This year has hit me with a heavy hand so far, dealing with unexpected family tragedy as I continue with the commitment to Homeschool my 2 children.
I’m sure the question on every Homeschool Mum’s mind in the beginning has been “Am I doing enough schooling at home?” Some days I feel as though I’m walking into the day blindly, I haven’t really ‘prepped’ as such. I have become relaxed, which some would say is the whole point of Homeschooling.
I ask myself that question a lot.
I tell myself I’m still in the beginning phase as the comparisons start flooding my mind. Sometimes I find myself scrolling through Pinterest pages at what other homeschool Mums are doing or read some really great homeschool blogs and easily get disheartened, silently cursing under my breath at my failures.
What I am coming to realise is a peaceful and happy Mum is the real key to successful homeschooling. Kids can not learn in a stressful environment. It’s my job to create an environment where they can thrive and find the joy in learning. The next question is how do I do this and keep sane? As this is my first year I am still finding my feet, my routine. I’m not there yet. My heart knows where I want to be but my head says No, you’re not doing enough.
I want to get to the place where I am content with my own preferences, no longer striving to be like other super-blogging Mums whose strengths are different from mine.
Einstein once said “Imagination is more important than knowledge” I want to believe him but my head says to push the acedemics. Sometimes I feel like I’m constantly fighting myself. Do I (A) Make them sit still and do worksheets or do I (B) Provide an atmosphere where they can freely dream, play, explore and grow in both body and imagination? I want to be the (B) Mum!
The kids and I just started a paper delivery job together this week. Our first delivery took a couple of hours. At first my attitude was all like this is such a waste of school time. It was such a mission just getting into the car with the mountains of catalogues that took us hours to fold, with countless ‘come on, you’re getting paid for this’ moments, only to arrive at our first location with my frustrations already displayed out in the open. Half way through our delivery I realised I could change the atmosphere from frowny-face to happy-face and make it a pleasant learning experience for them by changing my mood and taking control. By the end of our walk I was amazed at the questions and conversation and actual ‘learning’ that was happening! They were talking estimations, they were verbally working on their budget of how much they would earn in a set amount of time. They were working out if they put their money together how much quicker it would be to buy the slide for their cubby from Bunnings. I stayed quiet for a bit while they continued to discuss their earnings and thought hey, this is Maths outdoors!
I mean what is education really? It’s about Becoming.
Becoming what we were created to be. It’s not about getting through curriculum. Not even about knowing more or doing more. Don’t get me wrong, we do work through curriculum, it is a great tool but I’m telling myself this, it is not the be all and end all of what education is. Ancient men like Plato and Aristotle called it virtue. Augustine and CS Lewis after him called it ordered affections. Charlotte Mason called it character. David Hicks called it style. Sounds good, until there’s a tantrum.. “This Math is too hard” slams book and with tears runs to the bedroom. Then I hear the 2 conflicts in my mind screaming at me ‘Get outa here, who do I think I am taking this on?’ and the nicer one ‘r e l a x Deanna, you got this’. Use it as a tool and start sculpting. An opportunity of building their character. Every meltdown, every sudden burst of frustration, it’s all a chance to look into the heart and see where my child stands. And where I stand.. Childhood is the best place for do-overs because adulthood isn’t quite so forgiving.
My aim is to let the reigns go a little, squash the question of Am I doing enough. They want to learn and will learn about their world because it is built in human nature. I need to give them some freedom, expose them to new opportunities, focus on their interests and learning style – not on what a piece of paper should say. And, model the joy to be found in learning.
It’s just the beginning, Be kind to yourself whatever your journey.