Sunday, February 09, 2014

Slower

I started reading Notes From a Blue Bike yesterday (because my goal for the weekend was to finish some of the books I've already started, so I went and started a new one instead!). I'm only on Part I, but I'm already feeling inspired. Not that there is really anything new that I haven't heard or thought of before, just the confirmation that I'm not alone (and right on trend!) in wanting life to be different. Slower. Less busy. Enjoyable.

I think we already have a slower life style than many. I'm pretty good at identifying when things are getting too busy (I start daydreaming about raising chickens and goats!) and slowing us down, and several times a year we take a break from "life" for extended travel. But there is always room for improvement. A consistent need to evaluate and tweak. And it is time to look at our homeschooling.

When we started homeschooling, I had these dreams of what it would look like. Lazy learning on the couch together. Studying at a coffee shop. Hiking, walking, exploring. Science experiments in the kitchen. Baking and cooking together. And we do all that, but not enough anymore. And it feels rushed. Somehow our homeschooling has evolved into mostly just getting it done. Making the list and checking things off as fast as we can.

Jack's speech therapist told us that she came across a new word and thought of us. "Schola" she told us means "leisure." The online definitions are more "leisure of learning" or "leisure time given to learning," and we can see that Latin root in "school" and "scholar" and "scholastic." I love that! The idea that learning isn't work, it's fun! So I'm going to try to get back to our homeschool roots. Move back towards the leisurely side of learning.

So here are my thoughts on where to place our homeschool time priorities...
(I hate to say homeschool "time" because really I consider our homeschooling/learning to be taking place all day, every day. However, we do most of our traditional learning during week days.)

  1. Have a little bit more of a routine. That may sound counter intuitive to being slower and more relaxed, but with no routine, we (meaning mostly me!) sometimes chase our tails or get side tracked or just do nothing which just leads to rushing and stress to get things accomplished later. This routine isn't going to be set in stone, more like a rhythm. I think I'll start with a morning routine list for the kids like we've done in the past. Jack responds really well to a routine list. Simple things like make bed, brush teeth, eat breakfast, pick up clothes, etc. I'll probably add a few "homeschool" items to that list like doing our gratitude journal.
  2. Go for more walks. I'm going to make this a daily thing. Maybe first thing in the morning after breakfast. Rain/shine/snow we are going to go for a walk. Or a hike. Or a bike ride.
  3. Play more games. We love to play games! But we tend to put them off until after all our "work" is done. Which it never seems to be. Or we are tired by that point. And if I want to be all "homeschool" about it, games are so much better for logic than a stupid workbook.
  4. Clean up! I gotta get the homeschool room cleared out and cleaned up so that we can function better. I might leave the mountains early today to go home and do that. Feeling motivated.
  5. Institute quiet reading time into our routine. Probably in the afternoons just after lunch. I think the 3 of us can sit together and read independently. (And selfishly, I'll get some reliable reading time every day!)
  6. Do away with our homeschool daily checklist! I think it is overwhelming for Jack and boring for Kate. (Ok, maybe I'll still keep one for me just so I don't forget what we need to do!)
  7. Take the "home" out of homeschool. We do pretty well with this in good weather, but we haven't been to a coffee shop or the library to study in quite awhile. Going to get out more!
  8. More field trips. I need to make a list because sometimes I can't think of anything last minute.
  9. Going to do the children's illustrator curriculum that I've been wanting to do but have felt too busy to do! We'll just ease up on math and language...
  10. I'm going to lower my standards. For me. For the kids. For the house. For meals. For getting it all done. (Although as I write this, I wonder if my standards can actually get any lower?!?)
I'll let you know how it goes. I think we'll start tomorrow!

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