We are approaching the final run of our academic year. Our pile of books we’ve plowed through is dwindling. The finish line is in view. The convention is fast approaching and so it is time for me to plan our next school year. Last year was ever so easy to plan. Mostly, we just moved on to the next grade level. Wonderful and easy…all of my ducks were in a row.
So, naturally, it all just fell apart.
The same math that flung concepts too quickly at Sparkles ended up boring Middle Boy to tears. Littlest’s preschool experience was
less than stellar. These were not just curriculum struggles but also the beginnings of my own ideological shift. A shift so seismic that it affected how I see education, marriage, family, friendship and my faith. Oh, and throw in a move and a weird antihistamine addiction too. I consider the move a positive experience and a physical representation of the shift that happened within me.
Now, the antihistamine addiction is just weird and I know it isn’t that big a deal. But it did affect me. I spoke to my mother this week and asked her how my uncle, who was struggling with
cancer, was doing. She hadn’t talked about him in a while. Turns out he had died! I have no memory of the event but my husband does remember me telling him all about it. His death occurred while I was enduring the withdrawal symptoms. What else have I forgotten?
Reality seems a bit surreal at the moment.
We’re still dealing with the aftershocks of my shift. I’ve always been the one to make sure we go to church. To teach the kids about Jesus and have them read the Bible. Teaching the faith has always been my responsibility. We dropped Biblical studies from our curriculum this year. I quit making sure we all got up on Sunday for church. We’ve only attended services sporadically the past couple of months or so…maybe longer. Last night, I handed that responsibility over to my husband. My faith is strong and I pray and meditate often but “church” leaves me empty. I would rather
go to the creek and listen to the water flow. I feel a weight lifted off of me now that our “church decision” is in his hands. He’s decided that we will just visit different places for a while. Fine by me.
Many of the curriculum choices I made last year are just not working for us now. We’ve muddled through this year as best as we could. I did change maths to suit each kid because I believe it is a fundamental subject to know and understand well. The only curriculum we are keeping is Beautiful Feet Books. Everything else is changing. I’ve talked to my kids about their learning struggles and strengths, what bores them and what
excites them. I’ve studied homeschooling philosophies and realized none of them really fulfill our needs. We dance somewhere between a modern approach to Charlotte Mason, project schooling and seriously radical unschooling. I have no idea what that is called…we just go with the flow. I may coach and mother my kids but the strength of the flow is theirs. Melissa Wiley calls this Tidal Schooling. I like her word “tidal” but I have not seen the
ocean or ever experienced tides. Without that physical experience I feel that my complete understanding is lacking. The flow of creeks I do understand and have experienced.
Despite all the changes and current curriculum no longer fitting their learning styles’ the kids have grown so much this year. Their talents, challenges, strengths and insecurities are clear to see. Finding and developing curriculum to suit their needs is proving to be a challenge. One I’ve applied myself to the past couple of weeks. I’m also looking for curriculum that will help my kids develop their
talents better and challenge them in their weaknesses. Littlest is also joining us full-time in the school room and that is changing the dynamics of our schooling routine and needs.
On Friday everyone engages in freewriting. I think it is the one practice that has enhanced my kids writing voice more than any other technique. We have a five-minute limit for free writes and sometimes I join them in the practice too. We used the prompt from Brave Writer this week about if everything being one color and what would that be like. Middle Boy turned the freewrite into a poem.
In a one color world
you’d have no way of knowing
where you were going.
In a one color world
you’d try to go to the store
and walk into the closet door.
In a bright yellow world,
just forget it.
In a pitch black world,
how would you know?
In a white bright world,
where would you go?
In a one color world,
there is so much more.
Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers