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!
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.