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Ups and downs of this homeschooling adventure

Homeschooling is many things. Easy is not one of them.

I’ve been discouraged with it lately though; my expectations of what I want to accomplish exceed what is physically possible for me. How do you clearly define the boundaries of home and school?? How much is enough? or not enough? How do I add more structure and consistency into our school days? These are big mystery questions for me.

Even though we have an academic curriculum to work with and meet monthly with an Education Specialist, a lot of our activities revolve around learning through play: building, storytelling, pretending, making art, cooking, dancing, doing household chores together, going on adventures, doing experiments, and playing board or creating our own games.

In the morning they get their toys or unfinished activities from the previous day and tell me all the work they need to accomplish. It sounds silly to me, which is my biased opinion, but to them it’s serious work. This reaffirms my latent, a little bit reluctant too, belief that play is meaningful and purposeful.

I know this to be true cognitively but accepting it has been difficult.

Our most recent play has been running a hospital where various animal patients are treated: x-rays, check-ups, blood draws, shots, medicine, broken bones, heart fix, stomach flu, or staying overnight at the hospital. They call me “boss”; they slapped that title on me voluntarily, probably as a buttering-up scheme to make me play longer as their sick dinosaurs.

Other times, they are archaeologists digging up fossils under the living room mat wearing lab goggles and gloves, pretending to analyze bone samples, rescuing animals from dangerous environments, rehabilitating herbivores who have been attacked by T-Rex, or camping out on the stairs with blanket forts and canopies.

They ask me to play. A lot. It’s torturous to get into it, because my middle-aged mind doesn’t naturally gravitate towards imaginary play and being silly on a regular basis. It hurts my head.

The other day I felt overwhelmed and frustrated that we were having a mediocre start to this winter semester. Feeling desperate for other options, I took a deeeeeeeep breath and timidly started researching local public schools.

Maybe I will be able to and stay motivated to homeschool my kids all the way through high school; maybe I’ll decide to stop; or maybe one or both kids will want to attend a regular school at some point.

Majority of the time I’m convinced that homeschooling is the right educational decision for our family, especially due to its flexibility, being interest based, spending time together, going on spontaneous adventures, and learning at our own pace. When kids surprise me with new information they’ve absorbed or remind me that the process of learning involves mistakes and that they can fix those issues, it makes me deliriously happy. But that happy feeling is fleeting; self-doubt creeps in making me question whether I’m doing enough. It never feels like enough.

I’ve known this all along, but I’m reminded that I can’t do everything I want; enough has to be good enough for my sanity sake. Also, the outcome of learning won’t be apparent immediately. It rarely happens that quickly: it needs time to simmer and develop, which I should know well from personal experience. This homeschooling experience constantly challenges me to rethink what learning is, how it occurs, and where it will unfold and flourish.

our making and discovery adventures
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Beloved kids’ blankies

via Photo Challenge: Beloved

Blankies are beloved entities in our home.

Both kids love their soft, very likely grimy, bundle of warmth so much that wash days are dreaded by everyone – me included. They blow kisses to it as their beloveds swish and turn with suds in the washing machine. During the wash, I’m constantly barraged with questions of when they can retrieve their beloveds.

It’s surprising how kids attribute personal characteristics to their favorite things. One morning Elliot realized that he forgot one of his four blankies in the car. Once it was retrieved, he hugged it tight with tears in his eyes and apologized to it for his oversight. Other times they purposefully sit with it, play with it, talk to it, or even give it a seat at the table.

Kids have a way of reminding me that some things become special not because of its inherent specialness but because they deem it so.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Daily Prompt Posts

Profuse worrywart

Profuse

I’m a profuse worrier. I worry about worrying too much or sometimes worry that I’m not worrying enough. Other times when things are going swimmingly – I jog my mind for things to worry about.

Mix in the OCD and that makes for a jolly mix of psychosomatic symptoms.

God has helped me journey through some large worries that seems to get even bigger in the middle of the night. I look back and see how He made pathways in unlikely roads. I had to let go of the worries to make space for something better. C.S. Lewis quotes St. Augustine in his book The Problem of Pain, which clearly encapsulates the hard discovery I made: “God wants to give us something, but cannot, because our hands are full – there’s nowhere for Him to put it.”

flower-flowers-small-flowers-white-161561

To make room for the good, I’ve got to let go of the useless and profuse worries.