I'm feeling ridiculously content at the moment! Life just seems to be falling into place. A couple of years back I felt like a bit of a maverick. I was trying to grow our own food and to stop buying commercial products. Not only did this make it hard when engaging with people, I wasn't doing it well. It was very frustrating to make life choices about not shopping at the supermarkets but to find myself needing to go there all the time anyway!
Bit by bit we're getting better at living in a style with which we are more comfortable. We've joined a local environment group, met others who are looking to buy good, healthy real food.
Gradually we are learning about new sources of food and we are getting better at gardening. We are still nowhere near the point that I aspire to reach. I know that summer will again bring challenges with heat and water that I have no answer for at this stage. Gardening in winter is much more successful for us. We are finding that most days we can use something from the garden to plan our meal around. Yesterday afternoon I wandered through the garden for inspiration for the evening meal. The spinach beckoned. I knew I had some purchased sundried tomatoes in the fridge so we ate a risotto with tomatoes and spinach. It was beautiful.
We have two areas to our vegetable garden. We have an area with seven beds of about 2 metres x 1.5 metres each on one side of the yard.
The other side of the yard has gradually become a round garden over the last couple of years. I'm trying to develop it for our summer garden because it gets afternoon shade on the north (a tree) and the west (our house) during the worst of summer. I'm not sure how successful this garden will be because while the tree provides shade, it's roots can be found throughout the garden. It may out-compete my veggies but time will tell. I also like the shape. Because it is round, I can just put a sprinkler in the centre of the bed and water everything at once. A blessing in summer when watering become a daily task.
Bulk food buying is making a huge difference to how often we need to frequent the supermarket too. Like the veggie garden, I can look in the pantry and find something to become the basis of our meals. Our pantry has taken on a completely different look. None of the bright colours and pictures designed by marketing companies to capture your dollar. Just real food! As added bonuses to our healthy diet we are drastically reducing our environmental impact and saving money!!!
I have found yet again though that, as with many things in life, good often comes from bad. I often find myself using the saying that every cloud has a silver lining.
I have dabbled with home-schooling before because I feel it is a good way to raise healthy, well adjusted children. The trouble is I kept doubting my ability to provide for my children in every way. This time I think the time may be right. We are better situated than ever before to be able to take on this huge task and manage it successfully.
We don't need to do a lot of running around these days and we have a good network of people around us. Many of them understand the benefits of home-schooling and having moral support makes such a difference to my confidence levels. I believe that it is not possible for a teacher to be able to care more about my child's education than I do. Also, no matter how good they are at teaching, they are responsible for many children and are constrained by extracurricular activities, dealing with behavioural issues etc.
Despite some trepidation, it feels right. When the kids were at school the mornings were horrible. No matter how well I tried to be prepared the mornings were a big rush and all I could hear was my own voice hassling the kids. Then when they came home from school there was unpacking of bags, afternoon tea, notes to be read, readers to get through etc. Suddenly it was time to prepare dinner and the day was nearly over. I wasn't spending quality time with the kids and it felt like such an high pressure juggling act.
We've been at it for just over a week but already the children seem more settled. Their games are becoming more imaginative, they are able to choose activities that interest them and we all feel calm. They have been involved with cooking and in the garden if they chose. They have been requesting to eat meals outside and have re-organised their cubby to make it more homely. Belle has identified areas she feels she needs to work on and areas of interest that she would like to study. The younger two are still being directed by me but she has grasped, with excitement, the possibilities of self-directed learning.
There is still so much to work out such as connecting with other home-schoolers, fine tuning their curriculum, finding resources that suit....... Somehow I don't feel panicked though. I feel we will quickly develop a rythym and life just feels right. I'm enjoying my children and feel incredibly enthusiastic about the future.
Welcome home children! Can't wait to watch you blossom!!!