Those that know me well know that even when I manage to glide (tis rare) I am always paddling like mad underneath. In recent years I have just got better at pacing myself. Or is that just old age creeping in?
Next Saturday (May 1st) our wee family launch ‘Fragments from Arran’ as an online etsy store so we have been very busy. We hope that our wee store is popular with folk who, like us, love the treasures on the beach. Although we collect some shells we leave many behind as we feel they belong there. Sea glass and fragments of pottery possibly do not so they are gathered up and taken home. My workroom table is full of these fragments. Some will be left just as they are and listed for folk who are collectors while others are being turned into jewellery and other products.
As well as the beach fragments we will be featuring some of products made from our garden. These include some cards and creative supplies using dye and ink made from some of our plants and pressed flowers. I also make my own paper and print with botanicals. The vision is to pass on wee fragments of the island to different corners of the world. We are very excited in all our paddling.
George is chief sorter as he great at classifying. We shall not have his help now as he is a month away from completing his degree so just a tad busy. Max is helping with the online work and is down to do post with his dad. The four of us have been in our covid bubble for months so it has been good to have something to do together. With travel restrictions within Scotland lifting we are hoping that Molly will make it home in May and we shall work on the social network for this project as well as do lots of long beach collecting walks. I have made a start and we are now on Instagram but our Facebook page will remain as Scottish island mum. Harry is pretty much excused from this project as he runs his own plastering business on the island and is crazy busy. That said, he is our best finder!
Having a little family venture has been good for us. This is their childhood re-imagined really. The decision to home educate our children was a huge decision at the time that then felt completely normal in a matter of days. I saw my children’s shoulders drop and their smiles grow bigger with each day. We generally did our more formal learning in the mornings leaving the afternoons for learning through play and experiment. We bred butterflies and watched them fly, had cucumber growing competitions and went on daily foraging walks. Together we have so many memories and I am beginning to wander whether it might be time to pull those memories into one place. I am a passionate believer that all parents educate their children. We have such a strong influence on them why wouldn’t that extend to their education? With home schooling being the norm during the pandemic I know some parents have really struggled and I think I would have too. In that context you are trying to support the child with their school work that they are receiving virtually. That is not an easy dynamic. I am more interested in the informal learning that happens in a family unit and encouraging folk to extend and develop that. I know many do that already hugely successfully but even in that context it has to be good to hear other ideas. Our family experience of education was completely unique and (possibly as a result of this) all four children have gone off in completely different directions in life. I find myself reflecting on that education and looking for the seeds that were sown very early with each of them as they developed an interest in something. This interest was then nurtured and developed within the family and we had time to support them into their new pathways. In all the years there was only one dodgy moment when George decided that he did, in fact, want to go to university and he was on vocational post 16 courses and we had to switch things around a bit to make sure he had the qualifications needed to apply. It all ended well and he got a place with the university of Highlands and Island and has just been spent four years studying adventure tourism. He has loved it but he has changed his mind again (good for George) and is now pursuing a career in a different direction. I feel that their education is a big part of that. We taught them from the very beginning that life is a series of pathways. Some are long and directional while others are shorter and meandering. I think all four of them have the confidence and the ability to change direction without feeling like that is a problem.
So, after my rambling you can probably tell that I think there is a book in me. A book that tells the tale of just one family’s adventure with education. For the reminder of 2021 I am memory gathering from all of the children as I want their memories to feature heavily. I hope to then be able to start writing at the turn of the next year and finish it by the time 2022 is over. It is a plan so we shall see. Some would say that it has been a long time coming…..