We now have a few days under our belt with homeschooling and it has gone well, but trust me, I know this is going to be hard. I know there are unimagined, unforeseen challenges up the road. I know there will be days that make me want to pull my hair out. But please, let me have my joy.
And trust me, there is no other way to explain the feeling I’m feeling, than to call it joy.
Having Theo home and becoming so intentional about how we are spending our days together has really changed me. This feels right. Jesus talked a lot about knowing things by their fruit in the NT, and the good fruit that has come out of just a few days of being home together has been confirmation to my head and my heart that we are on the right track.
We still have a lot to figure out, and as with all things in motherhood, I know that as soon as we “nail down” one thing, another issue will pop up. Motherhood is a constant exercise in humility. But that is also why there is so much room for growth! As I mentioned last week, I’m celebrating the fact that I’m in over my head and that I feel so far outside of my comfort zone. I’m celebrating that I don’t know everything.
Because this has been and will continue to be a gigantic leap of faith. We are asking God to do something great, and trusting that where our abilities falter, his begin. It is not faith if we have it all figured out. And it is not faith if we try to do it all on our own.
I can’t, and I don’t want to. And that admission leaves me feeling so incredibly free.
I believe I can fly….I believe I can touch the sky….take it away, Whitney!
Anyways, I thought you might be interested to read some of our goals and plans for homeschooling the remainder of the year. I’ll try to answer some of the questions that you’ve thrown my way on social media, but keep them coming! I love the idea that we are all in this together, bouncing ideas off of one another and inspiring each other with new and fresh ideas.
So here’s the deal.
My motto right now is to maintain a structured but simple schedule. This means no to-do lists of 10 items, I’ll never accomplish that. This means I can’t fill my day with a bunch of errands, that will just make me grumpy and frazzled. This means only having one defined goal for Theo each day, with a schedule that takes into consideration the two little ones. This means a lot of planning meals, errands, and blog posts in advance. This means freeing up the schedule, but sticking to a schedule.
Our goals for Theo are broad, with the intent of first instilling in him a love and interest in learning, playing, and reading. I’m a huge believer that learning must first and foremost be built on a strong foundation of reading. For the remainder of this year, if we do nothing more than focus on reading, enjoying reading, and talking about what we are reading then I will consider our time together a success.
Here are our goals for Theo for this year:
get outside every day // be active
see friends once a week
one “field trip” a week (library, nature center, walking path, etc)
listen to music. lots of music.
read and narrate reading every day
create artwork based on the day’s reading and narration
discover new points of interest, that we can use to facilitate learning in years to come
play, cultivate a love of reading, and “reset” after an over-stimulating school experience
(no curriculum at this point)
Collectively, I’ll be working with the kids on listening, following instructions, and how to play and have fun while still respecting their physical home. This means we will be doing the tedious work of constantly stopping what we are doing to pick up, explain boundaries, and modify behavior. One thing I noticed these past few months while Theo was in school is that the schedule didn’t allow for us to “parent” like we needed to parent. Theo was gone all day, then he would come home in the rush of Dad also coming home, dinner prep, dinner time, and then before we knew it, bedtime. There was so little time for the instruction that these little people desperately need. We were constantly disciplining without actually teaching Theo what was wrong about his behavior, what his behavior should look like, and why.
Yes, I reinstated “blanket time.” The boys bicker so badly, and Theo shines brightest when he has a physical boundary with as little stimuli as possible. So, for some structured free time play, I lay out two blankets, one for each boy, place the basket of wooden toys between them and tell them to have at it. The only rule is that they have to stay on their blanket. It does take some training, much like a puppy (wink), but I’m tell you, it works. Sometimes we speak in such abstract terms and forget that our kids are literally new humans. The blankets help give them a visual and physical boundary to help them understand what you want them to do. The boys tend to play quieter during blanket time than if they were just running around, getting wound up and into trouble. My goal is always 30-45 minutes of blanket time, which at this point is totally achievable. And before you say that your kids would never do this, let me remind you that I have the little boys that are more hyena than child, so yeah, I know it will take work, but it’s possible. You just have to hang in there. It requires constantly putting wandering
puppies children back on their blanket until they get it: “Oh. She means it. I’m really supposed to stay put.”
I also wanted to give Theo a daily responsibility that spoke to something he already enjoys and is gifted in. Since a young age, Theo has been in the kitchen with me and loves to help me cook. So, now, Theo will be responsible for helping with lunch. He is more than capable of smearing his own PB&J and I’ve had him making his own sandwiches for over a year now. It will be his job to make his own sandwich if that is what is on the menu, or assist me in making something else. He will help me prepare lunch for his brother and sister, as well as help serve and clean up. Theo takes so much pride in helping me in the kitchen, and I greatly enjoy my little sous chef. I’m excited to see where this new responsibility will take him.
My personal goals:
organization. Everything from menus to blogging to homeschooling
when Theo reads, we all read
when the kids are inquisitive about something, allow that to be a natural educational moment
physical activity with the kids every day (of any kind, for any duration)
continue reading about Charlotte Mason and the un-schooling approach