Author Archive

Explorations in Nature Journaling

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When we started homeschooling and began to research the Charlotte Mason approach, I knew that nature study and nature journaling were going to be a big part of our homeschool life. Spending time outdoors, paying close attention to the amazing beauty around us and learning the names of our finds, and using art to record it all while also practicing handwriting… it seemed a perfect and important part of the experiential, hands-on curriculum I was forming.

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I gave Seth a small notebook to record his finds and we began paying more attention to the world around us. I was so excited for all that he’d learn from these experiences, but I had absolutely no idea how much I would get from it myself. I always loved art, and used to spend a significant amount of my free time as a child and teen painting and drawing. But along the way I got busy, and often frustrated by my efforts. I turned to the camera as my primary means of artistic expression. So when I pulled out my watercolors and purchased a little watercolor journal, I was mostly doing so to encourage Seth and sketch alongside him. But I fell in love. My prior frustration and perfectionism fell away because it was simply a field journal and didn’t have to be perfect. I was reminded why I’ve always loved to paint, and got excited about learning about the amazing creatures and plants surrounding us. The process of documenting our outdoor adventures has become so therapeutic for me and I look forward to that time spent with my paints and field guides and this little book. I’m doing it regardless of whether Seth is in the mood or not (because, as a five year old boy, he’s definitely not always in the mood), but I’m certain that my passion for it will rub off on him and his brother at least a bit. Already, they are asking for their paints and art supplies more frequently.

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My Materials

My sketchbook of choice: Strathmore Visual Journal 140lb
For more official paintings (which I’m doing much more of as a result of this love ignited by nature journaling), I love Arches Aquarelle blocks
I have been using the same very inexpensive set of tube walercolors that I’ve had since college, but I’m so excited to have just purchased this simple set from Winsor Newton. Learning to mix any color from just a few is one of the most important skills in watercolor. This set is wonderful because it’s small enough to go with me anywhere.
My brushes are a mix- some were my mom’s and could easily be older than me. When I purchase a new brush I like to do so in person rather than ordering online so I can see and feel it. My most-used brush at the moment is a size 3 round brush made by Grumbacher.
My pencils are all Faber-Castle but I’m really not very picky- any art pencils will do. My favorite pens are Micron- they are really amazing. I use the tiny 005 for details and fine lines, the 01 for slightly heavier lines, and the 03 for writing.
Field Guides: I love the laminated pocket guides made by Quick Reference Publishing (I found many at Barnes & Noble that are specific to our area.) We also have and love the Audubon Guide to Florida.

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My Process

I only sometimes sketch right there on the spot. I’d really like to do so more often, but my current season of life involves chasing a 2 year old, so I usually snap photos with my phone of things I want to journal later—along with collecting things like leaves, rocks, shells, and flowers to press.

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I start by sketching with pencil, getting the basic lines and shapes. I usually have a basic rough idea in my mind of how my page will end up, which items I want to draw, etc. I cross-reference my phone images with my field guides and often the internet as well, and in the process I learn interesting facts about each thing, it’s scientific name and common name, and those things go into the journal as well. When everything is done in pencil, I go over it with my micron pens and erase the pencil lines. Once in a while I’ll paint first and add in details with the pens later, but usually I prefer the prior method. When I’m painting, I begin with the lightest colors and then layer in the deeper ones.

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While at Wild & Free recently, one mama mentioned that her boys don’t have the patience for very much art journaling, but they love to recreate some of their nature finds with clay. I thought it was such a great idea, and definitely one I’d like to try!

We’ve been incorporating art in other ways as well, and my goal is to weave it into many different subjects. There are so many ways to tie art into science, geography, history, literature, and the list goes on. I really believe that they’ll learn more and internalize what they’re learning better if they exercise creativity while learning it. Seth always seems much more interested when we do. When we were discussing the the axial skeleton in science, he drew a skeleton (looking at a library book for reference) and labeled the bones we’d been talking about.

I will have to post an update soon, because already I’m seeing our methods shifting into something much more experiential and less workbook-based. And as a result, we’re both enjoying homeschool so much more!

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Battling anxiety with hope and oils

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I haven’t talked about it here yet, but if you follow me on instagram or are friends with me in person, you know that in June of this year—after over a year and a half of trying—I was pregnant. And then by the first week of July, I wasn’t. Losing a baby was something that I never expected. Always knew it to be a possibility, yes, but it’s something that can’t feel close and real until it actually happens to you. I always trusted my body completely in pregnancy and birth, and had very little fear surrounding that stage of life. So when I was hit so suddenly with the loss of our tiny baby at 8 weeks, it was a shock I could never have been prepared for. The emotional and physical pain was greater than I ever would have thought. Over the weeks that followed, the most intense pain of it dulled gradually. I stopped crying during diaper commercials (well, for the most part at least). But in place of that pain, anxiety had entered. I was on edge all the time. The boys would climb onto me and I felt like I couldn’t breathe; any type of crowd made me want to run far and fast; I worried over every little thing and couldn’t sleep at night—everything in life felt magnified and too heavy. It took me a while to realize that it had been spurred by my miscarriage. Through a conversation in a friend’s kitchen, it dawned on me how freaked out I was by the thought of getting pregnant again, while simultaneously wanting it more than anything. And so I began the work of trusting God and accepting that it’s out of my hands and in much more capable ones.

Around that time we received our starter kit of essential oils from Young Living. After hearing them recommended time after time for anxiety and depression, I decided to start using Valor and Joy daily- I dilute them 1:1 with a carrier oil in a little roller bottle, and roll just a little on my wrists, heart, and behind my ears once or twice a day. The difference I’ve felt has been amazing. The best way to explain it is that I feel balanced, and more grounded. I can breathe again, and life is still life, but I don’t constantly feel like it’s more than I can bear.

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So I’m clinging to hope, trusting in things I can’t see, and so thankful to have these wonderful, completely natural tools to help me heal. I will never stop being sad when I think about the baby we lost, but I know that we are okay, and that we’ll have another baby when we’re meant to. For now, I am feeling better, and that feels freakin awesome.

Wild + Free | Saving Sisterhood

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On Friday of last week, I hopped on a plane to Virginia Beach to spend the weekend with over 100 beautiful women who are dedicated to raising our kids with love and intention. Wild and Free is a homeschooling conference, but even more so it is a retreat aimed at fostering true sisterhood among mothers and refreshing us for the coming year teaching and raising our kids.

There was an incredible lineup of speakers who inspired and encouraged us throughout the weekend. I’ve followed many of them on Instagram for some time, so meeting these amazing ladies in person was a little bit like meeting celebrities, only much more exciting. But despite their fame in the blogging IG moms community, these were real, relatable women. This made me love them each even more. The real-life friendships I formed this weekend are ones I am so very thankful for. There was laughter and tears and late-night talks and long hugs. These girls just get it, and that can be so rare. I came away wishing so much that I’d been a little braver and started more conversations, connected with more new faces- but there is only so much time, and the ones I did meet were truly awesome. (Like this girl, Tara—this is us at the beach on the last day. She seriously rocks.)

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I wish I could share every nugget of wisdom, every takeaway. I took a lot of notes.
Joy is gratitude/giving/getting back up (Naomi), sisterhood is worth saving (Kelsey), say no to the rest so I can start saying yes to the best (Tiffany)… these thoughts only scratch the surface. It was good.

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I am already looking forward to next year. I’m making it a priority, financially and logistically, because this weekend fed a very hungry part of my soul. I came home refreshed and more ready to pour into my kids, and with new friends to stay in touch with and share encouragement with throughout the year. Of course motherhood still brings it’s daily challenges, but I feel like I’ve added a few more tools to aid in those days.

I really hope to see some of you there next year.

Homeschooling: the first few weeks

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It’s been almost four weeks since we started homeschooling, which seems so crazy to me. Parenting makes time go by quickly, but it seems even faster now. Our normal days don’t feel rushed or overly complicated; we’re able to take time to just be. That part is really good. It was important to me from the start of this journey, to give room for slowness and create an environment of simplicity. I feel like kids will learn more, naturally, if they are not rushed around in a flurry of scheduled activities. When we do add those in, we’ll do so very intentionally. My sense of being busy right comes mostly from work and learning to balance working from home with teaching at home. I’m taking it one day at a time, managing my time, prioritizing my family, and recognizing daily that I cannot do this on my own strength. There have been so many little things that have affirmed that we’re on the right path, and for that I’m so thankful.

Right now, our only weekly commitment is CC (Classical Conversations), which has been so much more a blessing than I ever expected. Our group is so diverse, with families in basically every different stage and philosophy. The backbone of it—the classical education model—makes so much sense. Seth is making new friends (who are such respectful, kind kids), and he’s constantly asking me if it’s Tuesday yet- even on Wednesdays.

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We have definitely had bumps in the road. Most days have tested my patience considerably. (Though not more so than all of our days during the summer. Being on my own for 12 hours with 2- and 5-year old boys is exhausting!) My friend Tiffany always refers to homeschooling as “parenting on steroids” and I have to 100% agree. You’re in the thick of it all day, every day. But the rewards—the connections with your kids, the knowledge that you’re pouring into them in such a real way, the act of learning and exploring together—are simply the best.

Seth was pretty resistant to “doing school” for the first weeks, and only very recently has gotten more into it. We added the Explode the Code phonics workbook, and it’s working beautifully for him. Each lesson has a page that involves reading full (simple) sentences, and he always wants to skip ahead to that part. His pride in being able to read them on his own is so awesome to see and gets me excited to be on this journey. I’m learning to gauge what works best for him. We have to do formal learning first thing in the morning, and he only lasts so long. I noticed very early on to watch for his cues that he can’t sit any longer, and stop then before either of us have a chance to get frustrated.

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My favorite things so far have been reading to them aloud and doing nature walks/keeping a nature journal (which has really taken on a life of its own for me- I’ll do a post about it soon). I think we’re finding a rhythm of sorts. I don’t expect it to ever be easy (it is parenting, after all), but I do think we’ll find a bit more balance. It’s becoming our new normal. I’m so excited for what lies ahead.

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Lavender Lemonade

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Lavender Lemonade

7 lemons, juiced
2 limes, juiced
1 drop lavender oil
14 cups water
1-1/2 cup organic agave nectar

Mix all ingredients together and chill.
Add more water or agave, depending on the size and tartness of the fruit.
Be careful that you don’t add more than a drop of lavender oil so that it does not overpower your lemonade.

My friend Sondra and I served this at the first oils class we taught last month and everyone loved it! I’ve made it at home since then and it’s the perfect refreshing, relaxing drink for a weekend afternoon!

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***  Any suggestions made on this blog are very specific to Young Living essential oils and should not be used with oils from another source. Statements made on this website about Young Living Essential Oils have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products and information are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Anyone suffering from disease or injury should consult with a physician. If you are currently on medication, please DO NOT STOP. This is just how I make & do things. you must make informed decision for yourself and your own family. 

“We are starting our journey with Essential Oils and have done our own research on the purity of oils.  I am confident in using oils in our recipes because we only use Young Living.  They are  beyond organic and never use pesticides, herbicides or any harmful chemicals. Their soil has never been exposed to them as well.  I don’t suggest ever using any other oil for ingestion because I don’t know of their purity. “

Natural Healing + Essential Oils

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One of my goals for this year was to replace more of our medicine cabinet with natural alternatives. For years now we’ve used homeopathy, herbal supplements, and other natural remedies to treat various ailments, but we still frequently turned to OTC medicines and I loathed every single time the boys were put on antibiotics. I also wanted to dive deeper into treating my autoimmune issues (and the host of symptoms it causes) naturally.

I’d always been curious about essential oils, and even had a handful of them from the health food store that I used to make cleaning products and such. I’d heard of using them medicinally but I knew so little about it. I figured the benefits were mainly in the aromatherapy aspect, but I didn’t realize how powerful they could be beyond smelling good! Then my best friend started using Young Living oils and her excitement about them was enough to get me to finally look into it. We purchased a starter kit, and within a week of receiving it my husband and I were both completely on board.

Before my introduction to the world of therapeutic grade oils (which are so very different from the brands you’ll find at Whole Foods), I had absolutely no idea what a wide range of things they can be used for. We use them topically, diffused into the air, and occasionally internally*—for cuts, burns, bites, sore muscles, headaches, immunity, fevers, coughs, congestion, hormone balance, stomach aches… that’s seriously only scratching the surface. I hear testimonials every day about amazing results people are experiencing with everything from everyday issues to truly serious health problems. EO’s support the body’s natural ability to heal itself, and I just love that.
And honestly: they do smell really good!

I recently decided to begin sharing more about how we use our oils and what’s worked for us so far, and hopefully start a conversation with others on this journey. Find out more here.

*Any suggestions made on this blog are very specific to Young Living essential oils and should not be used with oils from another source. Statements made on this website about Young Living Essential Oils have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products and information are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Anyone suffering from disease or injury should consult with a physician. If you are currently on medication, please DO NOT STOP.

Lavender & Almond Skin Cleanser

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I’ve tried a ton of different skincare options over the years. It started when I was about 10 and my mom was selling Mary Kay products, and on and on from there. I’ve been careful about ingredients since my early twenties- mostly buying from health food stores and avoiding harsh chemicals. But I’ve never found something I 100% loved. I’ve tried everything from extremely overpriced department store cleansing milks, to raw honey (it gave me a rash). I used only coconut oil for a while, but came to the conclusion that for my particular skin, it’s better as a once-in-a-while treatment rather than a daily ritual. When it comes to store-bought, LUSH’s Angels on Bare Skin cleanser has been my favorite, but there was still something a little off about it, so I decided to try making it myself, with complete control over the ingredients. I made my first batch several months ago, and I absolutely love this stuff. It’s the perfect combination of moisture and gentle exfoliant, with clay to draw out impurities.

The recipe:

a heaping 1/4 cup of almond flour
4 tsp clay (I use Redmond, but I’m curious about green clay and may try it in the future.)
1 Tbsp vegetable glycerin
7 drops pure lavender essential oil (I only use Young Living; I’ve noticed such a difference since switching from store bought oils)
4 tsp water
1 tsp organic dried lavender

Mix the almond flour and clay together in a bowl. Then add glycerine, water, and lavender oil. Mix together well (I like to use a silicone spatula to sort of knead it against the side of the bowl.) Scrape together and roll in hands to form a ball. Store in a lidded container. To use, pinch off just a tiny bit and mix it with water in your hand, rub into face, and rinse clean. Follow with your favorite moisturizer if needed.

The Plan: homeschool journey part two

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Ever since announcing our decision to homeschool, so many other parents have expressed a desire to do the same, or at least a curiosity about the whole thing. It’s been pretty awesome to see so many people choosing to educate their children at home. Homeschooling is definitely gaining popularity and becoming a much more “normal” thing to do. The stigmas and misinformation about it are thankfully (gradually) disappearing as well. I’ve been asked about curriculum and materials more than anything else, so I thought I’d share a bit about what we’re planning to do.

As I began to research the “how” of teaching my kids, I found a wonderfully diverse range of philosophies and approaches. One of the very best aspects of homeschooling is that you have the freedom to choose only what works for your family and each individual child, and to change at any point according to their needs. Some families choose one of the many boxed curriculums, with textbooks, workbooks, and lessons plans ready-to-go for each subject and each grade. On the other end of the spectrum, some choose to “unschool”, using no (or very few) formal teaching materials, but rather allowing real life experiences to teach and the child’s own interests to guide them. I knew early on that I would fall somewhere in between. I wanted instruction that fit my kids’ personalities and learning styles, along with generous bits of the unschooling life. I read about various educational philosophies—Maria Montessori, Reggio Emilia, classical education, Charlotte Mason, and many others. I decided to take what works for us from each rather than following any one of them completely. For Seth this year, some of our plan is based on the Charlotte Mason method. She believed in teaching through “living books” and spending a very good deal of time in nature, both of which I love. You can read more about her methods here, and several of aspects of our plan are from CM curriculums found on Ambleside Online and Charlotte Mason Help. Another large part of our homeschool plan is Classical Conversations. I knew from the very first moment of seriously considering homeschool that if we chose to do it, we had to join a group. Seth is a very social child, and thrives on spending time with other kids. He is not even the slightest bit shy, and will go up to any child of practically any age on playground, and ask them to play. If we spend too much time at home without seeing friends, he gets restless and acts out, and then I react, and he reacts to me, etc. Not to mention the bickering with his little brother, which of course I react to as well. It’s not pretty. So a group was a must for us, and I knew several homeschoolers who were involved with Classical Conversations (referred to from now on as CC). I read a bit about the classical model of education (The Well-Trained Mind is a great resource for this), and attended an informational meeting about CC. We decided to try it out this year. We’ll spend each Tuesday morning with the group, basically working through a timeline of history. There is memory work (which we’ll also review at home), and each weekly class includes a science experiment and a fine art lesson. I hear that families in the group often arrange field trips together on other days as well. I’m definitely looking forward to being part of this community, and I know that Seth will enjoy it. We also have a few close friends starting homeschool this year, with kids of similar ages, and we’re planning to help one another and do projects and outings together frequently. I believe in the “village” model of raising children, and I’m convinced that it will be key to our success and happiness in our new homeschooling lifestyle. (side note: a great article I read recently about the village)

So for those interested, this is my basic plan. It is probably going to change and evolve throughout the year. In kindergarten, they are still learning so much through play. Some philosophies instruct parents and teachers not to push a five or six year old into formal reading or math instruction quite yet, but to wait until they come to you asking to learn these. We’ve decided to start (he has already asked me to teach him to read), but we don’t plan to push him if he doesn’t seem ready either. This year will be a lot of learning as we go, but I wanted to have a starting structure of some kind, so here we go!

 

Our Kindergarten Homeschooling Plan

 

Classical Conversations: as I mentioned above, we’ll attend this group once a week. I’m still figuring out how the program will fit into our everyday life, and will probably have a better idea of this once we get started. I expect that we’ll review the weekly memory work somewhat casually throughout the week- there are songs that help them learn the material in a fun way.

Math: We chose the Math-U-See curriculum because it seems to be well-loved and pretty hands-on. Many parents reviewing it online said that using this program with their kids helps them (the parents) understand certain concepts clearly for the first time ever, especially in the older grades. I was always more of an art, language, and history type, so this sounds great to me.

Reading and Phonics: A friend gave me a copy of Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, which many families love, so we’re going to see if it works well for Seth. I wanted to supplement this with phonics, so he’s been working through the Hooked On Phonics app on the iPad. We may add more phonics resources later, but it’s a wonderful (and massive!) app and he’s really enjoying it.

Handwriting: We’ll do Charlotte Mason-style copywork, starting with going through the alphabet in upper and lower case (he did this in preschool but I want to review it), and then moving on to copying out short poems, etc.

Art & Music: This is, of course, one of the things I’m most looking forward to. In CC they do visual art lessons half the year, and then learn to play tin whistles during the other half. On other days, I plan to incorporate a lot of art into our lives. The boys already enjoy painting and drawing, but I want introduce various new materials (clay, pastels, etc.) We’ll talk about and experience the work of famous artists and composers, and probably choose projects that tie in with that. Pinterest is full of wonderful art ideas, so I know it will be a valuable resource.

Foreign language: My husband’s family is Cuban, most of them fluent in Spanish. My mother-in-law will be helping us learn to speak it, and we’ll work on it together at home in between). It’s been a goal of mine for quite some time now, and I’m excited to learn alongside my kids. It’s already clear that their pronunciation will be more authentic than mine!

Science: A huge part of our science work will be just spending time outdoors- hopefully every day- and doing what Charlotte Mason referred to as “nature study”. Allowing children to explore and notice the details teaches them so much about the world. I’ve purchased laminated pocket field guides as well as a larger Audubon guide to Florida wildlife, to help us identify what we see. Seth and I have little sketchbooks which will serve as nature journals, to sketch and record our discoveries and collect pressed flowers, etc. We’ll also study science in somewhat informal “units”, based on interest. For instance, my husband loves astronomy and this has rubbed off on Seth, so we’ll spend some time learning in-depth about space, searching the library for books and documentaries, going on a field trip to a planetarium, taking the telescope out to a field at night, etc. Other units this year might include weather, or specific animals of interest, etc. For now, I won’t plan these in advance but will choose them together as we go along.

Literature and Poetry: We will spend time every day reading aloud- I think this is one of the most important aspects of any homeschool. We’ve built a small collection of staples for the home, including Aesop’s Fables, a Mother Goose collection, A Child’s Garden of Verses, and a collection of classic fairy tales. Much of other material will come from our weekly library trips. I’ll use Ambleside’s recommended book list as a guide, because it’s full of wonderful classics that I want the kids to be exposed to anyway. I’ll ask Seth to tell stories back to me in his own words, and sometimes draw a scene from what we read (CM refers to this as narration). We will likely use some of our poems as copywork as we go along.

Life Skills and Family Values: Another thing that is so important to me is that my kids learn to help maintain our home and carry out daily age-appropriate responsibilities, help care for the garden, and learn useful real-life skills as they grow. Kind of like nonstop home-ec class ;) We’ll also read from the Bible together daily, memorize a short verse each week, and look for ways to help others and give to our community.

After typing all of this out, it seems like a lot. I have no idea if we’ll find it’s way too structured, or not enough. As I said, I’m sure we’ll make adjustments as we go.

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For keeping track of it all, as well as to have a record of what we did, I wanted some kind of planner. Kristin Rogers’ Little House Homeschooling blog has been a great source of information and inspiration to me, and she so generously provided a PDF download of her basic homeschool planning pages. I customized this according to our subjects, etc. (shown above), and added some pages of my own in the back (some lines pages fro recording the books we read and the special trips and activities we do, an outline of all our planned resources/curriculum). The chalkboard quote cover page (photo at top of post), as well as several reference pages printed in the back of the book, are from A Simple Homeschool Planner. I made the whole thing into a PDF with 50 of the weekly planning pages, and had it printed at FedEx Office for about $25.

As for Isaac, who turned 2 in March, we will sort of be doing preschool at home. He’ll be around for so much of what we do with Seth- music and art, stories read aloud, nature study, etc. I plan to prepare some basic activities and materials specifically for him, based on Montessori and Reggio Emilia philosophies. I love “real” materials: non-plastic, tangible items: wood, stone, and cloth; small but functional tools to learn to carry out actual tasks with, etc. There are so many awesome Montessori activities in this book, which I found at the library and immediately decided to purchase.

And finally, some of my favorite sources of homeschool inspiration:

The Little House Homeschool Blog
Simple Homeschool
The Wild & Free Conference

And some awesome homeschool moms on Instagram:

@tiffanyruda
@lifeographer
@ainsl3y
@woodsermom
@cloisteredaway
@kirstenrickert
@kristinrogers

 

 

Starting Here | homeschool journey part one

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I’ll admit that I put off writing this post because I just feel completely unqualified to write anything about homeschooling at this point. But so many people have asked questions since we made the decision to homeschool our kids, so I’ve decided to share my journey with you in real time, and you can learn along with me, okay?

Seth is five and has been in a small church-based preschool for the past two years. All along, we were planning to send him to public school- either the one we’re zoned for (which is an excellent school, as public schools go) or a local charter I’ve heard good things about. But this past year in the VPK program, they began to spend quite a lot more time with worksheets and desk work, and with that increase Seth started to get in trouble for talking and being silly. He began to ask if he could stay home, and declared a keen dislike for tracing letters and coloring. He even once told me that he really doesn’t like “all the learning stuff” at school, and wants to just play with his friends. It was heartbreaking to see him already, at age 4, not wanting to go to school and thinking that he just doesn’t enjoy learning, based on his preschool experiences. I dreaded the fact that kindergarten was sure to up the ante on all the parts that were turning him off, and most likely would also make it even harder for him to conform behaviorally. Growing up in public schools, I remember many kids—so many of them energetic boys like my son—who were highly intelligent but were constantly in trouble and as we got older simply stopped caring about school altogether. I was also unpleasantly surprised at some words and mannerisms that Seth had already started pick up from the other kids. While I by no means wish to raise my kids in a bubble, and I know that I can’t shelter them from every negative influence, I have serious problems with having so little control or knowledge of what my kid is exposed to throughout the day. And with my own experiences of how kids treat each other, what they talk about, and how very much goes on under the adults’ radar, even during elementary school- I couldn’t shake the feeling that we were about to send him off and allow him to be primarily shaped and influenced by the rest of the world rather than us. The more I thought all of this over and discussed it with Manny, the more certain I was that I had to find another way to educate our children.

Homeschool was always in the back of mind, but I’d convinced myself that I simply could not make it work. I couldn’t picture the day-to-day life of running a business and a home working with teaching the kids myself and having them home all day every day. But I began to research and read, and found that many homeschooling moms work at home, and that especially in the early years, the actual time needed to sit down and instruct them is minimal. It began to feel doable, and I knew that it was just the right choice for our family. I realized that rather than a hindrance, my job is a blessing in that I can work at home and be here with the kids, with shoots in the evenings and weekends. And there are so many parents who even make homeschooling work with full-time jobs outside that home, because it is just that important to them. I saw that so much of it comes down to priorities.

No it will not be easy. Yes I will have to be pretty disciplined and organized to keep up with everything. Yes I will need help, and am eternally grateful for my support system of husband, family, and some close friends who will also be homeschooling. It will probably be crazy sometimes (lets be real- life around here is already crazy!) But it is simply too important for me to not to do my best to make it happen. Homeschooling aligns perfectly with so many of the key principles of my parenting philosophy. Being with them and learning with them each day, growing a garden together, teaching them to cook, spending time outside, allowing everything we experience to teach us—that is irreplaceable.

I have talked to a lot of homeschooling moms over the last few months, and while they all agree that it isn’t always easy, each and every one has said that they have never regretted their decision to homeschool.

So here we go!

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