The girls and I have started a new, uncharted adventure. Instead of being part of the rushed mornings, uniforms, packed lunches, drop-offs and pick-ups, we are learning at home. I really mean ‘we’ because I’m figuring out this teacher role as we go along too. (Right now, I’m keeping a close eye on our avocado tree because an online science video geared towards primary children told me the fruit will come from the flowers and I’ve never noticed before. Gulp.)
Most of our supplies came from the Dollar Store (it’s actually possible to find wooden toys there!) on a recent Canada trip. I bought nothing new to add to our learning area but changed the furniture around. We are loosely following the British Columbia curriculum; each week is not planned out but the topics will be covered over months.
We have these rules for learning:
- Be creative
- Make mistakes
- Do your work
- Be kind
- Listen to each other.
I also believe these are life rules. As part of rule number one, when the kids have an art project or a journal assignment, I join in. For rule number two, it’s that much easier to begin trying when you allow mistakes to be part of the process. Part three, doing work (mundane or exciting) is essential in life and satisfying. Kindness – obvious. And listening. Oh, listening. The magic of listening and being heard. It can make the day seem lighter and validates what you already know: you belong.
There have been some rough days: one kid biting the other, another refusing to do work declaring “it’s boring!” or “I don’t have to”. There have been some precious chats and linking our work with memories of things we’ve done as a family.
I am surprised at my decision to home school because I really enjoyed the hours between 8 am and 2 pm when the girls would be deposited along with the masses. I could quite easily get groceries with a mental list, listen to grown up podcasts in the car, have an extended lunch with a friend or just stay home in a quiet house. As I write this, the girls are arguing about dictionaries, one is in their pajamas, one is simultaneously crying and writing an acrostic poem. It is anything but quiet. And somehow, it’s enjoyable. Although I wouldn’t advise writing an acrostic poem cause it equals tears. Every time.
After much crying, here’s her poem:
Violet and blue
Emerald and pink
Red and Green
Dark grey and light grey
And indigo and black
No colour is beautiful as the one you like
To the rainbow you go and you will find it so.
Fifteen minutes of crying and two minutes of writing; I got to see her through that process. And we’re all better off for it.