Friday, 25 January 2013

Week in the life of...

I try to get up before my boys in the morning, not being little anymore they don't leap out of bed at 6am and demand fun, so I need an alarm clock now. I usually assess my day the night before and try and see how late I can arise with out messing up my carefully planned morning routine.

So yes I spring out of bed full of vim and vigour (sarcasm) and start my day with a morning routine of folding clean clothes before leaving bedroom, get dress, carry dirty clothes, my gadget bag (contains essential to life electronic devices) and struggle downstairs slightly overloaded to my bathroom. I put on the washing machine, clean the bathroom, and prepare myself for the day. As we only have one bathroom, if I get interrupted in this routine I get stressy.

Then I go let the dog out into the garden and go start cooking bacon and eggs, or similar for breakfast. Make a cup of tea for me and the boys, plus empty my dishwasher. While the breakfast is cooking I go drag children out of bed. This is achieved with a 'Mum of teens' dog lick attack. I take the dog with me upstairs and get him in turn to leap on the boys and lick them awake. If this doesn't work, I have taken to lately dragging my eldest legs out of bed and sitting him up, then quickly positioning the dog so he can't lay back down. I have tried removal of covers, stealing pillows, suggesting the use of an alarm clock..well the alarm clock is useless he can have a siren going off by his head and sleep through it. I have tried leaving him to sleep in, but all this does is turn him nocturnal, which isn't good for productivity.

After breakfast, depending on how dozy the boys are we either go for a walk and do a strength workout or watch a documentary. We are going through different science/history/social studies/geography documentaries which we watch may be three a week on different days.

 Every week day morning we do maths (exceptional circumstances withstanding). Sometime my youngest does maths while I cook breakfast, they are both using the online conquer maths program, most days I like to sit with my youngest and help him find ways of thinking through the maths, I never answers the questions for him, but I do show him clever tricks for quick mental calculations. My eldest like to work by himself on maths, unless really stuck.

My weekly plan for structured work I would like us to get through changes termly, depending on our goals and aims. Its totally geared towards the boys ambitions and dreams.

Currently this term we are working on iGCSE Physics using this book, we are all working through it together, my eldest is making note cards with key terms and formulas for revision and my youngest is just making general notes. We all snuggle up on the sofa and I read through and explain, until they understand one topic or part topic if a complex one. I use real life examples they can relate to, for example, how would you work out the velocity of our dog as he runs from one end of the room to the other?

This may seem quite a formal approach to learning, but my eldest son has goals which require certain exams, so we need to work through some set work for the exams. As a home ed. Mum I am always very aware of the balance between interest and driving the boys to achieve. If they are not interested they won't learn, so I drop the subject or find something that gives them the motivation to regain that interest. I am also aware of age differences between my boys (3 years), so obviously I don't expect my youngest to concentrate for as long and if it gets too technical and switches his brain off, its time for him to go do something else.

On top of the above formal work, my eldest works on English, which is set by his tutor. He is currently working on English literature iGCSE, having just passed his English language iGCSE.

All other learning is informal and autonomous, here is an interesting article on autonomous learning. Our days are full of spontaneous conversations, discussions on every topic you can imagine, for example, this morning we had a 'film studies' type discussion on about Star Trek and how the different aliens were supposed to be based on different stereotype national identities. This discussion also included the big question 'Do aliens exist?'. All quite fascinating, and as always learning happened whilst laughing.

My sons are both avid computer gamers, I gave up trying to turn them in to gardeners or chefs quite a few years ago, they love computer games, much like their father and myself. I can't really condemn this love of PC gaming, when one of my favourite ways to relax is to load up 'League of Legends' and play a few competitive online matches, trying to keep the 17 year old gamers on their toes! I have an extremely competitive streak and this is a fun outlet for it. Anyway digress slightly, my boys have found that role play gaming is fun, its basically drama online, so you act the part of the character in the game you are playing, this is usually part of a community of players, who you can chat to whilst playing. Its sounds mindless, but believe me its highly complex including flying realistic flight simulators whilst talking to a control tower, mapping flight paths and rescuing comrades. I challenge Mums and Dads to attempt to play these games, the multi tasking involved is huge. Both boys have become server admins for servers running gaming communities, to do this they had to write application  and submit them, they had to show maturity and responsibility, believe me there is nothing worse than an 'online gaming troll' so they both are learning to be polite respectful, but also how to deal with idiots (a useful life skill). Both boys have learn't internet safety, how to avoid scamming and how to keep a balance between real life and online life. I discourage night time gaming, so most of the time they go on the PC is in the afternoon, before dinner. This is if we are not out swimming with friends or visiting interesting places.

The boys evenings are jam packed. I guess this is my season as taxi driver, I remember my Mum and Dad taxi driving me about at this age too.  My eldest is very involved with the Air Cadets and is highly motivated to be a pilot, hence the exam work. He is also working on his Duke of Edinburgh award so he is helping to lead the local cub pack. He does many sporting and physical activities with the Aircadets and is also working through a BTEC in aviation. Nearly every weekend has some sort of activity, from service in the community to flying aeroplanes.

My youngest loves Scouts and the camping, archery, hiking, shooting and chopping wood with axes that this involves. He is also learning Karate, which is excellent exercise. He reads every night at bedtime, spy stories and wants to be a Ninja.

Then we all love to watch TV in the evenings together as long as it is an episode of Castle or Chuck, or similar.

So this is we roll...
Today's Pigeon rescue.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Who am I?

Happy New Year :)

Feeling sorry for myself today, but silly christmas movies are cheering me up.

This year is going to be good. I am determined to recognise what I already have so I don't miss anything this year. While I am not feeling too well the last few days I have spent the time day dreaming and planning in my head. Some might call it nest building, I guess they would be right, but its my way of not getting bored when my body wants a few days off.  I found a fun website to make mood boards and try and identify what it is I like.

A few years ago when I moved house for the first time in ages I realised I didn't know what I liked or wanted in a home or house. As a child I was always very happy to go with the status quo, just follow others lead and keep them happy. There is nothing wrong with this but it mean't I really didn't have a clue who I was....if given a clean slate today and freedom to choose, what would I do with it?

I have spent a while pondering on this. Who am I? What do I like? I have always found it hard making decisions when faced with a choice. I think because I never really thought about what I want. I think my christian up bringing is partly to do with this, where conformity was almost seen as a requirement.... but recently I have started to discover that my faith is about complete acceptance with out conformity, with out any requirements...scary thought to someone who's life has always been to conform....I can feel many voices from my past inhaling with shock at this outrageous thought.

Think about it though, when do you feel most loved by others? When they completely accept you warts and all..when they don't say "I will accept you when you change this bit or that of your life". How can I truly accept and love those around me, if I don't know that love myself?

So this year... I am going let those around me to be different, and dare to be myself...