So the arrival of 2016 has got me thinking about what we achieved in 2015…
Right back in January, when the deadline for school applications came and went, I felt like we’d reached a milestone of sorts – one more step on our road to free learning.
And in April, when all the other parents of 4 year olds were anxiously discovering which place they had been allocated, we just carried on as normal: no nail biting wait, no desperate appeals, no whoops of relief at having got into the favourite school. Just everything we usually do.
September felt strange, but good, knowing that we had made the best choice for us, not to send our little girl off to school, even though so many others around us were. Luckily most of our friends are home ed, so nothing really changed, except that I knew we had passed that certain point of no return.
So what did we do instead?
We planted, watered, tended, watched and harvested lots of fruits and veggies in our garden.
We played and worked on the home ed allotment.
We made lots of new friends.
We joined a lovely home ed group for very young children, and felt at home.
Jess learnt to write words by sounding out the letters – in shopping lists, on pictures, in messages to people. She then also learnt to write whole sentences to tell me what she was thinking.
Amy learnt to draw people, with tummies and arms and legs and hands and feet and hair.
Amy really improved her fine motor control, drawing and colouring really neatly and making brilliant little play-doh models.
Amy learnt to count with correspondence, touching the objects or moving them to a pile as she goes.
Jess learnt to add, take away, double, and share out objects.
Both girls have begun to tell the time: jess now recognises o’clock and half past the hour and uses vocabulary likes “nearly one o’clock” or “it’s gone past 3 o’clock”. And Amy can tell what o’clock it is by looking at the small hand.
We’ve watched the seasons change, and Jess has learnt the sequence of seasons and months and what they involve, as well as days of the week, and the routines associated with them.
Both girls have grown a dress size. Amy is now in 3-4, jess is in 4-5 years.
Amy moved into Jess’s room. Now 3 of us sleep together on our big floor bed. Both girls love it.
We invested in a big trampoline for our garden, and it has paid for itself a million times over already. The girls were out on it every single day of the summer. So much fun and teamwork, games and the occasional fight.
We found a doll’s house on a free cycle site, and we’ve found it to be a huge success in imaginative play, with so many different ways of using it.
We watched the girls’ granddad battle cancer, going through radiotherapy at the end of last year, a brief respite, then further treatment throughout 2015, and due to start chemo soon. Of course, the girls aren’t aware of all the details, but they know he is ill and that his life has totally changed from the granddad they used to know.
So many other things have happened in a year. It’s hard to think of everything to write down. Here’s to next year!