A Quick Catch Up

Hey lovely readers! Apologies for going MIA, I have been drowning under exam prep, and guiding Lillie to finish her art and her photography qualifications.

We are nearly there. Charlotte has taken four of her six exams. She feels that Latin went very well, and she’s fairly confident she’s passed. The Classics also went well, even though paper one was the paper we were all worried about. Paper two is on Wednesday, but it’s on Homer and Mycenae, both subjects she’s confident about.

For each exam I make her up simple exam notes to learn off by heart, with notes on all the prescribed resources. I will be posting these up on the blog soon, so any other people taking these exams can make use of them.

Charlotte’s last exam is her level two maths. We went down this route rather than GCSE because she struggles so much with maths. She has self-diagnosed dyscalculia, and I am beginning to think she is right. She is so quick and intelligent with regards to everything else. She managed to sit a Latin GCSE after studying it for only three months, for goodness sake! And yet she has studied maths every year, except last year when she was ill, every single day. She took the placement test to see where she needs to start learning from, and she placed at the lowest level. Charlotte was not happy! So we now have just a few weeks to bring her maths up from barely anything to enough that she can pass her level two to get her into school. The pressure is well and truly on!

Lillie has also been finishing up a couple of qualifications. She actually finished her art in January but it will now be submitted to the exam board. She finished her photography A Level equivalent just last week and has heard from her tutor that she received an A on it, although it still needs to go to be moderated so that could change. It’s been a long slog, but they are now out of the way, and Lillie has 48 UCAS points to use when she applies for university. Yay!

Personally speaking, I have worked the hardest I have ever worked in my entire life over the last four months, working ten plus hours seven days a week. The reason, of course, was to help Charlotte do Classics and Latin GCSEs in just a few months instead of spread over two years. Her goal is to study A Levels at school in September (she has been accepted to the school of her choice to do A Levels in English Literature, History and Drama). I think we may have done it together, but it has taken its toll on me in particular. I am exhausted. But I am very proud of Charlotte who has done every single piece of work I have asked her to do; given up much of her social life over the past few weeks of exams, and generally has worked incredibly hard. She deserves this.

I just have four more days in front of this computer, drafting past papers (I’ve had to write my own papers because these are new qualifications and so do not have many past papers for Charlotte to practice on) and writing bullet point notes for her to learn. Four more days. My interest waned long ago, but I keep on keeping on. It has been hard, especially on the little ones, to whom Lillie has become a second mum in her own attempt to support both Charlotte and I. With the littles, she does Charlotte’s chores each day, so Charlotte can squeeze in a few more minutes of revision, and she takes them to the park, charity shopping, out for ice-creams… I could not have done this without her help. But, honestly? I can’t wait to get back to my babies.

Last weekend, Gary took the older girls camping for the weekend for Big Church Day Out. It was great for Charlotte to blow away the cobwebs. I plotted and planned an incredibly special weekend with my littles. I didn’t go near the computer, or do any work… just spend hours upon hours with my younger two who lapped up the badly needed attention. I will be blogging about it, because it was so special. I have missed my girls and am really looking forward to Classics being over on Wednesday, when hopefully we will return to normal somewhat.

Our house is a heap (really, a pig sty!) which has got progressively worse over the past three months. General chores have been done each day, but past that absolutely nothing! Last weekend, I worked into the night to do a deep clean of the whole of the upstairs, including the bedrooms. It looks lovely up there now. However, the downstairs is a different matter. Thursday I shall get everyone on board and we will all do a massive clear out and deep clean of the downstairs. I am actually looking forward to it!

We have also been living off rubbish for the past few weeks over the exam period: take-aways, easy no cook food, rubbish to keep our energy levels up. I have not done myself proud food-wise, and we are all looking forward to returning to normality. Of course, healthy food would have given us much more energy, but I’m just being real. Healthy food did not happen as often as I would have hoped.

As I reflect on how I might have done things better, I am aware that last year was pretty similar when Thomas took his exams, and it will probably be the same when Lillie takes her exams next year. I’m fairly one dimensional and it seems I can only do one thing well at any given time!

So instead of focusing on my utter failures over the past few months, I choose to look at all the blessings.

A few weeks ago, Thomas thanked Gary and I for teaching him to work hard and to love it. He said his work ethic was the best gift we could have given him. Last week Charlotte said something similar. The willingness to work hard is a good thing, and as far as we can tell is fairly rare these days.

In order for Charlotte to reach her goal, she and I have needed to cocoon ourselves in this world of Latin and Classics. As we holed up, others filled our places.

We are a family. I am going to say that again. We are a family. I do not need to be everything to everyone, everyday. As I was writing papers for Charlotte, Gary stepped up and did things with his littles, fed the hoards and generally supported me in any which way he could. Thomas came back almost daily and rubbed my shoulders whist I sat at the computer. Lillie stepped up massively. In fact, I don’t think we could have achieved as much if she had not been, well, her. Lil was happy to step into every role I needed her to step into. The littles learnt to entertain themselves. They worked on their workbooks alone, asking Lillie or Thomas if they needed help.

And through it all we grew closer and closer. Working together, helping others achieve their goals, ignoring the mess, living, loving and laughing together. Isn’t that how it’s meant to be? It’s not always pretty. It’s not always healthy (ahem). It’s not always easy. But two are better than one. Three are better than two. Eight are better than any other number! All eight of us (I’m including my mum in this because she played a huge role) have played our part in helping my incredibly brave, unique daughter be successful in her goal to go to school. After a year of being a shadow of herself, she will now be able to spread her wings and fly.

We may have a heap of a home. We may all have seen our weight creep up because we have not made as sensible choices food-wise as we could have. We may all have seen our time as a family diminish somewhat, as I spend most of my time at the computer… but we have also seen a maturation of relationships. I have noticed others being put first as we worked together for the good of Charlotte. I have seen more cuddling, more support, more smiles…

We are a family. We stand strong as a family. And we are blessed beyond measure to have each other. Because when one falters, another steps up. When there is no more Claire at the end of the day, Gary (or any other member of the family) steps in. We are family. And we are so blessed.