It has been a whirlwind in our home lately, and I’ve had so much on my plate I’ve taken a break from writing anything on here. It’s been refreshing in a way. We’re working on replacing the exterior of our home (due to hail damage) – siding, roof, windows, garage door, and deck. Thankfully, our home insurance came through and is covering everything so far.
Most exciting for me is that thanks to a bit of a windfall, we’ve suddenly had the funds to redo our slowly deteriorating kitchen – deteriorating thanks to the previous owners using low quality supplies. I’ve chosen new cupboards, new counters, and we’re looking at a new sliding door for our deck … it’s been amazing because I’ve had such a feeling of embarrassment every time we have people in our home, and I’ve hated it so much, yet felt like we can’t get out from under it. Suddenly, I don’t have this overwhelming urge to move out of a house that I’ve felt like is a money pit. I’ll post some before and after pictures soon.
As for our homeschooling, I’ve really been making an effort to shift my attitude. The idea with homeschooling is not to create school at home. It’s impossible to duplicate the school experience and home – and it’s exhausting trying to. As Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer write in The Well-Trained Mind; “… your aim is education, not the duplication of an institution.” Part of the beauty of homeschooling is “the freedom to tailor an academic program to your child’s particular interests and needs, strengths and struggles …” I’d been working so hard to make sure that lesson plans get written (which is a sanity thing for me as I’m a planner), and that every single lesson is covered, that I’m worn out. Lately we’ve felt like we’re spinning our wheels – and our frustration level is growing. I want us to enjoy our time together – not just learn, learn, learn. It’s easy to forget that children learn best through play, through experiencing the world. It’s hard to take the pressure off of myself and be OK with letting them play.
So, while we’re still doing lessons, I’m learning to be accepting with not all of them getting done every day (after all, it’s not like it happens in the school, either). I’m learning to be okay with finding alternate ways of teaching my girls – with games, and fun; and much less yelling from mom and tears from one of us. I’m calling it our “Kitchen-Table school” after a chapter in The Well-Trained Mind with the same title.
I guess it’s all about learning to breathe, relax, be flexible, and remember that as my child’s parent, I am the best teacher they can have. And best of all, I have the freedom to teach them practical skills as well as academic, I am their model, their guide, their teacher, and, I hope, their friend.