Precious Memories

This week we have been inching ourselves back into full-time school with Maths, morning meetings, and A5’s reading, writing and arithmetic.  It has been really good to be back working again. Even though we only had 2 weeks off it was enough to refuel my tank and regain my enthusiasm for home school as well as allow the children much, much time with their friends.  We had also been working hard on getting their school room/play room up and running.  I was quite pleased with myself, having cleared copious amounts of boxes from the room.  Gary created a desk for both me and C11, putting in electricity and access to telephone plug and therefore broadband.  How clever is he?  We have begun to create a section under the stairs for A and B’s school area and hopefully next week that area will be completed.  Here are parts of our learning room so far:

Ribbet collageschool room

Starting back this week wasn’t without its problems though, one of which lay fairly and squarely at my feet.  The girls started their maths and within minutes we had tears and frustrations (from both of them and then me).  I had not taken into account that they may have forgotten what they had learnt, after all we had only stopped maths two weeks ago.  But forget they had.  Big time.  Cue nasty mother anxiety.  I had spent six months teaching them all they needed to know about fractions and they had understood incredibly well not two weeks ago.  Now, nada.  Literally, I set them the easiest exercise and one they had completed already the term before, and they couldn’t figure out how to do it.  Even after explanations.  So I did the only mature thing left for me to do and showed my frustration at a volume louder than was strictly necessary.  Then I locked myself in the loo and cried.  The girls were gobsmacked and when I emerged both were tearful and saying how sorry they were they had forgotten.  Of course we then sat down and had a long chat to make sure they understood it was not their fault that I was acting like a child.  I explained that sometimes mummy had concerns and worries that she was not doing a very good job and that they would do better off at school.  As we chatted and shared what was on our hearts and minds it occurred to me that I was giving maths a much higher than necessary importance.

I had only been sharing the day before with a friend how much I wanted to be able to ignore the fact that exams seem to be on the horizon, even though they only turn 12 this year.  I lamented that success in life seems determined by success in exams and whilst following what the school did seemed like the logical step to ensure my children got the ‘best start in life’, it was nevertheless a step my whole being balked at.  I just wished I had the courage to follow my gut rather than convention and more importantly, I wish I could have peace doing so.

After the chat with my girls I really was questioning whether I was cut out for this.  I mean, I had yelled at two precious, gorgeous girls because of maths.  I was risking our relationship for the sake of a few numbers!  Ridiculous, wasn’t it?  So we came to an agreement.  We would slowly work our way through Galore Park, a perfectly good and more importantly British maths curriculum, for half an hour every day, all year round.  There would be no breaks for forgetting but also maths was not going to be the ‘elephant in our classroom’ anymore.  Its importance was never again going to be blown out of proportion.  They were going to work to their aptitude rather than their age and they would get to GCSE standard when they got to GCSE standard and not be pushed to do so any time before.  And their mother would be peaceful and happy with that.  So there.

By Friday I had two mathematicians on my hands, who now remembered all they had been taught and were enjoying working their way through their fractions and achieving success.  All those tears and all that worry were not only completely unnecessary but also completely unfounded.  How silly do I feel?

On a more pleasanter note I have been having a lot of fun training up my little ones in chores.  I had forgotten just how enthusiastic little ones are to learn new skills and how much fun it was working along side them.  I am currently teaching them laundry sorting, sock matching and taking the laundry to the different owners’ beds:

Ribbet collagefriday2

Monday was Gary’s birthday and when we had finished our morning meeting we busiest ourselves with the rather lovely task of beautifying the table, making cards and wrapping presents.  I cooked him his favourite meal of sirloin steak with a selection of seasonal vegetables.  I bought a cake as we are also doing birthday preparations for A5, soon to be 6:

Ribbet collagefriday3


Ribbet collagefriday4

The younger ones began their Mr Men again making collages and making and colouring a Mr Men Puzzle:

Ribbet collageFriday

They remain fascinated with all things bug like, collecting a vast collection each day and setting them loose again each night.  The weather is just right for lots of play in the garden:

Ribbet collagecollage5
And that about concludes our week. Next week I will be sharing all about our project learning. We are already enjoying it immensely and this term promises to one of our best yet.

Of course I couldn’t leave without mentioning a certain little girl who is beside herself with excitement:

Ribbet collagelilmissparty

Homegrown Learners photo 50ee37ee-4f60-43f2-83eb-bb7deb75fd49_zpsbacda61d.png


  1. Oh Claire, you have such a talent for saying what I feel! I totally relate to your “maths moment” – not specifically about maths but about one pointless (in the grand scheme) thing or another! We put such pressure on ourselves as homeschooling mums, responsible for these amazing human beings we’ve been trusted with.

    I so often need to remind myself that the 2 young people in my house are becoming more and more capable of taking responsibility for their own learning. I’m a constant work in progress, learning to trust that between us all (including of course the powers above), we are doing just fine! (Btw thanks for bringing me out of blogging hibernation. I feel warmed up to jump back in to play now. :-))

  2. Isn’t it amazing how children can ‘forget’ a subject so easily? When mine do that and get frustrated with themselves and the subject I remind us both that with a little review they’ll remember it again, their brain hasn’t forgotten, it’s just misplaced the file somewhere in their memory and needs to do a little digging around to find it.

  3. Oh! You spoke to my heart. You are doing a lovely job with your children. Happy birthday to your husband. He looks so cheerful. I can’t wait to hear about your little ones party.
    Blessings, Dawn

  4. I can totally relate to the frustration. I’ll be like, “What do you mean you don’t remember? We just did that last week…or yesterday…or last year?” I’m finally learning to be amazed by what they do learn instead of discouraged with what I want them to learn that they don’t have enough interest to retain.

    1. It is definitely interest related isn’t it? Good thoughts – to think about all they have learnt and retained. I shall remember that next time!

  5. You are not alone with your math moment. I completely freaked out after our first long Christmas break when my kids had forgotten their math facts.
    Your school room looks wonderful! Happy Birthday to your little sweet and a late happy birthday to your husband.

  6. We have all had those moments in which things are blown out of proportion because of our own fears and concerns for our children. It was great that you all are able to communicate so well, and that you were able to find a solution so simply. I have had all of this before, too. My boys are behind in reading the same way your girls struggle with math. It is hard, but you wisely know that they are what they are and God made them that way. It is not our job to measure them against others but to nurture them to be their own best. Thank you for the reminder. Happy Birthday, Gary! 39 seems so long ago…I had only four kids then…a nine year old, six year old, three year old and one on the way.

    1. ‘It is not our job to measure them against others but to nurture them to be their own best.’
      This. I am going to print this and hang it on my wall. Well said!

  7. Hi! Sounds like all is going well- sorry this is late but, when I get a chance I catch up online. Your family looks so blessed! Glad the weight loss is coming along and I hope the math trauma gets better- we are having full time school trauma on this side of the pond and we are not to fractions yet!!! I also wanted to ask if you have looked at “Beautiful Feet” curriculum? We just bought the composer unit-we haven’t gotten far but, I like the idea behind it. I hope you have found something to help- you do a WONDERFUL job and are a big inspiration for me! Tonyia

  8. I enjoy following your blog. Thank you for sharing your experiences. One thing I try to instill in my children is that we never stop learning. Even Mommies need to review, relearn at times and study anew for the first time. Keep up the good work.

      1. Hi Melanie. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a message. And you are right, it is important the children realise that we don’t know it all and are not always right. Everyone is on a journey and always learning.

  9. We had a rough start to math and grammar this week. There is just so much to remember after a break. I will readily admit my own disbelief they couldn’t remember certain things did more harm than good. Thankfully quick reviews knocked the rust off and we are humming along again. It helps to know similar things happen at other houses too.
    The birthday dinner looks fabulous! Congrats to A on turning 6!

    1. Thank you. It is always good to know we are not the only ones. I, wrongly as it turned out, assumed they would remember given we had only had two weeks off. I’ll know better next time!

  10. I have been there and done that too and it’s all because I want them to pass the tests! Math operations are the hardest thing for my kids to remember! I’m glad you all worked out a solution to your problem and were able to have a happy birthday for your husband. Happy b day to A!

    1. Thanks Sylvia. Seeing your comment reminded me to go back and link up with you. I did visit but then my youngest needed me. I think your page stayed open on my computer for almost the whole day until I realised it was hopeless and I would never have enough time to link!

  11. You know what? They don’t HAVE to do exams. Not just because all the children their age in school are doing them, anyway. My friend was home educated all the way through and never did any exams; she’s now doing a degree with the Open University. There are people in my uni group who didn’t get many or any GCSEs or A levels, but when they needed a base level of qualifications to get onto the degree, they went to college part-time or via distance learning and got what they needed. The most important thing is what your children are learning all the time: how to learn. And why to learn, even more importantly! Qualifications are useful, but getting them on a school schedule isn’t essential or even always beneficial.

    1. I still find it hard to have peace about the no qualification route. I worry they may turn round one day and say they wish they had got a more usual education from school. Dilemma, dilemma!

  12. Happy Birthday to Gary and to A! Looks like Gary is very happy with his celebrations and I know A will be thrilled with Little Miss! The food looks delicious – especially chocolate cake. My favorite.

    The school room looks great. I know you are thrilled to see the progress. We have a school room, but we seem to be moving out into the kitchen. Funny.

    I am glad the girls are back on track. I, too, have been there and I am sure I will be there again. It is a hard lesson to learn – patience. I want them to learn everything well and remember it forever. Then I remember who their teacher is and…HA!

    I hope you are having a lovely weekend. We are still hot, but expecting a cold front – all the way down to 93 degrees. Hugs to you, my friend.

    1. I love that! Remembering who their teacher is! I struggle to remember everyone’s name in my household. Yes, my girls don’t really have a hope!
      Hugs back to you!

  13. We got nothing done with school this week, so I feel your frustration. Oh wait, we did a bit of history, but it was more of a check this off feeling than a “we really learned” something feeling.
    Isn’t it amazing how we get these total freak out moments, and then step back and a day or so later realize how much we over-reacted?

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