Home business, home education and health challenges: what makes us tic?

Posts tagged ‘Holidays’

Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." - Albert Camus

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
– Albert Camus

Where we live, April and May are Autumn months. Branches heavy with berries droop invitingly into our garden, luring deeply shaded birds to come and dance for our amusement.

These months are as heavily burdened with holidays as they are with fruit and birds and fat, lazy bugs. I sometimes think the months of April and May were politically wrangled to asphyxiate small businesses and home schooling families.

When I was a little girl, I loved the holidays. I loved learning, of course, but I always enjoyed the opportunity to do it at my own pace, in my own clothes, and in my own space. Now that I get to do that every single day, the shiny sheen of “days off” has tarnished and I crave predictable, repeatable routine. It acts like splints, keeping broken bones together, upright, in place.

Ah, routine. Predictable. Repeatable. Comfortable.

I know what you’re thinking about comfort zones, but when things fall apart, comfort zones can be very comforting.

Very comforting indeed.

Perhaps in the bleak midwinter lurking just around the next corner, a ray of comforting, familiar, warm routine will poke its cosy light into the grey every day.

We shall see.

What an amazing week!

The Thursday before last I had an unexpected call from an old friend. Would we like to take advantage of their timeshare at Glenmore Sands? They had a six-sleeper holiday flat available the following week, and for various reasons they couldn’t take advantage of it. One of the reasons was them living over 8 hours from the place. We live only two hours away. Would we be interested?

We deliberated. It took nearly five minutes to rearrange our lives (including a fancy emailer to all our clients), for us to say Yes Please! And off we went.

Glenmore Sands - panoramic view from our unit.

Glenmore Sands – panoramic view from our unit.

The week away was not without it’s share of mishaps. First of all, the girls left behind everything they’d packed except a few favourite toys. I’d packed their giant massive art set, school stuff and some books to read. They had a couple of toys. But we’d left behind the Monopoly (horrors!), and all their clothes besides the ones they had on. However, a quick jaunt into the local “town” (a small, badly maintained street with a grocer, fishing tackle shop and (thankfully) a discount clothing store) saved the day. Surprisingly, the shop held nothing at all that we were looking for, but some clever improvisation (ahem) allowed us to manufacture a remarkably diverse wardrobe from a particularly frugal shop. Of course, it helped that we spent most of nearly every day on the beach! And it’s mid-winter!

Parts of the shipwrecked Nightingale which ran aground in 1933. Cool.

Parts of the shipwrecked Nightingale which ran aground in 1933. Cool.

We borrowed a brand new game of Monopoly from the resort’s reception desk, and played a lot of that. The girls are fiends and nearly wiped the floor with us! I didn’t win a single game by myself, and won only one team match. Even that was a fluke! Their mental arithmetic is, officially, improved thanks to this week away. The resort also had a limited array of satellite TV, and the girls did watch more cartoons than usual.

The ocean was dramatic and spectacular.

The ocean was dramatic and spectacular.

However, as I’ve said, most of our time was spent on the beach. We swam. We climbed. We forded lagoons and investigated rock pools. We found the remains of a ship wreck – perfectly timed after a month studying ships! – and we lazed on the sand. We built sand castles and collected shells. We found driftwood and used it to play beach-tic-tac-toe. We watched the sun rise over the sea – twice!

The Bar-one-and-Banana Pancake-of-Destiny that defeated Papa Bear.

The Bar-one-and-Banana Pancake-of-Destiny that defeated Papa Bear.

In the middle of the week, on a friend’s recommendation, we visited the apparently-famous (and rightly so!) Mac Bananas on the main road to the South Coast. What fun! Papa Bear was defeated by their bar-one-and-banana pancake. Goldilocks jumped on the coolest 3D trampoline, while Red Riding Hood had a pony ride (her favourite!). They fed the animals in the “petting zoo” and climbed all over the Treasure Island-style jungle gym. The food was amazing, and the banana crumpets I made from the bananas we bought there were the best ever.

The rock pools provided hours of fascination.

The rock pools provided hours of fascination.

Other than leaving the clothes behind, Papa Bear had to head back into town (two hours away!) to do a support call on our second day there. I had to create and send a proposal to a client (who accepted!), and create and send an electronic emailer (which was a success). But other than that we did no work at all. We read, played games, drew pictures, watched TV, enjoyed each other’s company, and generally recharged. It was wonderful! This is the first time we’ve ever had a nuclear-family-only holiday, and the longest holiday we’ve had since the kids were born. And that was ten years ago! We have no idea how we’ll ever thank the kind family that gave us their holiday, but we’re trying to think of a way. Suggestions are most welcome!

We’re back!

Well, our whirlwind(ish) trip to The Big Smoke is over and done, and we’re back in Civilisation. The girls were remarkable: by 8am on Friday morning, when our lift (aka Durban-Grandad) arrived to fetch us all, they’re already finished their Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic for the day. Not to mention having eaten, fed their pets, and packed enough toys to stock an entire orphanage!

On the way there we listened to the Focus on the Family Radio Theatre’s version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis. I thought our Durban-Folks were very patient to sit through the entire thing, but the girls loved it. We played “Grandma’s Trunk”, but never got further than “J”.

(“In Grandma’s Trunk I found an Apple.”
“In Grandma’s Trunk I found an Apple and a Basket.”
“In Grandma’s Trunk I found an Apple, a Basket and a Chinese Cat.”
And so on …) 

We also played Twenty Questions, but not Eye Spy, for some reason. Durban-Granny had the inspired idea to bring along

A French knitting bee - featuring someone else's gorgeous handiwork.

A French knitting bee - featuring someone else's gorgeous handiwork.

French Knitting Bees. The girls learned how to French knit, which was great since we’ve just started the Sheep, Wool and Weaving unit. Awesome timing as always! The Lord really works all things together for our good.

On Saturday we attended the year’s first Highland Gathering at a local high school. My brother is a bass drummer in a pipe band, and they did very well. It was great for the girls to be there and see how it all works.

Great ideas for what to do with the finished French knitting. We might try some of these. Click for more ideas.

Great ideas for what to do with the finished French knitting. We might try some of these. Click for more ideas.

Sunday we had a family reunion of another kind. We attended our old church, where I grew up, we got married, and both girls were dedicated. It was very special to see our old friends again, and to marvel at how tall everyone’s children are now!

Yesterday we set off home and again, the girls had packed up, eaten breakfast and finished most of their three R’s by the time we set out. Jozi-Granny sent us home with a box FULL of Asterix books, craft magazines and Cricket magazines. Treasure!

The girls were very sad to say goodbye to grandparents, aunts, uncle and puppies, not to mention the Bearded Dragon they came to adore (instantly!). But it was lovely to get home and great to see just how well home education works in transit. In fact, all we needed was a sheep farm or amenable agricultural museum and it would have been perfect.

Maybe next time.

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