August 18, 2016

Learning by Immersion: Why we're Homeschooling Again!


We are back to learning at home again.  
Back to the place where I thought my kids could never get a "great education".

Well....not so!
Come to find out if I allow them freedom, this place is the best place for them to learn.

This is the very place my kids always find comfort and peace

HOME



I gotta admit..I do not regret placing the kids in a traditional school for the last 3 years (4 years for Moriah). 

 
Gosh darn it...I needed a stinkin' break!  
I was close to a break down! 
I was the picture of the burnt-out homeschooling mom who felt unsure of what the heck she was doing.
Always frazzled. 
Jumping from curriculum to curriculum. 
Playing the comparison game with other "better" homeschooling families. 

Barf!!  

I spiraled into a vicious cycle of insecurities, fears, and out right self loathing of what I was doing for my kids and family.  

I know I sound like a total basket case. 

So yeah...it was a good thing to take a three year break from having to teach the children.  It was good for them and for me. 
  

I basically left on a journey... down my paved road...to sample the green grass that looked to be easy on my achy feet.


So what did I find?...Busyness. And lots of it! 

Here's the thing... I got caught up in the rat race of conventional life: 

  • wake up
  • eat
  • dress
  • rush to drop kids at school
  • work
  • pick kids up at school
  • after school activities
  • rush home
  • make dinner
  • eat
  • homework
  • bedtime
  • do it again....


(Gosh...I'm tired just typing this.)

It really thought it was going to be an easier path...
Nope...it wasn't.

                            

The point of my post is to tell you why we're homeschooling again.  

Towards the end of 2015, I remember hearing in my heart that I was to go back to the foundation of why I began homeschooling in the first place.

I had to go back to my thinking box and remind myself that what I wanted for the children was something different.  
I wanted all of us to be immersed in pursuing our interests and curiosities.
Making learning a lifestyle.

I didn't want to fill my kids with knowledge that wasn't going to stick with them. 
I wanted to focus on the process of learning rather than the product. 

You see..
We are all born curious.
Learning happens when we are interested in something.
That's where we'll use all our effort, time, and brainpower to dig deep into that curiosity.  

This is something I want for my kids. 


I also want to give them the freedom to explore, practice and immerse themselves in something they like.  Not handing them a schedule and demanding they complete it.

I want to be the guide to help achieve their life goals. 






So you might ask..."What about all those important subjects like history, science, math, writing, reading, etc....?" 



They'll get it when they search out their interests. 


I also want to express my trust towards them.  
Having an open communication with them, even when it means discussing a show they find interesting.
Or watching them play a video game, which I may think is a waste of time.  

These are the things they find interesting. 

It's about coming down to their level and truly observing their interests. 
Carefully watching them: What makes them laugh; What makes them withdraw; etc...

It's about following the thread into the tapestry of what they are weaving.  

I've been thinking alot about when Justin was homeschooled.  Justin and I discussed it just the other day.  


We talked about how his first three years of homeschooling were the best days of his education.  What happened to the rest?
Well...Mom fell into the curriculum purchasing mode.  Eek!! 

(If anyone knows me well, they know I had a lot of curriculum.) 

Anyway...I look back and remember the days I would make Justin sit and finish his school work before he could go out and explore nature. 
Most of the time he'd rather be exploring or reading his history books than doing "assignments".  

As he got older he continued to devour history books of all kinds.  I figured he was learning something so I didn't intervene....well...not until I saw an awesome high school curriculum that was literature based.  Something Justin wasn't interested in but he did it anyway.  


My point is that today Justin continues to be interested in history, nature, and adventure related things.  It was inside of his very being.  To this very day, I still find him reading history bios and nature books.  Learning never ends. 

Justin is on his journey.  Not sure exactly where his interests will lead him.  He's currently planning a solo trip to Yellowstone back country.  He's made comments about pursuing something in Agriculture or becoming a Park Ranger.  It's funny because back when he was a little boy he said he wanted to be a rancher or a ranger.  Hmmm...we'll see.  :)

I'm not scared for my kids.  I'm not scared they'll fail.  
Each one of them will find their place; their purpose...as they continue to seek the One who created them.  

I have no fear.  


For now I want to enjoy time with my children: laughing, living, learning and growing.  
We want to travel and see the world (another reason for homeschooling).  


I want to watch them with curious mommy eyes.  
I want to learn from them.  
I want to immerse myself in their interests.  
I want to watch them take flight...always knowing where home is.  



You might say...
"That's life not school."

Exactly..
We learn as we live!



 Learning is a lifestyle.   


Free to learn whatever we want!
Knowledge is at the tip of our fingers. 
All we have to do is grab it..



 And immerse ourselves in learning.












February 19, 2016

Island Life

It must be a blissful life when you can live on an island.  
There are no cares, worries, or agendas to follow. 


A place where you can just lay on the shore in the cold water of February and feel the warmth of the sunbeams on your face.

Then there's the search for sea shells 

and funny looking sea creatures...


There is an internal joy of just letting go of stuff,
 responsibilities of the "real world" 
to experience a sense of freedom


A freedom to just be


to fly

to laugh


to act goofy
or
to just sit and think!!


Lately I've been doing a lot of thinking, 
pondering, 
reflecting...

I've been in a season of solitude.  

sometimes a mama needs to do that 
to realize what matters most in life.

Why is it that life becomes so demanding sometimes?  

I think there's an invisible expectation of what should be accomplished.

Maybe it's certain career goals, a social status, or how much "stuff" we've accumulated...

If we don't conform to this societal formula then we might as well call ourselves 
a little "different" 
or 
unconventional


I'm teaching my children they have the freedom to think for themselves
and to not fall into the trap of thinking that they have to follow a certain formula to feel accomplished.

I used to think there was a special formula to becoming "something" in life..
If I did "A.B.C"... then I should be doing D next

nope 
not for my kids...

I want them to dream, to soar, and to follow their passions, interests and curiosities. 

The "formula" written in their hearts. 


I know they will most certainly make mistakes and get hurt

I guess that is what I fear at times. 

I don't want to see them hurting.

What parent does?

But then I realize that they will learn from their mistakes
That they have a mind to think for themselves.

A mind to make right choices.

I find myself then relaxing and trusting them
Trusting God who's the One guiding them.
Yes...
They may take that leap that might make them stumble just a little. 



But they'll be ok.




Most important is to not get lost in agendas and the general busyness of this fast moving world. 


To know that mom and dad are there
supporting them, 
talking them through their fears, 
worries, 
anxieties. 

We're there for hugs and cuddles so they can feel safe in this big fast world.

Deep down all they truly want
is our acceptance,
love,
 trust.


So to you I say...

When you lay your head down tonight
resting your tired and weary soul 
Take some time to reflect and think about how your life is going. 

 Then take your family 
love them
 kiss them 
hold them

Take a deep breath and know that life and moments 
you spend with them will come and go.  

So make them special. 



And don't forget to dream...

Here's a little song that Donnie and I like to sing when we're feeling funny:
(This song makes me laugh because I feel like i'm the mama bunny)

You and I, by Ingrid Michelson

"Don't you worry there my honey
we might not have any money
but we've got our love to pay the bills
maybe I think you're cute and funny
maybe I wanna do what bunnies do with you if you know what I mean
oh lets get rich and buy our parents homes in the south of france
lets get rich and give everybody nice sweaters and teach them how to dance
lets get rich and build a house on a mountain making everybody look like ants
from way up there, you and I, you and I"





February 10, 2016

On the Road Again...


Traveling has been on my mind lately...but not just to travel but to "live in travel". 


I've been thinking alot about us becoming location independent and just letting God and life lead us to where we should live. 

It excites me to think about the possibility of it coming to pass.  

Could we actually do this?

Where would we go?


I've told Donnie that I've been thinking of staying in every one of the 50 states in 50 weeks....
umm...ok maybe not exactly every 50 but the lower 48.
  I think if I ended up in Alaska or Hawaii....I'd have to extend my stay just a bit.  

I actually had this conversation with him a few months back....it went like this: 

Me:  So I was thinking me and the kids would camp in our tent in every state in 50 weeks?

Donnie:  Huh?  What?  Did I hear you right?

Me:  Yeah...there are tons of families that do this all the time.  I would homeschool and we would live in our tent while moving every week to a different state.  Doesn't that sound absolutely awesome?! :) 

Donnie:  (he looks at me like i'm joking yet serious at the same time)  Oh...wow...I think you're serious! 

Me:  Yeah....heck yes, I'm serious!  It would be the coolest thing! I would just need you to stay and work so we could afford the travel.

Donnie:  Hey...that's no fun.  I would miss you!  I don't think I could do that!

Me:  (thinking about it...and now realizing that I couldn't bear the thought of being without my hubby)  You know....You're right babe.  I'd miss you so much.  :(     BUT...You could meet up with us once a month?  Huh?  That could work? 

Donnie:  Hmmm....maybe...wait...are you serious?  No seriously...you need to think about it.  You...the kids...in a TENT for a whole year.  And you don't have me to help you.

Me:  Eek..yeah...that doesn't sound like fun.  Oh yeah....maybe that isn't a good idea.  Oh Darn...I thought it could work. 

This conversation led to many more conversations about traveling and becoming location independent.  

I've been reading about other families who are indeed location independent.  I've found several.  

So I'm not the only crazy one out there...

(smile)

There is such a sense of FREEDOM in this type of thinking and living.  I've thought of living in my birth place of Chile with Donnie and the kids:  Exposing them to the culture and language; To know that there is more to this life in this world than the borders surrounding their city;
A world to live amongst people that they are yet to meet.  

The traveling bug has bit.




Yep...and speaking of that....We are set for a short little trip Valentine's day weekend.  

Not sure where we'll go....thinking of camping in south Florida 
or 
driving up north somewhere in hope to play in snow.  
Wherever we end up...we're making memories.