Our school days have been nearly ideal lately. It seems that we are finding- or should I say, making- time for the activities and experiences that we are all just needing and wanting to have.
Some of the daily challenges for me in the past have been
finding the balance between tidying up the house before school begins without carving in to vital schooling hours,
holding a space for my four year old amidst all of the academics going on around him without simply just shoo-ing him away to play,
caring for and getting our now eight month old Luca down to nap in the morning,
avoiding interruptions from the telephone
and keeping my vision alive for a homeschooling environment that offers a rich literature and art based education while including the 'staples' such as math, reading and writing.
It seems that these challenges have not been so challenging these days and that there is a renewed sense of purpose and flow in our house ever since we started back to school after Christmas and the New Year.
It feels amazing to wake up and eagerly anticipate and embrace all that the day ahead holds. Fear and anxiety about the unknowns, the responsibility that is mine and mine alone and the areas in which I feel I may be failing have been kept at bay and replaced with joy, peace and a sense of confidence and pride in making my vision a daily reality.
So much of this has everything to do with me learning to 'let go' a bit in terms of my standards of just how clean I need my home to be, my ability to not make my older children's academics the main priority and focus of my family's and my day and to fulfill my desire for more art time and free play.
It has made a world of difference in our home and I am feeling oh-so satisfied with how our days are beginning, flowing in between and ending.
Elias has begun asking to help me around the house with everything from cooking, baking and cleaning and has also begun asking me to write out words that he can copy. He has really taken to writing and despite any formal handwriting lessons, has some really nice and neat writing for a four year old boy. Needless to say, his work is been proudly magnetized to our refrigerator!
We had the rare opportunity last week to make some pizza dough together- just and he I alone. He was terribly eager to knead the dough all by himself. My heart swelled with emotion as I watched his little hands squish, push and pull that dough all about the floured board. Sometimes I forget that he is nearly five years old and is capable of so much more than I think he is. Somehow he is frozen in my mind and heart as the baby of the family even though his birth order has been bumped ever since the arrival of our little darling Luca!
Our new experience with wet-on-wet painting has also breathed a new life into our school days. The children are eager to paint in the afternoons and I love that it is an activity that all three of the older children can share together. Not to mention the amazing finished product- a gorgeous and colorful painting!
As far as the other challenges, I have simply made it a rule not to answer the phone from when we start our school day until well after lunch. Instead of thinking of it as being anti-social, I have begun to think of it as protecting my family life. And while I am putting Luca down for his nap, I have begun getting my older pair going on their math work during that time and and giving Elias an activity that will hold his attention.
I suppose you could say that I am totally smitten with this stage of homeschooling and mothering and that we are in a season of of reaping the benefits of some good habits and lessons learned during our 'planting' season last fall.