It's a first for ARCH since they have done a cruel thing!, and that is to tag me with the "seven best things you've done this year " meme. It is especially awful because it is impossible to follow their list without appearing utterly paltry in comparison, but here goes.
1. One of the best things we have done this year is to carry on home educating. It has given us all the flexibility we could possibly need. This has meant, for example, that we can travel cheaply to far-flung places and introduce the children to the great wonders of the wider world. I love the fact that because the children don't have to be in bed at prescribed times, we could indulge Ds's obsession with the Eiffel Tower and accompany him on midnight walks around the Tower, over the Seine and further into Paris, whilst he talked and asked questions incessantly. You could see other pedestrians looking at us questioningly, perhaps deducing that he had a hyperactivity problem and that we were walking it off, but it couldn't have been further from the truth. He was animated out of pure joy and excitement engendered by the remarkable architecture, illuminations and setting.
2. I am so pleased that we have been able to let the children learn at their own pace and let them set the agenda. We would have got things so wrong otherwise, since all our predications based upon previous experience of their learning styles would have proved completely inaccurate. Ds, for example, has suddenly become a much more conventional learner, quite prepared to sit down and study in a schooly type way. His reading skills have developed at such a rapid pace that we can only be convinced that in this regard at the very least, it is better to wait until a child is ready and you cut out all those years of slow and painful struggle. (I should have believed all those HEors who have gone before and who kept telling me that this was so.) And Dd, contrary to all expectation, decided at the beginning of the year not to go to school and has instead developed into a highly independent, self-motivated learner who decides the pace of her education with great strength. She writes incessantly, but only what she wants to write. Whilst she is fascinated by language, she shows little interest in numbers, so in the spirit of the lessons we have taken from Ds, we are happy to let this ride for a bit. My own sudden emergence of interest in algebra suggests to me that it is actually never too late!
3. During our travels, we found the beach of our dreams: virtually deserted, unspoiled, yellow sands, warm blue sea, rock pools, octopuses and perfect waves - a wave the right size of all of us. A small but steady wave for Dd, a medium-size for Ds, a bigger one for the mums, and a virtual tsunami for Dad and the Uncles (loons). The memory of the place glows like a precious crystal and we are determined to return as soon as possible.
4. Having had the opportunity to spend quite a bit more time with certain people. It has been such a privilege to get know them properly.
5. Watching the children develop their friendships.
6. To have found part-time work which I absolutely love. Thanks so much to the person who helped me with this and thanks so much to the person who helped us out with HEing our children while we worked.
7. I can't pass up this opportunity without mentioning that it is a matter of enduring pleasure to me to watch Dd run. She runs like the wind, reminding me most of a gymnast with that sudden burst of speed as they run up to vault. She is so quick off the mark, her leg speed is extraordinary and when she isn't wearing jeans, her co-ordination is perfect. I am not sure quite why I find this so pleasurable; perhaps it is at least partially because she reminds me of my brother and sister who were similar when it came to finding such a joy in co-ordinated action. Ds, meanwhile, has become so much more co-ordinated during the year. He started out gangly and ends it by doing the neatest forward and backward flips, diving catches and perfect throws that anyone could hope for.
So that is it: a great time and life is generally getting easier as Dd passes out of toddlerhood. We just have to hope that impending changes to HE legislation doesn't screw this up for us.
As regards tagging, am going to let people off a direct hook, given that it is Christmas and all that, though would love it if Ron, Andrea, Jax and Tim and Gill took it up. Would also love it if Clare could pick this up, but rather doubt that she will have a mo.
HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE.