We have been learning about the sun, moon and stars recently. We started with the sky which we learnt gave us maps and our calendars. A measurable day with the hours of daylight, the phases of the moon, our months, and the earth's cycle round the sun our year, but what of the seasons? Nowadays there seems to be an arbitrary change which bears no relation to what is happening outside our doors. We lament the time it takes for Spring to arrive, perhaps we are trying to ushering it in when it is not ready. Our ancestors were not slaves to clocks and calendars like we are, they were much more in tune with what was happening around them, the phases of the moon, the lengthening/shortening of the days and all that those changes herald.
So rather than thinking that Spring should be arriving at the beginning of February after Imbolc/Candlemas or at the beginning of March because that makes everything neat and tidy, I am looking forward to Spring from now on after the Equinox of today. The change in the season often marks a change in our rhythm. A few years ago I came to realise how important this was to me and the children. It anchors our days and week with its familiarity. It isn't the same all year round something that I resisted for a while, in those early days. I could feel it slipping away from me, a rhythm that worked in the Autumn and Winter was not right for the Summer and vice versa. We spend far more time outside and are usually a lot busier in the warmer/lighter months balanced with quieter time hibernating during the cooler/darker months.
It is a constant balancing act. One which I don't always get right. Its hard work, if I look away or loose my focus it sags and we all lose our way for a bit until I get it back on track. I have to write everything down, if I don't I forget things I have too many balls in air to keep track of everything in my head, writing it down is what works for me. I have to make the time to plan the specifics of each week otherwise we start to drift. I use a diary, one of these, with a diary page on the left and ruled page on the right. When I am planning ahead or come across an event that might interest us, I use post it notes stuck to the relevant page which I can move if I need to, and reuse as I write on them in pencil.
Over Advent we found a lovely way to celebrate which focused our learning towards topics or projects. This really worked for us and we have continued that for this year. We have learnt about birds, mammals and now were are focusing on the sun, moon and stars. This topic has been really successful, the children have loved it and I can see this continuing for many weeks to come, after that? Well, we will see. Balanced with our learning at home we also venture out and about, some weeks this is every day which I am still pondering over whether this is too much, especially if we are busy at weekends too. I always need to be aware of the bigger picture and make lots of use of the year planner in my diary to make sure that I can 'see' this, but I don't always get it right.........particularly when I say yes to things without checking my diary first!
I know that last year our late Spring and Summer weeks were far too busy, rushing from one thing to another we lost our focus and our rhythm stopped. This year I need to work on how to fit in all the lovely things that we like to do outside, especially making good use of the outdoor pool in our village, and balance this with quiet time at home. The garden needs to be fitted in too, it got rather neglected last year at times.
So in a week where, we have seen the green shoots of Spring in some places*, we have played in snow drifts, we have worn many layers, and shed the coats completely feeling the sun on our faces, the shoots of something new are starting to take some form in the continuous and exciting journey of home education.
* like different parts of the country and different countries in the northern hemisphere the timing of green shoots can really vary. This photo was taken a half an hour drive from where I live, the shoots are much bigger than where I live.
This, blogger tells me, is my 700th post!