Well, now that all the reveries into past and future are done, it's time to be fully in the present. And in the present we are. It seems that all the activities that we were on hiatus from for a month are now knocking on the door. Plus a few new ones have been added to the mix. I almost cringed as I turned the weekly calendar page, as we went from a week with very few markings to many. On paper, it looks like bodies are moving in all directions.
In the fall, I felt like our pace of life was pretty reasonable, and I'm scratching my head as to why things feel so hectic now. In truth, both children are only doing one more activity than they did in the fall, and they are doing it together at the same time and in the same place. Perhaps it is because we have notices of new events entering our inbox more often and find ourselves torn but ultimately saying "no" to more - just the act of saying "no" signals that we are tapped out or short on time. Perhaps it is because we've needed to figure out what we're doing in the spring at the same time that we're registering for activities for the winter. Perhaps it is the extras that have hit the calendar - like Scouting camps and activities, a trip to visit relatives, clubs that meet occasionally. Or maybe this is just how it always feels when returning to the fray after blissfully empty moments of time during the holidays.
As I was perusing my reading list, I was struck by the timeliness of an article from the author of Project-Based Homeschooling. It discusses the huge value of granting a child (or an adult, for that matter) time to dive deeply into a given topic. One of the reasons my son was dissatisfied with his school experience was because he was often being dragged away from following his intense, passionate interests. As I imagined a hectic winter, I was only focused on how it impacted me. I didn't even consider how it would be impacting the children.
So here we are, half a year into our rookie year. I'm again mindful of my ongoing shaky walk to cover all aspects of balance in providing an environment for an enriching learning experience - balance between learning some fundamentals (math and language arts) and giving the children room to follow their interests; balance between learning from me and learning from other experts in our community; balance between private time and time with others. And now this very timely article sends another spiral of questions my way. If I give them time to explore a topic and they don't really use it to deep dive (but would prefer to use it to fight with one another), how do I right the ship? Am I, indeed, giving them enough time? Should I be looking for something tangible at the end of a dive, or during a dive? How can I tell the difference between the "book" facts and "made-up" facts that my children share with me, and gently ask my children to consider the sources of their information?
I don't have any answers now. I do know that I will strive to protect and honour my children's free time. I will listen to my gut, for it often a reliable compass. I will trust that my children are experts at learning and they will follow their passions. I will accept that how they go about following their interests may look different that my preconceived notions. I will be gentle and accepting of all of us.