How to Miss a Year of Homeschooling
I had a few extra minutes before making Grandpa's breakfast this morning, and picked up Vicki Spandel's The 9 Rights of Every Writer. I wanted to review some of Spandel's insights on teaching. She is good. She got me by the end of chapter one - student writers have the right to be reflective.
Spandel shares childhood and adult memories of vacationing in the Boundary Waters. She sets up an amazing visual of the unconnected world where her family retreats, where her mind explores and rests. "A mind freed is a powerful thing," she writes. "A mind buffeted from all sides must spend most of its energy defending the fortress of inner tranquility that is essential to a writer's survival." I would expand that to include tranquility is essential to a thinker's survival. To a student's survival. To a mother's survival.
Spandel then shares one way we can create a Boundary Water experience in our classrooms - provide quiet time.
To make time for quiet, we can't be busy. We have to pack less into in a day or a week. One of the problems I see in homeschooling today is that there are too many outstanding choices. Great curriculums. Co-op's. Enrichment classes at the Art Museum or Science Center. As homeschool mothers, we can be tempted to do too much.
Rachel at Hands Free Mama writes about How to Miss a Childhood. She has some great tips for being in the moment with our children specifically by disconnecting from technology.
Her lesson has application to the homeschool mother. There is an assumed premise that because we are homeschooling, we are spending time with our children. I disagree. Life in the 21st century is different. It's distracting. It's busy. It's complex. The very act of getting school done, where the focus is on the child accomplishing the next page, can interrupt spending quality time together.
For the first ten years of our homeschool journey we had one car, and my husband took it to work each day. We didn't have cell phones. The kids and I spent every day, all day, at home. Our phone, a land line, was connected to the wall by a cord. It couldn't be heard in the school room or outside.
I have rich memories of those years. I long for that simplicity again. When we studied Medieval days, we didn't go to a co-op class or a program at the history museum. We made wood swords and catapults, set up a dominion in the backyard, and became knights and maids.
And every day, we took time for SQUIRT - Super Quiet UnInterrupted Rest and Reading Time. It's something my high school age boys still ask for when life seems too much.
This year, let's be careful we don't miss our year of homeschooling because we're so busy "doing homeschool."