Children’s books are sort of magical. I have learned so many little lessons from reading them to my kids. They’re usually lessons that I already know, but they take on new life when portrayed in childlike rhyme and story. One story in particular really struck me when I read it a few years ago: The Pout Pout Fish and the Can’t-Sleep Blues.
It was dear Miss Shimmer who really gave me my AHA! moment:
“…take what you’ve been give, and learn from what you’ve tried. Then build your own solution: Trust yourself as a guide.”
“The best advice of all” said Miss Shimmer to her friend, “is to learn what works for you and make your own special blend!”
Dear Miss Shimmer’s advice has been ringing in my mind as I dive into homeschooling. There are so many methods and groups and passionate people that it is impossible not to be overwhelmed. But despite all the noise and uncertainty I am SO excited!
I’ve spent the past few weeks researching like crazy, listening to books, talking to other families, and feeling out our days to help determine what sort of rhythm will best suit our family. I have come to the conclusion that this will be an ever-evolving discovery. But it helps to at least have a rough draft going into the year, right?
My motivation for homeschooling is quite simple. I want to live a slow and simple life together, teaching them to love learning, to love each other, and to give them time and space to be little.
The Call to Slow Down
One of the first homeschooling books I read was The Call of the Wild and Free. I was convicted after the first page and knew homeschooling was something I needed to continue to explore. I laugh at myself as I write this because I am the last person in the entire universe I would’ve ever expected to even CONSIDER homeschooling. How did I get here?!
As I was loading up my resistant three-year-old for school all last year, I began to realize how much we both would benefit from slowing down. If I didn’t have to rush him around after just waking up, maybe we would have more peace. Maybe I would have more time to be patient with him and he would have more time to be little. This summer has been proof of the art of s l o w.
Slowing down does not only relate to rushing my children out the door for school. It also relates to my every day life as a work at home mom. It’s amazing the smallest details that can have me feeling rushed. I put deadlines on myself! The dishes do not have to be done right. this. second. The laundry will be fine if I have to fluff it again. The floors will get swept someday.
Being in a hurry. Getting to the next thing withouth fully entering into the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I have ever gained from being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things, lie in the wake of all the rushing. Through all that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away.Ann Voskamp
Slowing down is as much an internal endeavor as it is an external one.
The more I can quiet that persistent part of myself that wants to rush, the more I am able to enter into the moment, the more joy and peace I am able to bring to family life.
My Rough Draft
I’m excited to write down this rough draft and look back on it in a few months. Will I be laughing at how awry things have gone? Will this simple rhythm already be tossed out the window and rough draft #2 in the works? Only time will tell!
- Quiet time for me
- Read and count with Cooper till Reagan gets up
- Morning prayer and morning reading with everyone
- Free play for the kids while I put Fulton down for his morning nap and do a few chores
- Until lunch we will either
- go on a walk
- play outside
- do a craft
- run errands
- go to park
- go to library
- Lunch and read before naps
- Two youngest nap, Cooper has (quiet) free play while I work and/or workout
- Have one-on-one reading with Cooper/craft
- practice with scissors
- build with play doh
- write and trace letters
- Gather for tea time when Reagan wakes up
- Kids will play together while I do a quick tidy before Ryan gets home
Aside from our daily routine, we’ve joined a Catholic Co-op. Honestly, I met a mom at a park, she mentioned this Co-op but told me they had no spots in their group, then a spot opened up. We joined pretty spontaneously but I am excited to learn more about it! We will meet with them every Wednesday for three hours. This gives us an opportunity to get out of the house and make some friends.
If you are considering homeschooling, my best advice as of yet is to listen to dear Miss Shimmer – be ready to learn what works for you. Research all the things and then step away. Feel out your own day, your own temperament, your children’s temperaments. Resist the urge to buy all the curriculum and trust yourself. Listen to the wise older women who’ve done this and assure you to relax and enjoy it 🙂
This will not turn into a homeschooling blog (maybe), but I will share my favorite books and podcasts on the matter soon!