Saturday, 29 June 2013

Looking forward to the year ahead

The last of the spring activities has come and gone now.  Ball equipment has been moved out of our mudroom, with the exception of a sole ball and glove in each child's cubby hole.  We've had a few days now to catch our breath.  I take a deep exhale and feel my shoulder blades ease their way down my back.  We have a lazy long weekend ahead of us.  And I'm loving the quiet moments here now as my children play at the playground with their father.  Oh, it's been awhile since I've had the house entirely to myself.  Loving it.

We've had a great year together, in this first year of homeschooling, and I find my mind wandering back to what we've done and where we'll go next year.  Oh, there were moments when I was low on energy and not at my best.  There were times when I wondered if this was the best decision for my family.  The children did some great projects and we met some amazing people.  I feel blessed to have had such an intimate seat to witness my children's learning from.

And now I turn my attention toward next year, for I'm happy to say the overwhelming majority chose to continue on this homeschooling path!  I'm looking forward to adding more rhythm to our days, as I found it difficult to navigate our days, especially in the last several months.  To do this, I plan to take the time to organize our days, weeks, and months in advance.  Nothing specific like, "we will learn about birds on the 15th of September".  But I will make sure that all of us are aware of the field trips, errands, activities, and other items that fill our calendar so quickly.  I will carve out spaces in our calendar for things that are important to us...project time, time outside, empty time where my children can simply grab an idea or a whim and let it take them on an adventure of the loud or quiet variety.  While this may sound overly restrictive, my intent is to provide some predictability to our days.  To provide a rhythm that we can move through our days to.  To bring about a sense of peace when it often seems that we are wobbling on a tightrope and are about to fall into chaos.

And perhaps this summer can be our practice time for developing a rhythm that works for us.  Because right now, our calendar feels gloriously empty.  We have the space to build our days from the ground up.  I have the freedom to exert discipline on myself to hold sacred the rhythm we create.  I'll be spending some lazy days reading and re-reading some books to focus myself (Simplicity Parenting, Project-Based Homeschooling, Rhythm of Family, Seven Times the Sun, All Year Round, Heaven on Earth).  I'll play around with some schedules to see how they look.  I'll start gathering materials now, and also schedule in time for gathering later.  I'll do a better job recording what topics my children seem to be enjoying and get some feedback on what they want to learn.  I'll start researching resources and projects now so that I don't feel drained when we wrap up one topic and are moving onto the next.

Even with all this organization, which I admit sounds a little too hyper-organized on paper, I will remind myself to keep flexible.  I'll remind myself to pause and re-look at our education plan to make sure we're keeping with the philosophy we aspire to.  I'll remind myself to listen to my children and their needs.  And I'll remind myself to listen to my own inner voice, and give myself the space I need to give my children the best of me.

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