Friday, November 26, 2010

Our Schooled Life

School - it has been one of the most challenging experiences in my life.

I devour stories about unschooled adventures with envy and lust.

My very limited understanding of unschooling is that it's all about the child following their needs and wants - finding their rhythm and finding their 'thing' - it is about the child being at the centre of their learning.

This has been the problem - we placed Calum at the centre of his learning from day one. We have been guided, supported and nurtured by him every step of the way. In turn we've guided, supported and nurtured him.

Learning for Calum has included school - he has chosen to go to school. At every step of the way he has made choices about where to go to school, what schools to go to, what to study and how hard to study.

He has learnt well. He has had some amazing teachers. He has had some fantastic experiences. Our family's ideologies have been challenged - he has gone within and speaks his own truth. It's not always the same as ours - he is far wiser than I shall ever be.

As we approach GSCEs and talk turns towards A Levels I realise that my 26 years of struggling with the school system is almost over. I reflect that this has been my struggle and not Calum's. We challenged his decision to go to school a couple of years ago when we were very unhappy with the bigger picture and how that was influencing him. A few visits to Findhorn sorted that out and school has continued to be a large (and expensive) part of our lives.

Yes I would have loved to have had unschooled adventures with Calum - but you know what, he found his own rhythm, his 'thing' and all is well - all is very well.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Creating a Home

It's been almost three weeks since we packed up and shifted a couple of miles. After four days all the boxes were unpacked and our stuff was settling into the new places in which it lived.

I've been pondering what makes a home - where are those places that nurture our family and ourselves?

The morning light hitting the kitchen door - beautiful. I bought the house a present when we moved in - you can see it in the left of the picture - a print from one of my favourite artists Jaine Rose. I'm delighted that in the few years since I first saw her work a wonderful gallery of prints and cards has appeared - check them out they make wonderful housewarming/anytime presents.

This is a corner in my kitchen - it may be my favourite corner in the house. I don't much care for fitted kitchens and I am delighted that this home has only a few fitted cupboards. My beautiful dresser with some of my favourite things on it - an old bakerlite toast rack (granny's), my favourite wine glasses, Angel cards, fruit bowl. The rocking chair was once sat in by my husbands Nan. I am reading a wonderful book at the moment - Sacred House - where women weave words into the earth by Carolyn Hillyer. In it there is a fragment called chair....

"There was a chair beside a stove that became a basket in which to collect old stories. As people passed through the kitchen they liked to settle back into its cushions, take up a large mug of tea (or possibly a small glass of ginger wine) and set the runners rocking while they pour out their many tales................."

Kitchen shelves - elder rob, tea, oats, cranberres, cookbook, herb book - just stuff.

It's all just stuff - but for me it's the difference between a house and a welcoming and nurturing home. The pot is warmed, the hearth fire is lit and the rocking chair is waiting to hear stories.