Today was an unusual day as I had planned a while ago to drive up to the Peak District for a day's walking with a good friend of mine. The older two boys were at school today. Our eldest had two GCSE exams - Engineering in the morning, and Physics in the afternoon. So having dispatched them, the younger two boys and I got ready, and when my friend arrived, we headed off in the car. Halfway to the Peak District, I dropped the boys off with my parents for the day. The boys usually spend a day each week with their grandparents benefitting from the gifts and wisdom they have to share with them, as well as enjoying time together. This multi-generational input is one of the great enrichers of our home education.
My Dad loves history, and has happily imparted his knowledge to the boys over the years, mostly through stories and discussion which the boys absorb. It amazes us how much they remember. Today he and our 12 year old were discussing European history in the 25 years leading up to the First World War and the beginnings of modern Europe. They talked about the power blocks before 1914 and the build up to World War One, and the boy was really interested, apparently, bringing the subject up again later when they were in the car, and asking some further questions. Our 6 year old is moving through from the beginnings of British history, today meeting Hengist and Horsa and hearing how St Augustine brought Christianity to our island from Rome.
My Mum is an artist, and enjoys inspiring the boys' developing artistic abilities. Today, littlest painted a picture of the volcano in Hawaii, and talked about how he will do a house in the dark next time. He always has definite ideas about what he wants to do. The 12 year old is more open to input, and today painted a landscape of the Welsh hills, working on his watercolour technique. He is really enjoying watercolours at the moment.
My parents tell me our smallest boy played a lot with his new koala soft toy today, sliding him down the bannisters (another trajectory). He expressed again his desire to make some furniture for his teddy. The boys played together nicely with the soft toys today, and our 12 year old also played some tennis against the wall outside their house. They helped my parents with some gardening, and made a lovely lemon cake. There was a discussion in the garden about how the hosepipe had been left in the pond at the top of the garden, but detached from the tap at the bottom. The hose had siphoned off all the water in the pond at the top, and the water had drained away from the hose at the bottom. My parents saw this was an interesting scientific conversation about siphoning. Littlest son also worked with Grandpa in his workshop on a wooden box he is making.
As they often do, they all went for a walk at a nearby canal, and enjoyed their regular hot chocolate and shortbread. But whilst there, they observe the boats travelling through the locks, and are learning about the canals and the way the locks operate.
The boys came home with my husband after he finished work, and our 12 year old played tennis with friends at his tennis club this evening. Littlest son played some football in the garden, and then my husband took him with him to the supermarket to get some bits for dinner, and I arrived home in time to eat.
The boys were playing in the garden with friends and neighbours this evening before the younger two came in for a chapter of our current read-aloud, Anne of Green Gables, and a bit of the book they are reading together before heading off to bed. Our eldest son is still swotting up on his Maths for tomorrow's exam. Another day .... And the Peak District on a gloriously sunny May day was just beautiful.