Wednesday, October 26, 2011

From the learning rooms...

“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy,
excitement and mystery of the world we live in.”
~ Rachel Carson

This homeschooling thing that we do continues to be a work in progress, despite the fact that we have never not done it.  As I've alluded to in previous posts however (see here and here), I still struggle with how to define how we do things.  I'm not sure why I have this need to put a label on our style.  

I guess it helps to have a nice, compact answer to give when questioned by the cashier at Hobby Lobby as to why my kids are accompanying me in the middle of the day.  

The honest answer would really be that I hadn't given it a moment's thought that it was 1:00 and why wouldn't I have my kids with me?  They are pretty much always with me because we are busy living life whether it be at home learning about line graphs or waiting in line somewhere and talking about what patience actually looks like or studying a mural at the Capitol building because that is one of our favorite places in this town or walking our dog around the lake or...

But people don't want to hear that. 

That doesn't fit in with their understanding of school aged children or how learning actually takes place and really, wouldn't I rather kiss my kids goodbye each morning, sigh a big sigh and enjoy that second cup of coffee

And the honest answer to that question, even on my absolute worse days, is truly...


Because, as another year unfolds and I watch my children grow into these new and interesting people who are absolutely fasincating, I'm desperately afraid that I will miss something.  I'm already painfully aware of the way time seems to gain speed the older I get. I don't want to hand over the amazing privilege of being the purveyor of precious time to someone else.  I think I will stay steadfastly stubborn on this one.

And so, in the interest of wasting any more moments of my "wild and precious life" I am going to stop trying to define our approach and, instead, try to refine my approach.   If it is true that my children need my companionship in order to keep their inborn sense of wonder alive, well then...I think I will focus on relationship. 

I will prioritize peace and patience over lesson plans and pages read. 

I will introduce skills and tools to be learned in a context that focuses on their helpfulness in the bigger world and in achieving personal goals as opposed to within an arbitrary scope and sequence outline that says kids of a certain age should be learning said skills and tools. 

I will stop spending so much time on the chair that is situated in front of the computer and more time on the cushion next to them, having conversations about anything and everything because all of it is important, for one reason or another.

I will listen to the millionth joke from Boys' Life magazine because  I realize that there are a lot of "th"s and "sh"s in them and that is something they need to practice.

I will sit next to them at the table while they do their math problems (one of the few "formal" things we do most days) because I understand that sometimes it just feels better to have someone close and when you feel better, you can think more clearly.

I will keep coming up with new desserts to eat while we drink our tea and hot chocolate and I will laugh out loud at the silly nonsense of Edward Lear.

And most of all, I will just breathe.

Because really, in the end, all we really need is

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