A gap of several months has passed since I last blogged here. Stormy clouds gathered over our house and it’s been a difficult time. Constant through all the turmoil though has been the energy and joy of my tribe of girls. The summer saw us camping in Paris, exploring the Bronte’s parsonage and youth hostelling in Cambridge. Everywhere we go people comment on how they have all grown, and they all look healthy with sparkly eyes and sun-touched skin.
B moved a mountain just before the summer when she was offered a place on the CAT scheme at Dance City in Newcastle. The terrified little girl who hid behind my leg at the school gate smashed her auditions and beat thousands to win a government-funded place on the course until she is 18. The dance teacher in the interview told us they love the ‘special qualities’ home-educated children possess, especially their mature interaction with adults. I spent Sunday night holding a weeping B as she sobbed, telling me she didn’t want to go to her first class, but it was all a little brighter in the morning and she ran out of the studio smiling, clutching her complimentary ballet shoes. It’s a huge commitment for the whole family – 2 evenings and a weekend afternoon every week, and it’s an hour away at least. Worth iit if it boosts B’s confidence, and I’ll be honest, I’m very at home in the city several times a week…
M has leaped back into home education with her characteristic energy and has taken up the drums. Not as hellish as I thought it might be in a smallish 3-bed terrace, although I’m grateful our neighbour is almost deaf. Found a great jazz drummer to teach her, and she seems really inspired by him, rocking away on her little second-hand kit.
Little M is now 5 and seems at last to have grown a bit taller, though she is still very skinny. She’s a very speedy runner, racing against her big sisters whenever she gets the chance. Totally different kettle of fish learning-wise to B and M, but that is the joy of a big family, everyone is so different. M can sit for hours working on a painting, meticulous with her details. She loves stories but needs lots of repetition to remember sounds and words. This week she has started writing a story so you have to admire her ambition. One sentence in so far…
Baby F is tough as hell and makes sure everyone knows exactly what she needs. She’s the only one at the little forest nursery now, chatty and exuberant, mostly to be found in her favourite brown flowery dress telling jokes.
This autumn we have signed up to the Crisis 50/50 challenge – hopefully an easy way to raise some money for homeless people and enjoy exercising together at the same time. At this time of year in Northumberland you still get the occasional little treat when the sun feels warm on your neck. The colours are becoming more bleached though, leaves are floating, curled, to the ground, and soon it will be dark when we wake.
And what about me? I’m trying hard to think about what is happening today, rather than cramming all of my ambitions into one overwhelming basket. I have no idea what is around the corner, I can just try my best to be healthy and as happy as possible.