Friday, December 3, 2021

Hacks to Homeschool Happier




Rule to Remember: It does not have to be a drag.

In fact, learning at home can be joyful and rewarding and create moments, habits and a way of looking at the world that last a lifetime. Our homeschool days were always a mix of formal and carefree. I guided the younger children more and trusted that the older one grew, the easier it became to discover what was interesting or important enough to pursue. 

I need to rephrase that; the younger ones had a regular rhythm of meals, play, read-alouds, naps and bedtime, but we did not pursue anything academic at an early age, (unless you count the year I attempted to do an at-home-after-school boxed French curriculum each afternoon after kindergarten-disaster).

We drew, played with play dough, read stories, visited the library, local museums, painted, dressed up, sang songs and baked stuff. It is not merely enough, it feeds a child's mind and being in the most age-appropriate way by honoring this unique stage in life called childhood.

I was never enthused enough about one formal curriculum in particular to use it in a systematic way. We might begin with one and take it back up again after a period of following a particular interest down all rabbit holes.  Mainly I utilized Waldorf Essentials as a guide to the grades and adapted lessons to our family. We had a lot of walks in the woods and a weekly park day. It was never a nightmare of minute-by-minute attention to detail affair. I listen to myself and to my children and WE THRIVE!

Accompanying your child in their education requires attention to the child and care for your well-being because you are it. However, we are not a universe unto our own person, we live in an inter-connected cosmos of humans with whom we can and should interact for the benefit of all. This is not an indiscriminate statement. Choose friends wisely, but accept a trusted hand held out to you and let your kids spend time with others while you get work done, paint, knit, read a book, take a walk or meditate. It is OK to have time alone or out with friends. You will come back a happier, better mama. 

A reliable rhythm and temperament is more important to a child than a rigid curriculum. Yes, you have to plan for this, and yes, there are days when it will all fall apart, but your job is to pick it back up and carry on the next day, the next week, the next time everyone is over the stomach flu or The Virus, or the cast is off again. 

You know that I know that it might be all seven of you vomiting at the same time one night and fine the next, or a series of bad colds, passed from one small, sad kid to another, stringing out your time out for the count over a month. This is when the library drive-up window comes in really handy. As do frozen pizzas, movie afternoons and audio books you can listen to together. It cannot be all Waldorf all the time. We do our best.


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