About a year ago, just as Kae-Kae was beginning to go "down" with Severe Anxiety Disorder (as in we were already having many problems), I was very discontent with homeschooling in general and specifically. Now, sometimes discontentment can come from the Lord, if He is wanting to shake you from your niche or place you have been for a long time. Oh, and sometimes that "shaking the bush thing" actually comes because you have been praying for an answer for a while, and it takes some time for you to see that God IS answering that prayer.
That is what happened in my homeschool. Part of my issue was that Joy-Bug is such a different learner than Kae-Kae. She was in first grade and Joy-Bug pushes me like crazy. She is an avid learner and is all hands-on, all the time. For instance, right now she will literally sew from 7:30AM to 8:00PM, we have to make her get off the machine. So, this alone shook my tree.
Additionally, I was always looking back trying to figure out what was wrong with Kae-Kae and what I did to cause her problem. Remember, at this time, I was being told it was LDs, Auditory Processing Disorder and vision issues, so she was just in a lot of therapy for those things.
Well, I began to go back to my roots, and study Charlotte Mason again, Ruth Beechick and a new to me philosophy of homeschooling, Thomas Jefferson Education. Although my husband had classical training, part of his PhD is in Rhetoric, the classical model of homeschooling (at least before seventh grade) was sucking the life from my whole family. Somehow, I had to make homeschooling work with child #1 who was having bizarre behavior, child #2 who does not sleep, child #3 who is probably the smartest of all of them, and child #4 who was just a little guy building lego guns.
So, I lowered the pace last year and read many books and waited.... and prayed.
And here is my homeschooling secret.
I live a life of learning what I want and include my kids.
And it is working marvelously. In fact, I would say it is a big piece of the healing for Kae-Kae this fall.
What this looks like in my family is this, I wanted to learn dulcimer so I am, and I got my children a cardboard dulcimer. They love to play and go to Dulcimer Club with me.
I want to learn about nature, so we are Birders, Tree Learners, and making nature journals (including me) and we have JOY in homeschooling again. Not to mention my little secret of my kids writing, narrating and drawing for their journals.
I love Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge (blog post to come), so we go, and we have to stay another day since everyone is having a blast learning! A homeschool mom's dream field trip.
We have circle time as a family, another TJEd secret. I will be doing a post soon explaining why it is so wonderful with mutli-aged learners and an time for mom to learn, too.
Now that does not mean that my kids aren't doing learning on their own. Kae-Kae is in flute, choir, and piano (another victory, she starts again this week!) has her reading from Diana Waring and does her school packet everyday. Joy-Bug has more academics than I am comfortable with for a second grader because she LOVES it. Gracie-Girl, kindergarten, is learning to read and write, nature journal and be a ballerina.
Oh, and we stopped Suzuki violin back in November. I believe in Suzuki, it is a great program, but is definitely more classical philosophically, which is not my personality. It was killing me to practice an instrument I know nothing about, 45 minutes a day with two perfectionist daughters. BTW, my relationship is better with these girls since I gave it up. I have told them they may go back to violin when they can take lessons and practice without me being their teacher. I have also told them they can begin regular piano lessons this summer if they like.
Remember that homeschooling IS the journey of life and is going to be shaped by your (mom's) personality, passions, energy level and long term goals. Homeschooling is not just something we do for 4-6 hours a day. You have to be able to keep the pace of a marathoner for a long time, as if 12 years was not enough, most of us have 20 years of homeschooling to accomplish because of our multiple children.
So, that is how it works in our family. Does that mean this is the only way? Absolutely not! Does that mean that your way is wrong? See my friend Kathleen's post about something similar here, but this realization has brought peace, joy and love of learning back to my home and I wanted to share it!
Do you have any secrets that have helped you along the journey of life/homeschooling/parenting, since it is all really one thing??