Have you ever started the school term with loads of enthusiasm and excitement? Perhaps you’ve thought, “This term is going to be perfect!” Even though last term wasn’t. And the one before that also ended with a fizzle instead of a bang.
I remember many school terms that began with hope and ended with relief.
Oh yes, during the holidays between school terms, I’d make elaborate and what I thought were exciting plans. I’d read books, buy resources, and write loads of notes. On the first day of the term, I could hardly wait to begin. My kids got caught up in my excitement too. For a few days. Or was that a few hours?
It didn’t take long for things to go downhill as everyone realised what a big task we had ahead of us. All those outside expectations that dragged us away from what we really wanted to do. We’d start to battle over work:
“But you have to do this,” I’d say. “It’s good for you to do things you don’t want to do.”
As the weeks went by, I’d say, “Keep going. It’s not long until you can do what you like.” I was looking forward to doing what I liked too. I was also looking forward to the end of the school work battles.
I have to admit, we hardly ever lasted the whole term. A week or so before the start of the official school holiday, I’d slam our books shut, toss them back on the shelf, and announce, “I’ve had enough! Let’s end the term early!”
My kids would grin. So would I. We were free! We didn’t have to do anything for the next few weeks. No school work. No record keeping. No one could make us learn anything we didn’t want to know about.
Here in Australia, the official school year ended a week ago. Last Saturday morning, while most children were probably sleeping in late after a tiring and busy school term, we got out of bed at 4.30. Soon after 6 am, we were at our local nature reserve setting up the cameras to film a music video for my daughter Imogen. Despite the term having ended, we continued to do what we always do.
On the first day of the holidays, we missed out on an opportunity to sleep late. Did we miss out on anything else? Oh yes.
We missed out on that huge overwhelming feeling of relief that used to flood through us when the school term ended. We didn’t shout, “We’re free!”
You see, my children are free all the time. Free to learn what’s important to them. Free to choose to learn things they feel that they should know. Free to direct their own learning instead of following someone else’s plan. Free to learn whether it’s the school term or not.
So on the first day of the long summer holidays, we were working. We were making a music video.
The other day, my husband Andy asked, “Am I a Youtube star yet?”
“No, Dad,” answered Imogen. “We’re still editing the video. O Holy Night doesn’t go live until Wednesday.”
Yes, Andy joined Imogen to sing this Christmas carol. So did Charlotte, Sophie and Gemma-Rose. I didn’t. I was the photographer. While I snapped photos, I listened to my family’s voices floating through the bark-shedding gum trees and out towards the river. And I enjoyed. I wonder if the early morning walkers also enjoyed this little taste of Christmas.
Wednesday has come and gone. O Holy Night is now live on Youtube. Is Andy a star?
“Imogen’s supposed to be the star, Dad.”
I guess no one’s a star when you’re part of a family. Everyone needs everyone else. We’re all important.
I’d like to thank you for reading my posts, for your comments, friendship, support, and encouragement during 2016.
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your family. May you experience the peace, joy, and love that come from this special season. Happy Christmas!
P.S. Imogen will be posting one last Christmas video. Carol of the Bells will go live on her Youtube channel on Wednesday 28th December. This video is also a family affair. Andy, Charlotte, and Gemma-Rose once again join Imogen. My son Callum is singing with her too. Sophie recorded this live performance video when he was home for the weekend, several weeks ago.