Tuesday, 4 June 2013

That's all folks!

Yep, this is the end of Let's...
50 posts and I'm out of ideas.
When I started blogging, back in October last year, it was mainly to fend off the feeling of total redundancy! I'd had 14 years of teaching, 4 years of being a full-time mummy and suddenly I was out of work. I wish I could have thrown myself into the perfect housewife role but I just don't have it in me. Going through old pics of the boys, before school had snatched them away, kept me occupied and happy. It was a nice way to record their lives so far, and if it gave people a few ideas of ways to entertain their little critters, so much the better. (Today's pics are an "On this day in our history!")
I have learned an awful lot. Here's a few thoughts on what I learned about blogging:
  •  Just like parenthood it's easy to worry about! I worried that my posts were not interesting/entertaining enough, I worried that I came across as being smug about my child-rearing techniques when in fact I know there are loads of things I've got wrong, I worried that I wasn't linking up my posts right or following the proper tweeting/retweeting etiquette, I worried that I should have been anonymous and someone might kidnap the kids!...
  • Once you get into the world of blogging there's a strange contradiction. On the one hand I felt a bit dismayed to find that pretty much anything I wrote about had already been written, often much more cleverly, by many other bloggers. It's very hard to be original. On the other hand it was nice to know there are like-minded people all over the world trying to give kids the same kind of experiences I was hoping for.
  • By reading other blogs I realised that it's good to be not too wordy, and to include plenty of pics if you want people to actually bother to read your post.
  • 2008
  • And if you want people to read your posts you need to link up with other bloggers. Not just putting your posts on their lovely linkies but also taking time to read what they have written and writing a meaningful comment (everyone loves a comment!)
I have massive respect for some of the other bloggers out there. Several are linked down the side of this page. Teacher Tom and some of the Australian pre-schools for being absolutely brilliant at giving kids a free-range opportunity to learn about the world and themselves, Coombe Mill for summing up everything that childhood should be about, Eeh Bah Mum and Den State for being utterly hilarious in their candid take on what it's really like to be a parent. I have shed many tears over the heartbreaking blogs from Jennie@Edspire and Emma@crazywithtwins. Wow, if I'm ever tested I hope I have a fraction of their strength and courage. And there are loads of other bloggers who have entertained me and made me look at things differently.

Writing my blog, and reading those of like-minded parents and child carers has made me come to some more conscious decisions about how I think young kids should be raised. I read this great article recently which included a list of the skills children need in order to be ready for school:

A child who understands everyday language is ready for school.
A child who dresses himself is ready for school.
A child with good manners is ready for school.
A child with stamina, coordination, and persistence is ready for school.
A child who understands there are rules she is expected to follow and consequences when she doesn't is ready for school.
It's all educational. It's just not academic. 

All of these skills can be learned through mucking about in the garden, playing games, exploring the natural world. Kids are going to get years and years of formal schooling. They do not need to be learning to read and write before they get to school. It slightly turns my stomach to see people proudly showing off the way they've taught their 3 year old to recognise their letters. WHY??
To me the most important thing is to encourage their curiosity. Kids are naturally curious and by joining in with this, even if it's a "what will happen if I throw this mud ball at the wall?" type investigation, you will set them up with a love of learning that is absolutely key when they hit the classroom.
And in an age where the screen is king, giving them a love of the great outdoors is more important than ever. Mine definitely watch too much tv, especially in winter, and Zac would spend a lot of time on his computer if he was allowed, BUT they do still want to play in the garden or go for a walk or a paddle in the river. They are pretty active outdoor kids, and I really hope they'll stay that way.

Hey ho. Our lives are moving on. I've got a job for September, three days a week back in the classroom which I'm really looking forward to. It'll be the beginning of another new chapter. 
I may well blog again in the future. But for now. That's all folks! x