"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." A.A. Milne

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Unschooling, Stumbling, and Renewing Confidence

We are homeschooling our children. Since they are 2 and 3, that both means everything and nothing at this point. Everyting because even now that decision is an overarching theme in our lives each day. Nothing because they are so young and because of how we intend to proceed. We believe in a rather unschooling approach until the children are at least 7. We want them to enjoy being a child, get dirty and messy, and discover their own questions about their world. Right now we are just guides, just the people who either answer the questions or help them find the answer when we honestly and unashamedly say, "I don't know. But let's find out together."

It has been going well. We have been blessed with some really amazing children. They are bright, funny, and inquisitive. We are kept very busy each day answering their questions, reading to them, playing games, doing crafts, well wherever the day takes us.

Sadly, I fell victim for the first time to self doubt. First of many, I am very sure. That unwanted thought, that horrible urge attacked me at my heart. You know the one.

I have to do more. What if they fall behind??????

I think it is an ever present joy stealing thought that lurks in the mind of most homeschoolers at one time or another. We doubt ourselves. We truly want the best for our kids. What if endless worksheets and flashcards are what is best? What if we really do need to be stuffing them with incredible amounts of information??? What if I am wrong??? And the big one, what if I fail them????

Heady stuff those thoughts. Thoughts like those have the ability to bring even the most adamantly relaxed homeschooler to their knees and beg for mercy. I think it just goes with the territory.

So for 3 days I began to make plans. I search for preschool objectives and goals. I researched the best and most fun ways to achieve them. I made lists and outlines. I ran myself a bit ragged. Finally when the dust, papers, facts, and questions settled around me I realized something wonderful. My children are already on target with all those goals. They are doing fine. No, they are flourishing and it is beautiful.

So we are back to long days of snuggling and reading. Days filled with Candyland and Chutes and Ladders. Paintings done on paper and each other are common in our home. My littles and I are intrepid adventurers exploring and discovering the world around us. It is perfect. It is also what we intended to do from the beginning. I love having my confidence back. It feels really good.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Summer Insouciance

Not much blogging going on lately. I must admit, this summer has left me bereft of mojo and feeling blah. We have just come through the hottest July in 31 years. It has been unbearable at times. The kids and I hibernate in order to survive the day.

For the most part, all is well. Life is going on fairly smoothly. Workouts fine. House decent shape. Children all in one large piece and relatively happy. It isn't bad.

But it isn't great and I love living in great.

I think the worst part of this hot summer is that I feel my creativity has just been drained away from me. I have the energy to perform necessary tasks but that is pretty much it. My passion, my overflowing joy appears to have fled north for cooler climes. I don't feel like knitting or creating any art. The days just leave me feeling meh. I love that word, meh. It is so ......beautifully descriptive don't your think.

The two things I miss most are hooping and writing. The outside feels like a furnace early in the morning. It isn't hooping weather. Even if I was game, it is too hot for my kids to be stuck out there. As far as writing, I just don't feel I have much to say right now. My daily journal entry could be, "Everything okay. Holding course. Will contact when have more to report". That is about it.

But there is good things. Come on, you knew I would have good things in here.

First, I have jumped back into yoga. I need that mind, body, and spirit connection. I rearranged my workouts to fit in two challenging yoga classes a week. I need the accountability of class because I know I will not be faithful at home. I am already calmer and that is a good, good thing.

Second, and probably the most important, I am getting down time. I don't rest well. I am a living ball of energy always bouncing hither and yon. I do not sit still. I am always going, doing, producing. Good stuff really, but if you don't rest you will burn out. This heat has enforced a time of rest upon me. I am coming to understand my passions and creativity have not died. No, they are doing something much more wonderful. They are composting and percolating. They are swirling in shapes and designs to incredible to fully grasp. I believe when the heat breaks and the cool of autumn is upon is, they will burst forth with new life and energy. I will soon be exhuberantly grateful for this time of desolation and emptiness.

So I am here. I am growing in ways quiet and hidden. I am excited to see where it will all take me.

Stay cool out there. It is crazy hot.