Now that we are in our second autumn I am struck by how our routine, such as it is, has developed around integrating learning into daily activities and seeking out calm. Autumn comes on so noticeably it almost requires a change of tempo and as the season changes our days are settling into a nice rhythm. As part of ‘Operation Oscar’ (where we attempt to do what we should have done 6 months ago and train our huge puppy) we are walking more. Oscar, Jake and I take the younger children to school and park the car in the village. We then trek back down the ancient footpath over the bridge and up the other side of the river. Oscar eats the blackberries, chases squirrels and learns to walk on a lead without dragging me over and Jake and I stomp along in the mud and play spelling and times table games (with guess the animal, at which he is expert, as a reward) I am determined to make this a whatever-the-weather part of our day and have been waxing and waterproofing our coats and hats accordingly. It makes us feel wonderfully virtuous and by the time we get back we are ready for second breakfast. Home days are then made up of comprehension, reading voraciously, writing (what a struggle that is) learning to touch type (because of the writing issue) and increasingly, art work. We really don’t do enough of that, mostly because Jake hates it. I am well aware that it would be a great help for his writing skills and so our autumn days are going to be messy ones. There is such a temptation to skirt around the things that create conflict and I am as guilty as the next pacifist- luckily we only have two home days or we’d get nothing done! We then tromp back to the car and fetch the others at the end of their school day.
In addition, we have a Peter day when our wonderfully calm and creative helper comes in to save my sanity and give Jake a break from me, we have a home ed group day where we go on trips and play and we have a Forest School day where Jake is learning to manage group activities. With some success. Sometimes.
Our new activity, mini rugby, is not proving easy for him but he can tackle fearlessly and is little enough to be nippy. He isn’t a popular member of the team, due to his inability to throw and catch I guess, but things have only come to blows once. I think we will bank that as a partial success. The others love it so Jake will just have to fit in around them on this occasion.
We have moved our school room downstairs where it is warmer and as the house fills with plasterers, plumbers and builders over the next few weeks we will work on making sure that we know how to find calm in the rhythm of our autumn days whatever is going on around us and that, it turns out, is what this is all about.