homeschool

Letting Go of School at Home

This year marks my third year homeschooling.  My kids are seven and three, or second grade and preschool to use traditional terms.  When we began our homeschool journey, we were pretty low-key about it.  There was no need to structure preschool or kindergarten.  We read books, or played games with numbers.  We went to the library, the museum, and the zoo.  It was lovely and fun.

When my daughter started first grade work, things changed.  For the first time, we had structured curriculums.  And we had quite a few of them.  Math, history, writing, grammar, and spelling, plus less structured subjects like science, art, and music.  My son was two, and like most mothers of young children, I felt overwhelmed.

By the end of that first “real” school year, things had become…not fun.  It was stressful, for me and for Evy.  She started to complain and drag her feet about every subject, and I started to lose my patience because your brother is napping so let’s get this done!

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ugh…

We muddled through, and took a much needed break that summer. I knew something had to change; I knew I wanted to rekindle the joy we had felt that first year of homeschool.  I just didn’t know what to do.  

I thought community might help.  So being the introvert that I am, I sought out blogs and finally stumbled upon a few podcasts.  I found Homeschooling in the North Woods, and through Alisha and Amanda I discovered Brave Writer.

And suddenly, something clicked.  I realized that I didn’t have to do school at home.  The traditional classroom was the only school experience I knew, and I had tried to recreate it without thinking.  So I talked it over with my husband, and we decided to back off a bit.  We’re trying to do less each week, and we’re trying to make what we do more fun and engaging.  Now you can find us lighting candles for copywork, reading history in a blanket fort, doing science experiments, and enjoying poetry tea time.

 

Trying to find a community and listening to others’ experiences helped me remember that I can do this.  There is no right way, and our homeschool does not need to look like a classroom.  Homeschool will be whatever it is in my home.  And that is just what it needs to be.

I hope that you can find space to stop and breathe, to relax into whatever endeavor you are a part of.  It isn’t always easy.  So next week, when I am freaking out that we haven’t accomplished enough, or that my daughter is behind in math, or that my son watched too much TV that day, I will try very hard to pause, breathe, and relax.

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Things My Kids Have Taught Me

Opening a Closed Door

My daughter started tap dance lessons recently.  She’s been asking to take tap for years, and this year she’s finally old enough.  For some reason, seven seems to be the magical age for beginner tap lessons.

We signed her up, bought her shoes, figured out how to navigate the parking situation at CCM, and drove to Clifton for her first lesson.

Her tap class starts right after her ballet class (she’s a dance loving kid).  Ballet ends, we rush to get her shoes on and find the class.  Well the registration information had an error, the nice reception woman tells us, so sorry.  Her class is now in a different room. We rush to the new class.  We find the room number.  The door is closed.

Cue my old friend, anxiety.  A closed classroom door.  It’s like college all over again.  Do I interrupt and go in even though I’m late?  Won’t everyone be looking at me?  Will the teacher be mad?  Notice how in this moment, I’ve forgotten my daughter.  My fear has me thinking irrational thoughts that center on myself.

Luckily, my sense of duty to my kids runs a bit stronger than anxiety.  And I am resolute that I will model how to handle anxiety when it comes, at least when I can.  So we open the door.

And you know what?  It was fine (of course).  The instructor and other kids were in a circle, introducing themselves.  So I walked Evy up, checked that we were in the right place, and said, “Have fun!”

I have a feeling that people without anxiety will not understand why opening a closed door could be problematic.  But I also know that some of you will get it, all too well.

That Saturday morning I watched my daughter walk into a brand new classroom with excitement and anticipation, even though she was late.  And she reminded me, opening a closed door is no big deal.

bhuey designs

Here Comes the Fair!

A few months ago, I spied a flyer at my local YMCA.  A craft show was coming up, and the organizers were calling for crafters and vendors to sell their wares.  My interest was piqued.

I had recently relaunched my Etsy shop and was looking to expand my business.  That sounds almost ridiculously formal and preplanned.  Basically, I saw the flyer, remembered that I had always wanted to try a craft fair, and sent an email asking for more information.

Fast forward a few months.  My place is reserved.  I’ve purchased the necessary vendor-like tablecloth (with full skirt, thank you) and gift bags.  I’ve gathered my point of sale gadget, my cash box, and my display forms.  I’ve stocked over 40 items worth of inventory.  I am ready.

Actually, I’m terrified.  I’m excited, and terrified.  What if I don’t sell anything?  Or worse, what if I do??  

I have several more weeks to ponder these worrisome thoughts.  In the meantime, I’ll just continue to tell my six mind to chill.  It’s going to be fun…right?

Craft Boutique and Vendor Fair Event

Writing

NaNoWriMo for Moms

Ah, November.  Around here, November is when it starts to get cold.  The hard frosts come, the plants die, daylight savings robs us of our natural sleep cycle.  Okay so I dislike the dark and the cold.  But, however true that may be, I do enjoy this season.

I love Thanksgiving.  It’s my favorite holiday, if I had to choose.  Kevin’s birthday is in November, too.  And November is also when NaNoWriMo happens!

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is an event run by a nonprofit organization.  It happens every November, and the goal is to write 50,000 words (the average length of a full-sized novel) in 30 days.  For more information, head to their website.

I have participated in this wonderful, creative, crazy event once before.  I loved being a part of such a large group of fearless (or fearful, yet courageous) writers.  But when it came time to sign up this year, I hesitated.  Being a mom, homeschooling two kids, and running a very small business, I figured I just wouldn’t have time.

But writing is what I love to do.  It’s what I’m passionate about.  And I’ll be boldly honest here – becoming a published author is my dream.  After a little nudge from a friend, I decided to just go for it.

And so I came up with my own criteria for this year’s NaNoWriMo.  I’m sharing them here, for all those who have ever said, “I can’t do that…”

  1. Set your own word count goals.  There are no NaNoWriMo police.  The event is about creativity.  Go for it!
  2. Write when you can, accept when you cannot.  This year, my writing time is limited to once, maybe twice a week.  Be where you are.  It’s okay.
  3. Recognize what NaNoWriMo is all about.  Stories matter.  So do you.

Write on!

About Me

Begin.

Here it is.  The first post.  I have sat for a moment or two, or ten, trying to come up with something meaningful to say.  Something witty, perhaps a bit inspiring.  Some amazing post that would draw my nonexistent readers in, enticing them to spend a tiny slice of time with me as I ponder a myriad of topics such as math blocks, budget friendly dinners, and preferred knitting needles.

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Then I realized that no matter what I slapped up here, I would hate it.  Because my daughter doesn’t get her perfectionist tendencies from the fairies she so loves.  And so, dear readers (future readers?), I give you this.  A picture of my most favorite coffee mug.  I bought it in a shop on Ocracoke many years ago.  It’s my favorite because it’s just the right size, it fits comfortably in my hand, and because it calls me to do what I have such trouble doing.

And so here I am.  Beginning.