After much stressing, soul-searching, prayer, and journal-writing, I’ve finally realized a few important things:
1 – I’m not going to ever be a perfect mom, but that doesn’t mean I’m not the mom my kids need.
2 – I’ve had a lot of loss in the past year (some I’ve spoken of online; some I haven’t), and I need to give myself grace when I have moments of less-than-stellar parenting.
3 – My kids have had a lot of loss in the past year, and I need to give them grace, too.
4 – This relaxed homeschool year is exactly what we all need. I had what I’d thought were relaxed plans at the beginning of this homeschool year, but even those plans were more than we need right now. And that is 100% okay. We’ll keep exploring what interest-led schooling looks and feels like, and make adjustments as necessary.
That all boils down to this:
Right now, what our family (and our homeschool) needs
is grace, laughter, togetherness, and time.
What this looks like right now:
Since Kathryn is studying Georgia state history this year, we’re making a point of finding field trips that focus on state history. A trip to World of Coca-Cola was her idea. Although we’ve lived here all our lives, we’d never been to World of Coca-Cola; it was one of those things we’ve never done simply because we knew it was here and could always do it later. We had fun and learned new things, but it’s not a museum I feel worthwhile visiting repeatedly. What impressed me most of all was the variety of countries represented in our little tour group: Norway, Germany, India, and Hungary!
Fall is officially here weather-wise, and we’ve been spending as much time as possible outdoors! I love that our playset does double duty as a treehouse. The kids climb up there and make things out of leaves, pretend all sorts of things, and they accidentally end up studying nature. They’ve discovered that magnolia tree pods have red berries inside (and that when squished those berries are orange inside). Kathryn always said she’d spend a lot more time outside if she had company, and the kids are eager to participate in any game or activity she comes up with. One day this week she even made them a back yard obstacle course! Scout and Jem have been learning so much already about plant and tree identification, weather, seasons, butterflies and other insects, and how to use an acorn cap as a whistle!
Watching them learn is fun. I’m trying to hang onto that joy for the times I get frustrated with them.
Again I say: our dog is the best. Sometimes she runs with the kids in the yard; sometimes she lazes while they play nearby. It’s so neat to see how she tailors her playing to who she’s playing with, so as never to hurt anyone and (odd as it sounds) she always plays fair with the little ones. I’ve never seen a dog do that before. She really is the smartest dog EVER.
And one day, she might just come right on up into the playset with the kids. I know she’s thought about it. 😉
More interest-led activities for Kathryn:
Kathryn recently tested for (and received!) her yellow belt for Choi Kwang Do. She is really enjoying this and I’m going to try to arrange our schedule so she can participate in more frequent classes.
After reading some of our human anatomy studies, Kathryn broke out the microscope to examine slides of various types of cells.
This girl is nearly always working on some sort of craft. Recently she’s made these paper globes and a fabric-wrapped wreath for her room. I’m looking forward to seeing how she’ll decorate her own home one day!
I’m still studying.
A book that’s been fabulous reading for me lately is Free Range Learning. It’s taken years for me to accept that we don’t have to sit at the school table hours every day. Even with our relaxed schedule, we’re still doing everything in this year’s plan — just in a much less structured way than I’d previously envisioned. There’s a learning curve for me in figuring out a happy balance in all of this. Relaxed homeschooling does NOT lessen the need to be intentional in parenting, or in continuing to study my children to see how they learn best.
Wait! One more thing!
If you haven’t entered my Monsters University giveaway, hop on over and enter for your chance to win a $50 gift card and a fun movie!
Wife, mama, homeschooler, dog-wrangler. Introvert who finds joy in good books, sunshine, and authentic conversation. Fitness enthusiast and personal trainer. Often seen with a steaming mug of tea in hand.