Homeschooling After The Holidays
There are certain points throughout the year that act as markers, milestones, for our daily rhythms.
Spring is for new beginnings and letting go, while summer is about doing exciting things and exploring new places.
In the fall, I'm always ready to get productive and try new things. I spend a lot of time outside and I'm ready to take on the world.
Then winter is about being cozy and still, quiet and introspective -- with a whole heap of holiday bliss right smack dab in the middle of it all.
For the last few years, aka the years when Gretchen was in daycare or at her Montessori school, the end of the holiday season was marked by her heading back and me getting back into some sort of routine.
But not this year. This year it's been different.
We are 4-and-a-bit months into our first year of homeschooling and that has come with a lot of changes in our lifestyle. Our mornings are different and our days have completely morphed.
It's great, but I have a confession: We've been REALLY slow getting back to work after the New Year.
Like really slow.
Now, I can find a little solace in the fact that when I've chatted with other homeschool mamas, they're also quick to admit it's a slow transition moving from the holiday season to the second 1/2 of the year. Everyone I've chatted to has said something like, "yeah, we haven't really done much either" and so I definitely don't feel alone in our snail-like approach to getting back to work.
Should I be worried?
Nah. I don't think so.
At first, I thought maybe I was screwing things up. That if we didn't get RIGHT back to work once 2017 hit, I'd feel behind. But I'm not feeling like that at all. I actually feel good about the pace.
And here's why.
To start, we needed the break. At her old school she did have a LOT of time off around the holidays, but this year felt much less rushed than others. I felt like we actually had a chance to decompress and relax over the month of December. We had a pretty brutal November (see my previous post about broken teeth, sprained ankles, and smashed up toes) and we really needed some time to just chill.
Another reason is that Gretchen is such a big reader that our constant visits to the library PLUS the mountain of books under the tree on Christmas morning, kept her reading like a boss all month long.
She's literally never without a book, so I never worry that she's not doing anything... she's learning whether she wants to be or not.
I also consider all of the educational moments that come from writing and drawing, building with LEGO, playing trivia games, baking, creating, tidying the house... the list goes on.
We really never stop learning. And it's beautiful.
Lastly, though we're following Oak Meadow as our grade 2 curriculum for the year, we're not tied to doing it in a certain way. There are no time frames or limit on the work we're doing together.
There are no deadlines.
We never have to rush and we never have to slow down to fit a schedule -- we can move through the materials and I can supplement however I like and this is a huge part of the homeschool appeal to me in the first place.
Basically, we're on "schedule" as far as the weeks go in her course books, but if we wanted to move quicker and take more summer off, we could. If we wanted to slow right down and work all year long, we could do that too.
It's this ultimate aspect of freedom and trusting my gut and my child that makes homeschooling so fantastic. I realize it's not something that appeals to everyone, but I honestly feel like we've found the right path and I feel like a lot of the anxieties I had about it in September are fading.
(Moms worry, it's what we do, right? But I'm taking it all in stride.)
Yesterday, was the first day after the holiday season that I actually felt like we were productive on the homeschool front. We did math and language, science and some art. There were a few complaints and eye rolls, but that's to be expected as we push back into our routine.
And at the end of the day, we were both feeling pretty damn good.
Each homeschooling day is a little adventure for us. Some are slow and mellow, some are quick and spin me off my axis.
And I love it.
PS. This morning, we started our day by cozying up on the couch with oranges, coffee, and the Deathly Hallows audiobook. These are the moments that make me so happy we chose this path.