Something I've thought about through my grief, which, in all honesty, is only just starting to bubble to the surface, after months of focusing on my father's estate, is the need to not waste time. I'm ever keen to engage my children in the pursuits and ideas they love and to find the same love of something creative for myself, once I know they are all set.
We've actually decided, after speaking with the children about they'd actually prefer going forward, to take a little step back from sending them to lots of workshops, as I find the children tend to shy away from anything remotely like a school / classroom environment. We will still go to EtudEO, a wonderful home education environment, that focuses on a holistic approach, which seems to work well for my bears.
This is largely due to the fact that as they have discovered in this first year of freedom, that they can take responsibility for their learning and decide more about the things they'd like to focus on. There is little point in pushing an agenda that simply makes your children's effort, energy and enthusiasm recoil back into its creative shell, when that's what you want to see shining like the biggest and brightest rainbow. It's been harder for me to take a step back, but I have done, because I know it's the right thing to do.
Two workshops / days out we have really enjoyed this year have been an amazing visit to the Warner Bros Studios to visit Harry Potter World and the Roald Dahl Museum. The written word and imagination really does feed the creativity of our three, so the trips went very well.
However, our plans now are to continue with an autonomous approach, with some online learning and days out ... we'll still look out for the workshops and there are some lovely ones coming along in the diary, but the point will be to try and ensure that everyone is happy to do them. It is hard to juggle everyone's interests when they are all so different, yet so close in some ways in age, but I have to say that being flexible on these matters is what I do best.
Life is about adapting and so is creativity. It comes in so many forms and as it fills their imaginations, so we wait to see the blossoming ideas, beaming like a ray of sunshine as the Spring begins to appear.
As for me, I've finished the first draft of my novel (which was at first a screenplay) and I think I've found an Editor to take it through the next steps in the publishing process. I'm so excited, as writing is a very precious part of my soul and I am so pleased to feel confident enough to be able to start to move this forward and I dearly hope, that this home educating mum will be published before the end of this year and that the next comedy novel will be well underway by the next few months, too ... then it's back to the screenplay again!
Everything I've learned myself in the last year has been a real baptism of fire, but the fact of the matter is, there's not much that frightens me anymore. I am proud to be a home educator, I love the freedom it gives my children, I love the way my children are absorbing so much and their conversations that can lead to more creativity or real debate at the dinner table.
I've learned over time, that if they are interested, plough on and if not, change tack, but never give up - on yourself or your children. It's amazing over this year just how much I've learned from them and I've grown fearless in my writing because of them and I'm the proudest mum of every step, every achievement, however small.