August flew by in a flurry of back-to-school preparations. Three of my kids started school last week, having been home since last March. My teenagers only had to go in for two induction mornings to learn about the new Covid-19 procedures. The kindergarten staggered the new children so numbers were low on Blessing’s first morning.
We’ve now completed our first full week of school and everyone is exhausted! Although we’re two weeks into the new routine, we’re still adjusting to the early mornings, structured days, and the need for better time management. The long months of lockdown became dreamlike with the lack of scheduling and we simply flowed from one moment to the next. I enjoyed the absence of pressure, but I think this shift towards normalcy is beneficial.
As much as I dreaded the end of summer, I’m happy to see that we’re becoming more productive as a family with the change of season. I’m especially relieved that my bio daughter has returned to complete the senior cycle of secondary school. She began homeschooling (with the support of her school) last January- two months before the schools closed for lockdown- and I worried that she might not want to go back this autumn as planned.
Thankfully she has taken everything in her stride. It’s great to see her socializing with her friends, studying, and engaging fully with life despite the uncertain circumstances we all find ourselves in. Adolescence is such an important part of development. Learning to meet life’s challenges, developing independence, and forging identity are crucial at her age.
My son (Mr T) has started his last year of secondary school and will sit his leaving cert exam next summer. He commutes an hour a day to get there and back. He also works part-time making his schedule the most tiring at the moment. I spend a couple of hours a day driving him and his little brother to their schools. At least there’s beautiful scenery (and audiobooks) to help pass the time!
While Mr T and his sister have accepted that they have to wear masks all day at school, and frequently sanitize themselves and their equipment, the hardest thing is letting go of music class. He plans to pursue a songwriting degree in college and music is his passion.
Due to Covid-19, practical classes are no longer possible. Sadly, the school’s instruments have been shipped away. The music room is used as an extra base classroom to help with social distancing measures. Students only study music theory now. Playing guitar at break time helped Mr T cope with stress at school so the changes are a big loss to him.
Blessing has easily made the transition to school life. He had one-on-one babysitting in our home while I was working and never attended a creche of any sort. I wasn’t sure how he’d respond to having a teacher and being surrounded by his peers. He is very talkative, independent, and sociable so I suspected he would be fine. Over the summer he made new friends, and it was great seeing him interact with children his own age.
On his first morning of preschool he ran through the gate, happy to be a big boy going to school like his older siblings. He loves his teacher and is keen to make more friends. He goes three mornings a week and comes home with lots of stories. Four (of his five) older brothers and sisters attended the same Waldorf inspired kindergarten when they were little. (Learn more about what makes Waldorf kindergartens unique here). It was special seeing that a swing now hangs from a tree that Mr T (now 18) planted 14 years ago.
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Work Hard, Play Hard
We’ve been camping every weekend since we made the big decision to buy the campervan! Spending more time in nature has been a wonderful way to recharge. Last Saturday we chose a beautiful spot only a half hour away from home. Christy and some of the kids kayaked and swam, Blessing built sandcastles, and I enjoyed another chance to knit at the beach. I cooked a vegan curry one evening since my oldest son (Mr C) was along for the trip. The next day we had a BBQ over the open fire with yummy salads for lunch. With each trip we’re getting more organised and everything flows better.
Although summer is my favorite season, there are aspects of autumn that I do enjoy. Now that the temperatures are dropping, I’m focusing on making our home cozier. The Danish practice of hygge is something I actively try to cultivate by enjoying simple pleasures all year round. The season for soup, soft skeins of wool, and crackling bonfires has begun.
Recently I bought felt slippers since Blessing outgrew his and mine were beyond repair. I’m a huge fan of Haflinger shoes and have ordered these well-made, natural German slippers for all of my children over the years. The cork soles are comfortable on the hard kitchen tiles where I spend a lot of time chopping vegetables and standing at the stove. I can’t recommend the slippers highly enough!
Steaming cups of tea are a staple of daily life in Ireland. I’ve discovered Mahers Chai flavored Rooibos tea which you can order here. My local supermarket stocks it so I picked up a pack of the fragrant loose leaf tea during the week. The spices are warming on cool mornings. There’s no caffeine in it and Blessing loves it too! While the kids are at school, I’ve enjoyed going to cafes and having some peaceful “me time.”
We’ve also replaced our sheepskins with two new fluffy ones from Weavers of Ireland in Glengarriff. They’re an amazing camping accessory! I also love throwing them on the couch and snuggling under a blanket to read or knit.
I’m almost finished knitting the Flax Pullover sweater for Blessing (pictured above). I have one sleeve left to do. Unfortunately he had a growth spurt recently and will not get much use out of this sweater. I knit it in size 2-4. It seems he’s turning into a big 3 year old!
Have the seasons started to change in your part of the world? Are your kids back at school or engaged in distance learning? Now that we’re establishing a routine I hope to have more time for blogging. My social media presence has dropped over the last couple of months. More on that next time… Wishing you peace of mind during these trying Covid times. ❤️