As homeschoolers, we stay home in the winter. It’s cold, it’s snowy, and at home we can be cozy, comfortable, and not catch the stomach flu. We enjoy a slow morning, books read aloud by the fire, warm, bottomless drinks, and fuzzy slippers.
But by March, we’re ready to get out there, see our friends, hike the local trails together, and attend organized activities with museums and other interesting teachers. By March Mama’s on her last shred of sanity. Get me outta here! And Im an introvert.
Last week, we had finally found a pretty great balance. We were going on regular walks together, fitting in math and reading daily, science, as well as unit on farming, and we were looking ahead to our nature group, and a forest school program.
This week, we ate cake before noon.
My inner rebel has to shine through somehow. It used to appear through direct defiance of the societal expectation called send your three year old off to school!
Now I say, Let them eat cake!
On a Thursday.
My Facebook feed has been bombarded by options of resources and photos of lessons planned by other moms. Many parents have been curious about home learning, so I can see their excitement to dig into their stash of workbooks and lay out predesigned lessons for their children each morning. Some of it is inspiring, and it reminds me of the thrill I felt at first. But I also find myself filled with a sense of panic….am I doing enough? Should we be watching all of the virtual museum tours, concerts, and online lessons being offered for free? Should we?! SHOULD WE!!!
And then I come to my senses. I’m a veteran home educator at this point, and Im finding myself being sucked in. I can’t imagine what all of the first timers are thinking? Im sure feelings of doubt and overwhelm are prevalent for many. I can see burn out coming around the bend.
So here is my advice to myself and to those of you wondering if you are cut out for this (if you’re thriving, then carry on..this isn’t for you)…..
Your child learned to walk simply by walking, not because you used a diagram and flashcards combined with a daily lecture. They had instinct, they had drive, but most of all, they saw you doing it.
If you want your child to pick up a book and read, you might have to pick up a book and read, just for yourself. If you want your child to see how math applies to the real world, then you’ll have to use it and show them how you doubled your recipe. You’ll have to model it in order to teach it.
This is an international crisis…an actual pandemic. If it makes you feel sane to organize lessons by age, level, and grade, then go for it! But if you find yourself yelling answers at your child…”it’s 7 damn it! THE ANSWER IS SEVEN!!” Then it’s time for a new approach.
There are times when we are heavier on the sit-down-work and there are times when our days are more free flowing. It’s all catered to the weather, our moods, and our interests. But I know that each day is not required to be equal in productivity to the next. When it works, we run with it and when it doesn’t, we bake cookies, watch BBC documentaries, and skateboard…kind of like a field trip.
Each night, I imagine the next day. I think of the meals I’ll make (roughly), and what tasks we need to accomplish, and then I budget in what time is left…with all of the cooking from scratch going on, we’re talking about only a couple of hours. That’s enough time to fit in everything your child needs in a day.
So make peace with your inner rebel. Let her shine through. Move away from the stack of workbook doom, if it’s not working for your family…paint your own versions of the Mona Lisa, roll dice and challenge each other to add up the numbers quickest, read a novel together while the kids draw something they hear about in the story
Eat some cake! And if you double the recipe, you can count it as school 😉
Asking myself, what do I have control over?