Fitting it all in

Ady and I have been venison processing today. The deer cull is almost over for the season (until July) so we wanted to have a small stock of venison in the company freezer to meet the needs of our tourist trade before the season starts again. We have two hinds to butcher and process and today turned one into 100 burgers, 4 steaks and 7 packs of mince. Tomorrow we’ll turn the other into steaks, diced steak and maybe some more mince. We have a plan to make some sausages out of some of the meat too.

Meanwhile this left Dragon and Star home alone. At 10 and 12 this is really not a big deal, particularly for mature, responsible children like them. They sorted out their own breakfast and snacks, looked after Bonnie, watched a film, listened to the radio, played a bit of their current favourite computer game (Minecraft – means nothing to me but they have shown me various things they can do on it including rearing animals and building houses, very real skills they have practised in real life and will do again this year but for now on a wet and windy February day they prefer doing it online!). Their Home Ed life has changed rather from years gone by when we were out and about meeting friends, visiting interesting places and attending workshops and group activities. Never structured as such but perhaps with more variety and obvious opportunities. There are no museums or art galleries here on Rum, no scouts or guides and yet just this week they have been offered art lessons from one of the islanders and spent a morning tending to a poorly duck so opportunities have a funny way of outing themselves regardless.

I’ve had fleeting moments of worry about educational provision the last few weeks. For various reasons I’ve had a couple of real life conversations about education, how it works, what is important and that always enthuses me anew for what we do and how we do it. At lunchtime we listened to a debate on the radio about older drivers being dangerous. As usual we all ended up shouting at the radio and Dragon picked me up on something I said about an older caller being unable to construct a sentence to argue therefore certainly not being capable of driving a car. He cited Stephen Hawkins and asked me if it would be right to write him off as unable to do something on the basis of him not being able to construct a sentence.

Star asked me why other creatures than humans don’t appreciate a beautiful view as we do and we talked about art, beauty, poetry and music.

Today I noticed online that today is Rosa Parks 100th birthday, along with a quote from her saying ‘I would like to be remembered as someone who wanted to be free’. Ady didn’t know who Rosa Parks was but Dragon looked up and said ‘wasn’t she the black woman who refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white person?’ and proceeded to tell Ady the story. This made me cry. It made me cry because my 12 year old is teaching his daddy things every day and that is the way it should be – not always us teaching them, but all learning from each other. It made me cry because I don’t even recall the conversation or events that led to Dragon knowing that but I do know it was me who told him and clearly told him with enough passion to bring Rosa Parks to life for him and have him remember her name, what she did and why.

Education, as always for us, is just life. Currently it’s snatched a little inbetween making venison burgers, eating lunch, feeding the animals, listening to the radio. Except of course it’s not snatched moments inbetween all these things, it actually is all these things.

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