Thursday, 6 September 2012

Not the first day back at school ~ looking for aliens instead

Time probably felt quite different to me and my brother growing up, than it does for my son. Our year was divided into terms and 'holidays'. Our week was divided into school days and week-ends.  Our day was divided into units of class time inbetween bell rings and breaktimes. First days and last days of school took on almost ceremonial significance, just as it still does judging by all the photo's on Facebook of children standing with school uniform holding their bags ready to begin the new school year.

Me, circa 1980

My brother, 1976, aged nearly 12, about the same age my son is now
I can't truly remember how it felt but I think the new school year in September was an exciting time - reaching a higher rung on the ladder, not only measuring our academic development, but providing a fresh opportunity to take on new challenges, make new friends, possibly reinvent ourselves a little. I can see some value in the structure that I grew up with. However, it contrasts strongly with the time structure we co-create with our son, and this can be one of the more liberating aspects of home-educating.

My son, 2003, aged 2, not going to pre-school!
We never had to adapt to the school routine because our son has never been in school or pre-school.We still have the structure of adult work to fit around and our diary gets filled up with events and activities, camps and 'out-of-school' classes and all kinds of random things which pop up that we decide to do. But there's perhaps more of a free flowing of 'time' and no daily necessity for early morning starts or late night endings. Because his time spent doing something (eg, animating) isn't necessarily interrupted by artificial divisions, he can carry on with a project until he's finished with it or wants to do something else (though we do place inconsistent limits on screen time, depending on what it's being used for!).

One possible consequence of this is that our son doesn't have a strong awareness of clock time or calendar time and combined with my time management wobbles can mean that we're often rushing about trying to cram too much in or squeeze one last minute into the seconds we have before getting out and being late! Most of the world runs to quite a strict timetable and it will obviously be necessary at some point for him to learn the value of balancing and organising his time and aligning it sometimes with those convenient yet controlling numbers which are constantly ticking by. A tardis would be more than useful, though perhaps a bit distracting.

Today (Wed. 5th Sept) was his first day of not starting Secondary School! It was also my Mum and Dad's 53rd wedding anniversary!

We decided that this called for a joint celebration and as it was a gorgeous sunny day, the most appropriate thing to do seemed to be to go out in the country to find a crop circle and see if we could get beamed up by aliens... It's true, the intoxicating effects of no school combined with over half a century of love, put us in a dizzying, crazy mood! We don't know if it was this, or whether there was in fact a paranormal phenomena occurring. It produced mugshots which were very different to those old ones of me and my brother with our uniforms and bags.

We definitely felt there was some kind of strange energy in that field
We were drawn higher and thought that maybe up there, they would reach for us through time and space, to take us home...
My mum was wondering why despite all her attempts, they still haven't come to take her away...
To be honest, I'm very relieved she's still here!
The corn had been cut but we could still see the imprint of the pattern and the flattened areas where the design had been made. Before the crop had been harvested, the formation we were standing in looked like this:
Photo from
Copyright of Jason Patterson
When I looked up information on this crop formation later, I found out how appropriate a place it had been for us to be today. When we're reflecting on the effects and meaning of time and relationships in our lives, it was interesting to read how this labyrinth crop design has been described as an ancient Tibetan Buddhist symbol, that of an 'endless knot' which signifies the eternal flow of time, an unbroken interconnectedness and unity, with neither beginning nor end.

It has also been described as a Mayon Qunicunx which is an ancient alchemy symbol representing the whole being more than the sum of its parts.

And this is how I see education and life! And this is maybe what my parents were thinking when they 'tied the knot' 53 years ago.

We came home. Neither our earnestness nor our silliness led to a journey into the stars with alien friends (though we know they're out there somewhere). The hands on my watch are still moving round. I keep an open mind for who makes the labyrinths and circles in the fields but we continue to walk our labyrinths and our interconnections through our lives, and we are each always so much more than the sum of our parts.

And whether we go to school or not, we never stop learning *•.¸¸


  1. Wow - J REALLY looks like you right now (not sure how he'll feel about that, but hey!) What a great time you had yesterday - looks like Indian Summer is here :)

  2. actually, that wasn't Jason it was ME but I didn't know I wasn't signed in to Google grrrr!

    1. Haha! I know it's difficult managing multiple identies... I lose track of who I am sometimes ;-) xx

  3. Congratulations to your mum and dad ! Great pictures :-)

  4. Glad you're still with us! Looks like a great day - love the photos.