This week I decided to call a bit of a halt to our more formal activities and ‘just’ live for a week. Back in the UK we have a week’s holiday in the middle of each term, it always helped to stop everyone tipping too far into exhaustion, so I thought I’d implement it chez us. Though we’ve not been ‘studying’ as such that doesn’t mean we haven’t soaked up some good old life skills. It’s been cold but sunny here and the boys have been enjoying some outdoor romps, climbing on hay bales, chasing chickens and planning anarchistic revolts against a police state. Seriously.
And of course there are the inevitable hours (and hours) in the kitchen.
I find it hard to get away from the idea that learning all has to take place at a table, that writing and reading are the only skills that matter. But of course that isn’t why we homeschool. I want my children to write creatively, to read with joy, not just because Mummy is telling them too. We’ve worked hard on some core skills over the last weeks and we were ready for it all to sit, we were ready for a breath out.
So instead of writing and maths skills we’ve focused on chopping, running, climbing, measuring, making and being. I’d hoped to achieve a ton without the extra work of school but really I’ve just been emerging from a cloud of tiredness that’s been bogging me down these last few weeks. A cold that lingered, a little person making night times less (ahem) restful than we need.
I’m trying not to categorise everything we do in terms of how it matches up to a ‘curriculum’. Chopping – fine motor skills, cooking – life skills, measuring- maths, ipad spelling app – phonics, IT, documentary on Meerkats – science and nature….it is tempting but it doesn’t feel quite right.
Instead I want to think that we spent the week nourishing our family, working out some kinks, finding our balance. That the children playing is justification enough, that the cooking of soup is just soup. That the bacon frying in the pan is our home raised, home cured bacon; a satisfaction that can’t be quantified. That my boys belong to a family where the lines can blur between school and life, where learning is in everything. This is something I forget, it is worth remembering.
So whether we are heading out to the library, meeting friends, working on math skills or trying (desperately) to catch up on the laundry, we are together. We may not always get along, it may not always be easy, but we’re in it together, a family, a team. If we can all keep that lesson in our hearts, I think we’ll be ok.
5 thoughts on “The homeschool breath out”
Such an inspiring post! “That my boys belong to a family where the lines can blur between school and life, where learning is in everything”…this is a big part of why I think I want to homeschool. My son is only a year old now, so we’re a ways off from anything formal…but you’re so right. Learning should be every day, in everything, and not just at a desk!
Tara, you have such a lot to look forward to! And from visiting your blog I know you live somewhere amazing : ) We definitely do ‘formal’ work too but I really do want the boys to be inspired by everything around them and to follow their own creativity too.
So many thoughts. First of all, I love blue cheese. My husband and daughter do NOT share my enthusiasm. I like how you talked about the fusion of life and learning and in truth I need to re-learn that myself. Some days I find that I get too bogged down with getting the “real learning” done when in fact there is a lot in life that does not involve books and is still considered learning. And, being from Saskatchewan, that “chicken in a bag” looks very similar to the Hutterite chickens that we buy! I have one thawing in the fridge as I type.
PS I just found your blog from ROTH and I love it.
Michelle, I hear you! I have to remind myself too, it’s not always a balancing act that goes well round here! I really want to teach the children the building blocks so that they can be creative and innovative, but sometimes it feels like we need a break. I find working on more structured learning for 4-5 weeks and then a week ‘off’ catching up on life and the learning that offers is a good pace. Even then we’re only working mornings. We’re now pushing through our academic work to Christmas, but I have some crafty projects in mind to stop things getting dull!
Our pastured chickens have been one of our great successes this year, we’ve loved them. The flavour is like nothing else! I roast them in the pig lard I rendered and the flavour is just wonderful! Then again anything cooked in lard is wonderful ; )
Oh yum! I can just imagine the gorgeous smells emitting from you kitchen. Glad you are all taking some time to just be. Jacinta