This is Life Schooling…

A few weeks ago we went on a trip to CBeebies Land with some of our absolutely favourite people. Archie was sat in the back of the car with one of his besties who he has grown up with, who does go to school. P asked Archie if he could count in twos and his automatic response was “No”. P was a little surprised that he couldn’t, so she told us about it.

It wasn’t until I gave Archie an example of counting in twos, that he realised he could in fact do that and also he could count in tens, it’s just that he has learnt it so naturally, that he didn’t know that this skill had a particular name!

This happened a couple more times that day when they were having their little chats in the back of the car and their conversations were so sweet to hear!

Fast forward a couple of weeks to yesterday when we were sat at dinner and a conversation came up about numbers. I thought I would take the opportunity to ask Archie a couple of questions. I started with “Do you know what double 3 is Archie”, to which answered “yes, 6!” We went through many other doubles which he loved and answered all of them correctly, only having to use his fingers to work out one of them.

This may seem normal for a boy of 5, but the thing is, I have never…and I really mean NEVER sat him down and taught him how to double numbers, or what a double is. It has ALL come through play and natural learning opportunities that have arisen in our daily lives. I have a feeling that his recent love for the game Shut the Box has helped too!

Fast forward again to today and Rocco, our 2 year old turned to me and correctly told me “This is my right hand and this is my left hand!” He showed me his right and left hand as he said it. I thought it was a fluke, but every time I asked him which was his right or left hand throughout the day, he got it right. Now, I’m sure you will all know by now, that I have never sat him down to teach him about his left and right either, but again, he has learnt through practical application and every day experiences. This particular piece of knowledge, he picked up when he was feeling particularly grumpy in the woods and Rex was telling him which way we would need to go next. He told him ONCE which hand was which, to help him know which way to go and it stuck!

It amazes me daily how much knowledge and skill these boys soak up every day. They don’t even realise they are learning most of the time! One day, Archie may need to know that it is called ‘counting in twos’, or whatever else it is he needs to know, but at least then, he will already know what to do and it will just be a fancy name to give to all of his many different skills and pockets of knowledge!

This is life schooling. Learning through the every day. The mundane. The adventure. The daily problem solving. The play. And do you know what?…It’s working!

Thanks for reading, please do get in touch either in the comments on here, through our Instagram page (@thelifeschoolers) or drop us an email at thelifeschoolers@gmail.com!

Lucy

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Changes

The change in this kid in the last year is just phenomenal. From bright and bubbly, carefree and crazy, to withdrawn and unsure, emotional and unsettled. But wow, we are coming back fighting.

We have been out of school for over 7 months now. Longer than we were in school in fact and I could honestly burst with pride.

7 months ago, this warrior wouldn’t have asked for something he needed from anyone other than myself or Rex. He would spend days shouting at his little brother, out of sheer frustration, confusion and jealously. He would shy away from standing out in any way and would strive to blend in and not be noticed. He wasn’t eating, or sleeping and he just lost the Archieness of Archie.

But now…well let me tell you… He boldly and bravely talks to any of the many people we meet every day, asking questions and talking to them with such a genuineness. He picks his outfits, without fear of standing out (I had the pleasure of having dinner at the pub with Archie the elf a few days ago). He makes friends everywhere he goes, no matter what their age is. He learns from those who are older than him and helps those who are younger. He has shown such courage walking on to a pitch full of strangers when joining a hockey club, just occasionally giving me a wave or a smile, to make sure I’m still there, cheering him on. You bet I am. I always will be.

This kid will go far. The boldness, bravery, courage, inquisitiveness and kindness I see in his heart daily show me this.

We may be doing life a little different to the norm. But I love it. And so does he. And loving life is high up on our agenda! Sorry for the ramble, but it seems fitting to share, even a day late for mental health awareness. I hope, more than anything, that we have prevented any long term mental health issues that Archie could have suffered from, having stepped in when we did and listened to his cry for help. ♥️

(Originally posted on our Instagram on 11/10/18)

I’d love to hear from anyone on a similar journey to us, or anyone who feels their child is going through what Archie did. Do get in touch on here in the comments, on the @thelifeschoolers Instagram page, or by emailing thelifeschoolers@gmail.com. Lucy x

Learning to imagine and be free…

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Fighting dragons, talking to bears, battling villains, saving the world, climbing aboard pirate ships. The possibilities were endless.

Imaginary adventures and jumping into role were the norm. The ability to lead the play, or follow the lead of someone else. Using voices and expression to make our characters come to life. A plethora of imaginary friends.

It was play.

It was adventure.

It was FUN.

Then, something unexpected happened. Our adventurous, creative, bold little boy with a big imagination endured a complete emotional turmoil through 6 months of school. As mentioned in previous posts, he developed some anxieties and became a shadow of himself. Read more about this by clicking HERE.

Since we have had him back at home he has been reluctant to say the least. Unwilling to suspend his disbelief, not wanting to ‘look silly’ or get it wrong and boisterously trying to manipulate the play to follow and fit into certain rules set by himself.

This came as a bit of a shock to us, as we both have a drama and performance background and have always encouraged him in this area. To play, to imagine, to create and to dream.

Our 2 year old has an incredible imagination and his play often amazes us; how much he understands and how accurately he conveys emotions through his role play. This has caused issues between the two boys whilst engaging in play together and many times it has ended in raised voices and tears.

Fast forward 3 months of home education and I am so happy to say that we are beginning to see glimmers of his imagination bubbling up and returning. Pretending, initiating play and talking to puppets as if they are real. He even went to Asda a few days ago caped up as a superhero and didn’t even think twice about anyone looking at him.

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This may sound small and may even be the norm for you and your children, but for us, this is a huge turning point.

I remember one particularly cold day at school where he didn’t want to wear a bobble hat in case the grown ups looked at him. Non-uniform days caused him to panic and the Christmas play brought on so much stress and worry. He wanted to blend in. To be unseen. To hide.

I just pray that this courageous, adventure seeking, imaginative side to his personality sticks around now that he is shaking off the feeling of being watched and ridding himself of a self-consciousness I wouldn’t wish upon anyone, let alone a four year old. I hope it grows again like a watered seed inside his soul, allowing him to feel free, to be creative and to PLAY!

I have written this because I know we can’t be the only ones and I want to offer hope to anyone in the same boat. There were days when I wept for him. When I could see the inner turmoil written all over his face in a mellow sadness. But here we are, rejoicing in the small moments and seeing our little boy growing in confidence and learning to be free.

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Not every day is easy or perfect and we still have our moments when he expresses his feelings through certain challenging behaviours, but we are getting there and we are hopeful.

If any of this resonates with you, please do get in touch. I’d love to hear from you!

Lucy x

 

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x

They’ll get used to it…Won’t they?

 

 

So…life schooling!
Its a position that we didn’t expect ourselves to be in, but now that we are, we LOVE it!

Before I go on, I just want to put out a little disclaimer that when Archie was at school, it was a really lovely school and he was blessed with a wonderful teacher, T.A and class (with a brilliant bunch of parents too), so this is not a decision we took lightly!

School just did not suit Archie. He developed some anxiety and became a shadow of himself. A couple of weeks after he finished at school, he was properly belly laughing about something, which really took me by surprise. He’s laughing. I haven’t heard that sound in what feels like forever. My 4 year old free spirited, happy little boy had stopped laughing.

Let that sink in for a moment.

You see, it has become normal in our society to send our children off to school at the age of 4, regardless of our situation. It has also become normal to just breeze along with “oh they’ll get used to it soon enough.” This is something I had stated many times in the past, before it was my own child, so I know this only comes from a good place from most people, who are trying their best to support you in a seemingly impossible situation. But let’s think about that for a moment…

They will ‘get used to it’. Get used to what?

Get used to their feelings not being validated?
Get used to being sent somewhere against their will 5 days a week?
Get used to being told that they will be fine, even though they feel anything but?
Get used to feeling like the people who they rely on the most in their life are not really listening to what they are saying?
Get used to being in a room full of strangers (when they start), when all they want is some sense of stability and comfort?
Get used to being watched, assessed and judged?
Get used to a feeling of total exhaustion day in, day out, not least because you are not sleeping due to the anxiety the thought of going to school is causing?

I could go on, but I’m sure you get the picture.

Now let’s place those same feelings onto an adult suffering from anxiety in the workplace. We just wouldn’t, would we? We would say to our friends “Leave your job. Get a new job. Go to a Doctor.” We would NOT say “Oh it’s fine. You’ll get used to it!” This has surely got to be a contributing factor to the rise of mental health issues in young people these days.

I know we are so blessed to be in a position to make the decision to home educate our children, even if it does raise a few eyebrows, and not everyone is or wants to. This is not meant to be a guilt inducing post for those who send their children to school (I know the large majority of children love it!) But I just felt it was important to post this, for anyone feeling the same and like they are trapped in this never ending cycle. There are always other options and it’s good to open up discussion.

Do you home educate for similar reasons? Or are you thinking of doing so? Do your children absolutely love school and thrive there? Maybe you teach and have children struggling in your setting? I’d love to hear from you if you are willing to share or have any questions!

Thanks for reading!

Lucy x

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Welcome!

Hello!

Thanks for stopping by! I’m excited to start sharing our journey through home schooling our boys (or as we like to call it…LIFE SCHOOLING!)

Blog posts on how we are learning through life together, activities we do, invitations to play/provocations that we set up and recommendations for days out together coming very soon!

This is all very new to us, but we are very excited about what is ahead of us as we embark on this journey of life schooling!

Lucy x