Spending time with myself, sniffling and feverish despite RAW garlic and dropperfuls of echinacea, and super green drinks and abundant vegeatables and snatched times on the sofa with hot honey and lemon and miso broth. Cross none of this staved off the fluey state which has felled each of us in turn, fighting uneasy guilty feelings about loosing the homescholing reins on the kids. Running slightly feral around the grounds and tripping back breathless and hatless to lay their cool cheeks against mine. Chilled, pearly and smooth as a mushroom skin fresh and dewy in the field.
Grumpy, dumpy and suffering some strange unidentified pregnancy related discomfort which has slowed my walking to a shuffling waddle, from too much manure shifting at a school work day on Saturday I have no doubt.
Luckily I love my sofa, tucked next to the woodburner and being alone on it with a hot water bottle and a book.
The homeschooling reins have already loosened, by necessity, for sure, by moving four times, by the fire, by me slowly realising that recreating a model Steiner kindergarten and class 1 (simultaneously) in my own home is not entirely necessary for my kids educational success and emotional well being, especially the latter. And which is more important?
Conditioning so hard to unravel, years in school, state and Steiner, national curriculum, literacy levels expected of six year olds, …Local Authority home school inspector…’hm hmm I can see they’re very active and busy but what about formal literacy and numeracy provision?’ Are they happy, do they want to learn, are they emotionally well balanced and nourished……no boxes to tick.
Oh! it’s such a journey for me to come face to face with all my feelings of guilt, inadequacy, is this enough, am I enough, should I be doing this shouldn’t I be doing that. Am I singing enough nature songs and is Tansy’s knitting coming on well enough? (Steiner) Are my home grown fairy tales good enough? Does it matter that Tansy can’t read yet? (Nat. curriculum)
Are they happy?
Does she make beautiful little books about babies, does Leo hoe and dig his own garden and collect the eggs every morning?
Do they cook soup when I am ill and brush my hair?
Do they make candles and sew pincushions and dolls and bake bread?
Are they learning about living in a community considering others needs and differences, working and playing with other adults and children, sharing food and resources and opinions?
Do they know how to build and tend a fire, catch a fish, pluck a chicken? Well yes!!
You see I’m just trying to convince myself!
Last week I had been feeling particularly negligent as we had only squeezed in one writing session for Tansy (I follow the Steiner class one pattern of telling an ongoing fairy tale, in our case ‘Molly and Sam and the magic Mountains’, and having Tansy write a sentence about the days story in her book accompanied by a picture) One session….ooh! Nursing first Fred, then Tansy and lastly Leo..now me through the fevers precluded extensive writing work….
But on Saturday we felted.
It was the Steiner school work day, and among many jobs, including the manure spreading which reduced me to my shuffling waddle, was a giant community felting project in the hall. Partly to improve the acoustics and partly as a beautiful reminder of the seasons rhythms, we started the first of four felted wall hangings, depicting spring, summer, autumn and winter. Almost a flock of sheep fleeces were laid out, and we teased, carded chatted, splashed warm soapy water about , danced on it the huge felt picture, crawled on it, marched singing on it, and wrapped it in bubblewrap and rolled it up and down outside. Bit by bit the wool felted and soon it will be ready for the more delicate and intricate details to be needle felted on, and hung on the wall.
The children watched, teased, ran about, squirted water on the felt, rested, stamped and rubbed the felt about, sang laughed, got wet socks
So happy for Tansy and Leo to be part of a community afternoon and to witness adults working joyfully together, creating beauty. Not the all too common sight of a parent struggling alone resentfully trying to do too much without support.
That’s what I want them to be learning about!