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Gardening with Children

Spring is sort of thinking of beginning here! But despite the very cold weather, my thoughts are turning to the garden. Every year I have great hopes for growing vegetables. One year we managed a respectable harvest, last year we managed nothing, the year before that I was too pregnant to really care! So this year I have a bit of a plan, to start small! Mr Man is digging over the vegetable patch, and I am going to a local stable to collect some horse poo! Then for the vegetables. We are going to go for: 1. Some potatoes- these are usually quite east to grow, but do steal the nutrients from the soil. 2. Carrots- have failed to grow last few years, due to the potatoes, but this year, they will be no where near the potatoes and will have horse poo power to help them out! 3. French Beans- we’ll see what happens to them! 4. Salads 5. Strawberries- but need to destroy the slugs! This year I plan to start the carrots, and beans off in the house. I will use cut in half toilet roll tubes. These can be planted directly into the soil. Hopefully this will allow the roots to become established. Now all this planting is great to do with children. It allows them to learn where food comes from, as well as equipping them with the skills to grow their own food (hopefully). Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

An Atmosphere of Love

In church on Sunday one phrase rang out from the myriad of truths… “Human Beings Develop Best in an Atmosphere of Love” How very true! I immediately had a picture of a fragile flower, of great beauty, and what happens when a plant is starved of the water and the nutrients it needs? Likewise we fail, and shrivel up in an atmosphere devoid of love. There are amazing stories of babies, written off by medicine as being too sick to live; and nurses or mothers picking them up to love them, to let them die in the arms of affection, and instead of dying they live. The act of loving bringing life. Or the cold, emotionless statistics from early maternity wards, where the babies of the rich were taken from their mothers an placed in large nurseries; but the babies of the poor left with their mothers. The mortality rate amongst the rich was higher than those babies born in poverty… such findings changed the way we care provide post-natal care in hospitals, that is why in maternity wards mothers sleep next to their babies. There was a recent study showing brain development in young children. Children born into neglect, children who are not loved, their brains fail to develop normally. These children often go on to become problem kids in schools, and then grow up to a life of crime, the behaviour is not learnt but is almost a form of brain damage. Despite the millions spent on helping these vulnerable children, the damage was done in infancy, through lack of affection. In the craziness of family life, the business of days, we can easily loose site of the simple… how precious it is to love a child, to give a child a safe place to grow. A tip I read the other day, simple, beautiful and profound, “cuddle each child as often as you give them food”. Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

The benefit of being a life long learner to your children...

I believe one of the greatest privileges we have is being able to learn. We have all seen the images of people in third world nations of people impoverished, unable to feed their children, and with little hope- people who have never had an education. I value the fact I have had an education, and I love learning things. For me home education is a way of instilling a love of learning within my children, and raising them to be life long learners. I think women who have been use to professional careers, or have been educated to a high level, often find it had to adapt to the role of full time mother due to the lack of intellectual stimulation. I highly recommend trying to fit in some kind of new training during that time. Learning a new skill will feed the intellectual part of your brain, as well as equipping you with a new skill. But something unexpected is also gained from learning new skills. You develop a greater empathy for you children as they are learning their new skills. We can forget the struggles we had at school. I have been teaching myself computer programming. I find it stimulating, but as I grapple with a problem, and stretch my mind with something a seasoned programmer could do with their eyes closed, I think how my children must feel fighting with multiplication or phonics. So tomorrow, when we are doing maths and a child just can’t get it despite going over it a hundred times, I can rememeber that last night I looked a simple piece of code for and hour until I finally worked out what I’d done wrong… and I experience the joy of grasping something you’ve found hard. Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

What is Normal?

Normal.. we’re all normal really! My husband and I are proof that opposites attract- really we are two totally different individual people, who are totally normal. So what is produced when our respective genetic material is fused together? Four very different children, but with a common thread running though. You could look at each as a baby and know what family they belonged to, but as individuals they are all very different personalities, unique, yet normal. Here are some of the things normal children do: shout, cry, whine, fight, not listen, run, make mess, disobey, talk back, know how to embarrass you at the wrong moment…. American clinical psychologist Wendy Mogel writes in her book “The Blessings of a Skinned Knee”, about working in LA. She would have parents come with their children keen for a diagnosis to explain their child’s behaviour. For the most part the children were perfectly normal, their behaviour was nothing not common in an average child. However, the parents were keen to explain their child’s naughty behaviour as ADHD, for example. Parents were wanting their child to be perfect, and when they were not being perfect there must be a problem. In a recent study it was discovered 1 in 10 American children have ADHD… really? I don’t doubt ADHD exists, and I know from working with children who have needed ritalin the amazing benefits the drug can have, when used properly. What I doubt is that 10% of American children are ADHD. I am trying to learn how to deal with each child’s own brand of normal. Discover how to parent the individual. And remember we are not creating perfect models of humanity, we are raising children, and it can be messy and hard, and we will make mistakes… and that is alright… regardless what the parenting books make us think their is no definitive manuel how to do it! Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

Multiple Children: “How Do You Cope?”

It’s interesting going places with four children- you do see people looking as you go round the shops, and you are guaranteed at least one comment, normally along the lines of “How do you cope?”, or “You must be brave!” The funny thing is I don’t feel like I have a big family- I have friends with eight children! This is normal for us. But had you told me when I had one or two children that I’d be here now with four… well I may have had some sort of break down! The truth is, mummies with one or two young children are probably at the hardest stage of all. For me having a baby and a two year old was without doubt much harder than the four of them just now- and that’s without homeschooling added in. There were evenings (Mr Man worked shifts) when I’d do the dinner- bedtime routine in tears. It felt brutal, relentless. When I found out I was pregnant again I was depressed. But it just started to come together. Speaking to other mums in similar situations this seems to be a common trend. The first, then second child is totally brutal; then you don’t notice the jump so much. I think there are a couple of reasons for this: firstly, older children are natural entertainers for babies. Secondly you are calmer. You know the screaming infant will not cry forever, you know colic comes to an end, you know about the little secrets your individual children like, and what settles them- you can’t learn this from a book, but the first two have trained you well! Something else I’ve found the more babies I have had the more I appreciate them as babies, and as toddlers. You appreciate the shortness of the time more than you did when it was the first. With your first it’s all about them reaching those milestones… with baby number four, it’s watching them feeding, listening to the baby noises they make in their sleep, enjoying their soft baby hair… because you know all too soon that time will pass. Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...
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