Friday, November 20, 2015
The little homeschool week that could(n't).
So, some days. Does anyone else ever feel like this?
I mean, I know that there were days I used to drag my weary body out of bed in order to go to work. There were days that I really felt like I was just play acting at being a teacher, and somebody was definitely going to catch on at some point. Masters-schmasters.
But mostly, as a working adult, you're forced to soldier on. Some days maybe more successfully than others.
One thing I'm struggling with in this homeschooling game is how much emphasis to place on academics. Just how much is enough? How much is too much?
I know that sounds silly, but please remember that mine are still little. I mean - little. And we do school pretty close to year-round in some form or another. And, in all honesty, part of the reason I believe in school at home so passionately is that I firmly believe that - with all the best of intentions - we are too-often drowning our little ones in academics when they should be spending more time in play. (There have been so many examples in various academic publications I've subscribed to over the past decade. This is just one that I've loved, for reference, and don't even get me started on how much I love the Finnish model. Swoooooooonnn.)
It's all about balance, and it's something I'm still working to find for us in our school day, week and year.
This last week, I was just burned out. My kids were burned out. And, Casey was home - which truly is a relative rarity in our world.
It started innocently enough: they were playing so nicely on Monday, that I just let them keep playing. Sure, we read books. We always do. But we didn't sit down or do anything formal, and everyone was completely content to go at his or her own pace.
And then, Tuesday came... and they were still so happy to play! To run and rough-house and tackle their daddy. To color and paint. To snuggle. To play dress-up. So we let it be.
Now it's Friday, and I can't say we've "accomplished" anything more than what I noted above.
There is a piece of me - that piece that was accustomed to thinking it necessary to soldier on - that is hugely unsure about how wise it is to just drop everything and play. My teacher brain is still trained to measure outcomes and evaluate effectiveness. To start at point A and get to point B.
My mothering brain jumps into overdrive with warnings and flashing lights: if they're illiterate and can't multiply fractions, it will be your fault!!!! What if they live with you until they're 30 and can't function or hold down a job?
And then another part of my brain kicks in to argue with my other self: what if you listen to the signals they are sending out? What if you give them the chance to explore? What if they play and laugh and enjoy one another and nobody stops them? What might they learn about themselves? About each other? About their own creativity and inquisitiveness and imagination?
I want them to strive for excellence. I want them to know about hard work, integrity and following through when things get tough.
But... maybe those are lessons that don't have to be taught today?
I know this won't be the last time I struggle with that balance before they're done. Beyond that, though, I'm pretty sure that having the ability to drop everything and enjoy each other in those unscheduled, unscripted moments is one of the absolute greatest joys and benefits of homeschooling.
This week, we're running with it. More than that. We're relishing it.