2008, a year in blog posts
This is it. No more 2008. Our very last chance to say, type, read, write, do, see, be.. anything in 2008.
This kind of thinking used to blow me away when I was younger. (Yes, I was born in the 60s, so what do you expect? Hippy DNA..) But I find, quite surprisingly, that they matter less to me as I get older and the time passes more quickly so that each year blends into the others in my memory and anyway, it's only a random chance date on a calender, isn't it? Could be any day. I've been feeling like it's already next year since the Solstice.
A few special *moment in time* flashes of memory from my life still remain with me:
- Being a child of about 9 years, walking on my own through an arch of trees in neighbouring woodland (now houses), catching the sunlight glinting on the leaves and thinking: "I'll remember this moment for the rest of my life."
- New Year's Eve at the Colony Club in the Falkland Islands, 1986. I was in tears, because it didn't feel right. Eighteen years old and on the cusp of something, but I didn't know what.
- Getting married, 1988, and thinking: "I shouldn't be doing this.."
Ah, there are lots more. Too many to mention. Births of children, meeting certain people.. deaths, new houses, changes.. And this is the end of a year, not a lifetime. So I'll leave it right there and get onto the main reason for this blog post: looking back at 2008. I've got the blog hub now, and this post might be more suitably placed elsewhere, but I've come back 'home' with it instead, to the blog I made first and have kept all along, with a few glitches, since November 2004.
The start of a new year is for looking forwards, in my opinion. The end of an old year is for looking back. So, here goes:
Ohh, the boys caught me out in conversation, yet again! That pronunciation problem has sorted itself out now. She's realised with reading and writing where she was getting her sounds mixed up. Yeah, we loved The Night Garden.. still do, and home ed meetings, although those have been on hold since June due to some very sloooow work being done on the room. We're getting it back next week though! Baby hormones! Blimey, I'm still ploughed under with those. Might be just emerging, sort of...
The endless car and bathroom situation! The car is in the garage now, funnily enough, being fixed again. It's limped along for most of the year, usually working, sometimes not. It has done quite well for us, on the whole. The bathroom took months, but has been sort-of-finished since about September, though I don't think they'll ever finish the sealing, or the edges of the floor tiles. And we launched our off-grid plans, and the new blog about those. Let's see what kind of silly timescale we had in mind for that, in February.. Oh, only "..hopefully sometime this year..". Well, we didn't manage that. But at least the project is still underway, albeit changed beyond all recognition now.
We were doing duplo sums then, or MegaBlocks, as someone kindly corrected me. And singing the praises of the brilliant AHEd. I wrote a piece on Dyslexia and the boys were battling with the central heating system.
I set up the blog hub, and not before time! I'd already got enough other blogs for things to get really confusing, even for me. The hub has worked really well, I think. I've been pleased with it, though I never did get the header to contain clickable links. Ah well, something to do for 2009. Educationally, it seems we had a month of determinedly not learning (and again) which nevertheless managed to involve an incredible amount of, well - learning! (Sorry Lyddie..) The economy started to get interesting round about then, and we were doing some good game-playing. (Lyddie's grown out of a lot of that sort of stuff now. She refused to play I Spy with me yesterday!)
A quiet month, blogwise, apart from Zara's 16th birthday, a letter to my MP and a ramble about educational theory. Oh and I planted up the old bathtub! It did very well, though is looking very sorry for itself now, of course. Except for the sage.
This was when we started land clearing, with a vengeance. We also made dandelion coffee, cleared a bit more land, made a pudding from the Cosmic Supply Company, and cleared a bit more land. (We ended up actually clearing far too much land, in that most of the greenery grew right back, before we'd got around to digging out the roots and replanting with grass seeds. Lessons learned.. ) I also enjoyed responding to a lone parent consultation, thinking about (and discussing) the redefinition of language, liberating trees (wait, that's land-clearing, isn't it?) and generally writing about trees. And trying to identify them. Lyddie was doing loads of reading, we thought about rain, I did some solstice blog-sorting and Ali had a birthday. Oh yes, and we cleared enough land to finally get into the sheds! A very busy month.
- evidently didn't involve much blogging, possibly because the weather would have been good(?) but we were taking care of the soil and learning more about the I Ching and electricity. (I don't think I'll ever know enough about those two things.) I also blogged about the grid in our heads and the the abolition of Income Support, which is perhaps another grid. Arguably.
- saw the discovery of some steps when we started properly digging, though we dug out a lot of junk too - about five big carloads full, to date. This was the month in which South Ossetia was being bombed, and I still don't fully understand what was going on there (does anyone?) and our own government bizarrely suggested that some home educated children might, convolutedly, be even more at risk of not receiving a suitable education than schooled ones were, whilst simultaneously sending sending letters home to 4 year-old children telling them their schools were failing. Also, Tom announced his imminent career plans, and we did some piano lessons and some more number work.
- was the month in which we demolished one of the big field sheds, made electricity, enjoyed the journey and started beningly playing schools (though the folders have mostly stayed on their shelf since about October to be honest). It was in September that the government announced Children starting secondary schools in England this week will be the first to be legally required to stay in education until they are 17, I discovered Dr. Míceál Ledwith (and didn't read half as much of his stuff as I intended to..) we learned a bit more about water, bank accounts, anatomy and Roman numerals, and the Halifax went bust! (Although I strangely seem to be still repaying my mortgage to them.)
- brought late summer sunshine, and a lot more fieldwork. Autumn came slowly this year, as I remember. I was asked some awkward questions, and we harvested our spuds. (2009 resolution, as ever: plant more food!) The government, looking increasingly despotic, used anti-terror laws to freeze assets belonging to Icelandic countries in a bid to protect our own gullible investors and I was asked yet more questions. The calendar blog was born (I'm really enjoying that one) and I went on about trees again. (In another life, I could have been a tree surgeon. Except that I don't like cutting them. Ok then, a woodland elf!) Credit got crunchier, I ranted at the government again... oh. And again. And I dug out our second deep bed and started researching composting loos, about which Zara has banned me from discussing in any other than the weirdest sort of company.
- was the month of indoor picnics, pumpkin pie and brisk, chilly outdoor walks. I wrote to Kitty Ussher, Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Department of Work and Pensions. (She later said in Parliament: "I have my own opinion about home education." Hmm: a young son and a hectic career. Anyone want to guess what they might be? ;-) We talked some more about home educating on a tight budget, and complained to BRE about the Welfare reform consultations. (This complaint was not upheld, unsurprisingly, but it apparently did generate some duscussion within DWP, so perhaps better efforts will be made by them to consult properly on future occasions?) I talked about toilets some more, and posted a shot of my square-eyed children (the baby now has her own computer, her sister having long tired of sharing). The nights drew in and I made a cloak, posted something to Home Education Stories UK and we shifted a lot of stone. I wrote some more about education and Al was a hero.
- included a lovely Christmas Day, which followed a meaningful Solstice. (All one long celebration, to me.) We also did some kung fu, wrote about dementors (Bill Gates and his mates), caught some jelly fungus and photographed the frost. There was even more field junk to recycle, and I went on about the breaking of spirits, affordable Christmases and weekends. And education, again. (Are you sensing a theme at all..?) We did battle with the brambles again, sized up some old trees for a necessary pruning job in the new year, and I finished my blogging year with three posts on my money blog.
And that's it! A whole blogging year. It's taken me all day to compile, not just a *moment in time* but I've really enjoyed doing it. It's made me review the past year properly with pleasure, some exasperation at broken resolutions, but satisfaction about the progress we've all made. I've had to keep breaking off to attend to children, visitors and the demands of my own stomach and at one point I thought I might never get it finished in time. But I did, and so here's to the last of 2008. I'm off now to tidy up and cook rounds of food for the
Happy new year, everyone!