Monday, January 19, 2015

Y'all Just Settle Down Now!

I decided to give the kids the day off today.  Their friends were home from school today, and although I have heard many times that the best way to honor Dr. King's legacy is to work as hard as he did, I took the, "It's a National holiday" way out of doing school today.  You know what? I didn't even feel guilty.  For me, this is a major accomplishment.

For those who do not know our educational journey, we were homeschoolers wayyyy back in the beginning of my oldest's school days.  We started right at Kindergarten.  I ordered my very expensive complete Sonlight curriculum (which I loved) and faithfully checked off all the boxes each day.  The girls got their trickle down learning while K.Z. and I set off on the homeschool road, and later their own curriculum.  We crashed the homeschool vehicle on that homeschool road.  By third grade he went to a private school.  I was convinced they could do more for him.  The girls wound up eventually following.  Naturally, after we adopted Eazy and he hit Kindergarten, he went as well.

For years I had that nagging feeling that I wasn't doing what I was called to do.  I wanted my kids home, but homeschooling was stressful. Fighting with my oldest about school work was stressful.  It didn't magically stop in private school.  He came home and we battled over homework.  More stress.

We made the decision for various reasons to pull the kids from their school at the end of one year, and commit to the homeschool path we had set out on earlier.  It just felt right.  I was petrified, yet excited.  But this time, I didn't want to create school at home.  I just wanted my kids to learn, and enjoy it, no matter what that looked like.  I had a distinct feeling that it looked nothing like the "school at home" setting I had created before.  The problem with that plan was their uptight mother.  The one who loves to check boxes, and sees progress through completed curricula and filled in workbooks.  The one who could easily crack a whip while yelling, "You're gonna learn and you're gonna like it!"  Shudder...

I don't want to be that mom.  I don't even like that mom.  I decided this time would be different.  I am trying extremely hard to make it different, so I am trying to take a more relaxed approach, and guess what?  They are learning.  On Friday I put some of the books aside and we dove into learning more about manta rays from the previous days's lesson.  We watched educational cartoons about the Revolutionary War.  We used YouTube and Netflix.  And we learned.  All of us.  And we enjoyed it.  

I don't have it down yet, by any stretch.  I have cried buckets of tears over my perceived failures over their education.  I have doubted my curriculum choices, and fretted over their futures.  I have bent many a friend's ear and blown up their e-mail accounts with my worries. Despite all of this, there is a deep flowing peace.  It is palpable.  I just need to settle down and enjoy this journey, because I have a feeling if I just relax a bit, it's going to be a great one.


Dale Cupo said...

oh how I can identify..We homeschooled my eldest from 4th grade to 8th and it was such a struggle to find the lets just learn and oh no we are falling behind. It's knowing that you are creating learners . Love that about Wider school.!

Denys aka Mommy said...

Every year we re-invent what school looks like for the year, taking in our failures/sucesses from the previous year and every year one child tries her hardest to buck the system. Every. Stinking. Year. Thanks to Wider we seem to have reached a place where she is doing something that looks like quality work, but I feel like I can't relax for one second.