2014 hasn’t been the most joyous year for our family, and alongside many of my friends it seems, I will be more than happy to release this year into the very back of the memory bank and move on.
It seems that I have gotten into the habit of using New Years Eve as a time for reflection, learning, and future planning. I know it’s just another day, but for me, the first day of a new year feels like a new beginning. A time to wipe the slate clean and look forward. I’m the kind of person that wants to start new things on a Monday for example – if I’m starting writing a journal I want to start at the beginning of month – it just feels ‘right’ for me. Daft I know, but there you are.
So, the 1st of January fills me with joy, anticipation, and excitement. I like to map out what I wish to do over the coming year; what vegetables I want to grow, what I want to cover for home-education this year, which places I want to visit, what things I wish to do this year or wish to introduce to the children. It feels like I am the proud owner of a blank canvas that is yearning to be splattered and blotted with colour – I love it.
For me, 2014 will always be remembered for the year that Chelsea was diagnosed with a life-long illness. It was a shock. It was scary and I felt out of my depth – out of control. Helpless. I have never felt like that before – not to that extent. We were strangers to the hospital – even to the doctor’s surgery really – so to go from never visiting to almost fortnightly checks has been a shock. Each of us has been impacted, diets have had to be changed, finances have had to be tightened, and travelling kept to a minimum. It’s been a tough road to tread and I have stumbled many times. But we are getting through it, we are taking one day at a time and getting through it.
2014 has also been the year that Chelsea spread her wings and left the home-education nest – moving on to start at College to study Psychology, Sociology, and English Literature – alongside GCSE Maths and English. She has been working incredibly hard, and there has definitely been highs and lows, but she is still sticking at it. I’m proud of her.
I have seen changes in each of the children this year. Chelsea has become more independent and focussed on the future. She now has a clear direction, a path which she wishes to follow, and it has to be said, it’s a bit of a relief! For so long she was flouncing, floundering, not sure what her plans for the future were or where she wanted to be. I trusted the process. I trusted her. I reminded myself that she was young, that there was time, that she would find her ‘thing’ – and she has. Psychology is her chosen study subject for the future and it suits her.
Joseph has grown – in size, strength, and awesomeness! He turned 17 this year and is my steadfast friend, the one I know I can turn to for help when Lee isn’t around, and the one that can always raise a smile even at the darkest of times. He is trustworthy and reliable, not afraid of hard work and is always willing to help with the heavy lifting of sacks or shavings. He is a great help around the smallholding, and a real font of knowledge when it comes to current affairs and historic events. He is also incredible with his younger siblings, and they love him dearly – Amara practically worships him.
Tiegan turned 13 on Boxing Day so we currently have three teenagers in the house! That thought doesn’t fill me with dread though – I love it. Tiegan is still the quietest and most reserved of my crew, she is thoughtful, helpful, and considerate. If she sees that I need help, she is there. Her music taste isn’t at all what I had expected it to be, but it hasn’t changed her personality.
Callum is now 9 and the change seen in him throughout 2014 has probably been the greatest (bar Amara of course, whose developmental milestones are coming hard and fast). He is now a very fluent reader, loves all things maps and flag related, and has a curious and questioning mind. I think that he will really bloom in this current year and I am really looking forward to seeing what we shall cover together for our home-education.
Four year old Taisia is a real little treasure. She is also a real livewire, of strong will and a passionate temperament. Her vocabulary and conversation skills are amazing and I often forget she is of so few years. Taisia is also incredibly curious, very vocal and the asker of many questions. 2015 will be the year when we shall start on a slightly greater formal footing education wise – nothing forced or coerced, all fun and child-led, but a little more structured than currently – if you know Taisia you will know and understand about her need and want for ‘work’ in the loosest of senses. I can’t wait to see what she wishes to explore.
Of course Amara, at almost 15 months old has changed hugely over the past year – as all of that age will have. She is fast becoming a little person in her own right and is following in Taisia’s footsteps rapidly. She is strong willed and independent, and she doesn’t want to sleep! Sleep is a real battle for us at the moment, leaving me feeling rather lethargic and lacklustre – something which I really want to work on in 2015. Amara is toddling around with ease and her cutesy vocabulary is growing daily, she picks things up incredibly easily and loves to copy what others are doing and saying. We have to be fully aware of this and rather careful of our actions and speech when in her presence! She is a real joy to have around, and a large proportion of her day is spent smiling and being cute – I couldn’t imagine my days without her – although I can imagine being a lot less tired!
I have a great many ideas and plans for 2015, the main one being that I want to be a lot more creative. I want to explore my arty & crafty side a great deal more and generally do the things I love – most of which I plan to get the children involved with too. I want to do far more sewing, knitting, crocheting, needlecrafting, cross stitching, painting, papercrafting, art journaling, photography, baking, and anything else I fancy attempting to turn my hand to. I have set up a blog to record (what I hope will be what will be) my most creative year to date. I hope that by having a public space to share what I make I will a) be more inclined to actually keep it up, and b) be able to inspire others to find their creative soul within. I know that for me, it’s more than just ‘crafting’ – it’s self-nurturing, and as time has gone by I’m finding it more a ‘need’ and less of a ‘treat’. I feel refreshed after time creating, with clearer mind and a happier heart. I know that I have to overcome my ‘don’t touch my beautiful papers/fabric/pens/paint/*insert other much prized craft tool or resource here*!’ attitude when it comes to involving the children, but I’m sure I’ll get there – I need to let go – they are, after all, just things and most can be replaced.
If anyone wishes to follow my journey, and share their own, you can find me over at http://www.creative365.co.uk and on facebook at Facebook Creative 365 Page, I’d really love you to join me.
Home-Ed wise, we are going to keep on doing what we currently do but I’m going to add a little bit of structure to our days. I want to try to do more projects and lapbooks, attempt more outdoor nature stuff, and explore more traditions. I still very much believe in the child-led route, and it has worked well for us so that is the main emphasise to our ‘method’ if there is such a thing, but I have a four year old that needs to be entertained and who loves doing ‘school work’ and learning so we shall work with that and see where it takes us. I want to travel a bit more, visit new places and meet more people. Oh, and blog daily – will I do that? I doubt it, but I’m going to bloomin’ well give it my dastardly darnedest of goes!
Soooo many wonderful plans.
Wonderful, juicy, lusciously lovely plans. I can’t wait.
All that’s left for me to say is….
Thank you for sharing our year with us, we all hope you have an amazing coming year, filled to the brim with love, laughter, good health, and financial stability.
And remember this: YOU are bloomin’-tastically awesome.