I know one day the boys will be off doing other things, so I delight in their company all the more.
And finally…it was Lanky Dude’s 18 birthday! Our amazing, kind, dreamy, clever, outdoors and music loving son has turned into a young man. A man of faith. We couldn’t love him more or be more proud of him. I thank God for the gift he is to us and the joy he brings. His cousin also turned 18 so we trekked up a nearby hill, cooked bacon butties and raised a toast to them.
His birthday was mid exams, but he had a couple of friends round in the evening for pizza and a movie, washed down with cider. A new season is beginning.