While the decision to homeschool wasn't easy, it was clear. Somewhere around week two of the quarantine and pandemic, I just knew that there wouldn't really be a sense of normalcy for returning to school and that this would be the path for us. I suppose this was likely easier than some, because I have flirted with homeschooling before. When we were romanticizing a life on the road and thinking of full time RV living, I was first introduced to homeschooling. All this to say, I never thought I would homeschool. Never thought it was for me. I loved school. I had wonderful schooling experiences. I valued formal education highly and went on to get a master's degree. I guess we can add this to the list of all the things I never thought I would do as a mom until I became a mom.
School's all changed a bit, though, hasn't it? It isn't quite the same as when we were kids. And the parts that are the same, maybe weren't all that desirable to begin with. The mean girl drama. The classes that you never used in real life. The classes that absolutely should be taught. The rules and structure that were put in place during post World War America to set kids up for factory jobs. The pressure for kindergarteners to read no matter what the child experts say on play.
Anyway, regardless of how I was exposed to what homeschool really looks like, I was exposed to a different way that offered incredible freedom and unlimited opportunities for our children's unique interests and needs. Oh the can of worms that open when you open yourself up to possibility.
I love that word: possibility.
It's truly magical when you simply allow yourself to believe in possibility instead of complying with the way it's always been. And that's what this was. Searching homeschool instagram accounts and seeing children running around in nature, advocating for curiosity, begging the world to give kids their childhood back. My heart was swelling.
But I sent the kids on back to school when I started to envision becoming Lyla's teacher and thought we had closed the door on this topic. There was just no way. We would spend the days butting heads, competing for alpha and probably ending in more tears than play. Plus, how would I work? I had spent far too long chasing my ambitions to re-prioritize my life.
The universe has a funny way about Her, doesn't She? I'm not sure what it was, but there was clarity once COVD hit that a much larger lesson and message was available. Every good crumble comes with one. We have the opportunity to open ourselves up to it or become victim to it.
So I opened my arms wide and let this experience crack me open yet again. I embraced the same things we all embraced and mourned the same things we all mourned. And I asked on repeat what this was here to teach me.
Homeschool. My family. The matriarch were all screaming loudly at me.
Resist as I might, I mean we all have free will, but I knew that it would just keep recycling to this. So I could align and follow or be back here in a year. At this stage in my spiritual process, I realize when you ask, I must stop trying to control the path and trust the outcome is coming. So obliged and stepped into this new role. I got hyper focused on just being present. Simplifying. And realigning with my vision as a mom. You can read all about that here.
And this has all included homeschool. I found myself loving them home during quarantine. I loved having us all close by. As an introvert this has been wicked hard, because there is so little of that much needed alone time, but still. I loved peeking in on them while they were playing or having them snuggled in my bed while I was folding laundry. I looked forward to having their online lessons over so we could go on a walk.
And for the first time since being a mom, I felt whatever was to happen with my career would happen without my interference. Hell, it would probably happen better if I stopped inserting my(self) ego. And when I really sat back and asked myself what I wanted professionally in this lifetime, it was really simple and clear: to write, build a community, and help women heal through the divine feminine. I can absolutely do this with my babies by my side.
I struggle with sharing some of these ins and outs with you. I know by sharing my truth, it may connect with yours, which I love. But it may also not. It may trigger you. And when people are triggered, they often don't like it. And while I may have some people-pleasing tendencies, I also just want people to feel good. And fine, I don't want you to be mad at me. But I also know that being triggered isn't bad. If you are triggered and even mad at me through this, I am ok with that. But I will invite you to check in with that emotion. That you ask yourself what about this post is triggering? What is it bringing up inside of you? What is it making you question about yourself? All of this, while it may feel is a reflection of me, is truly a reflection of you. It's a gift to you to now go and heal. I know this because I have experienced my fair share of triggers and healing. Even the ones that I didn't understand and every time, they were a window to my own shadow.
I also still struggle to share because I am grappling with the privilege that is homeschooling. The choice to do this. I was raised by a young single mom and homeschooling would've never been an option. Distant learning during a pandemic would've been a nightmare for my mom. She worked for the airlines and if she even still had a job, paying for childcare would've bankrupted her. So while I do believe this way of living is filled with possibility, it is only for those in which it is possible. But I suppose like anything else on this spiritual journey, it is why I will continue to fight for the marginalized.
But this is us. Our journey. Our story.
Homeschooling for me has become an extension of motherhood. My intentions and my why behind it are no different than my parenting: to help facilitate my children becoming the truest versions of theirselves. Could they do this at school? Maybe. But could we do it better at home? I think so. I think so because at home we have taken away some of the things that I hate: mean girl culture and bullying. We have taken away the pressure that my kindergartener was feeling about the need to belong. We have taken away grades and homework. We have taken away busy-ness and long schedules that lead to meltdowns and steal the space that should be left for curiosity. And once we peeled all of that away, we were left to fill it with what made sense for us: slower days with rhythms and rituals. Lots of reading, books and literature. Nature and play. And room for their individual selves. Their interests and curiosity. We filled it with guitar and Spanish and cooking and gardening. Catching frogs and minnows and bike rides and adventure. We filled it with a different community. Friends like classmates, other moms like teachers.
Socialization seems to be the age-old adage about homeschool life. I just don't believe this to be an issue at all. pre-COVID, but especially now in the time of COVID. Social distance, lack of sharing, little to no play time, and masks that conceal emotions is no way to nurture young children socially. But even in a time when this doesn't exist, homeschooling is becoming more and more popular with so many opportunities to be with other children and families. This was priority one with my social children. I immediately began to identify my friends and neighbors that would be homeschooling and started surrounding my kids with this little circle. We go on nature adventures together with lots of plans for field trip outings and fort building play times. Socialization is far less about how to defend yourself from bullying and keep up with the other kids and far more about how to be a good human. And no one cares more about my children becoming good humans than me.
When you start looking for homeschool, like anything, you can find all of the resources you need. You just have to be willing to crack the door open. I scoured the internet for resources and Amazon for books. I started to find the things that made my soul say, AH. We have fallen more into the Waldorf-inspired ways with a touch of Charlotte Mason and a good bit of Self-Directed Learning/Unschooling. We're doing some curriculum stuff (I'll link the full list below) and a lot of random resources to learn art, nature, guitar, Spanish, and Social studies. And behind all of the core subjects, we are just learning how to do life. Be good people. Contribute to the home. Become independent and responsible and helpful and caring. Some of our chosen topics are mom led and some are kid-led. We're finding our groove and balance.
I have resisted so much of this. I have resisted being a "stay at home" mom and a "homeschool" mom because of how society devalues this work, but I have resolved what I have believed the world wants from me and only care what my soul wants. I have resisted being an Unschooler because it just sounds so low-achiever, when it's anything but when done with intention. I have resisted being my children's "teacher" when parents are the obvious teachers for so much and I needed to redefine what I have come to know about learning and school. All paradigm shifts all leading to a happier me and happier them.
For us, we will do this until this doesn't work. Maybe that's the end of the year. Maybe it's the end of high school. And probably it's somewhere in between.
There is real magic in all of this. Magic in the time when bored lounging leads to a tickle fest which leads to spider play which leads to asking if he wants to make a spider, which I quickly look for a tutorial on Pinterest, which led to scissor skills. It lies in wanting to play the guitar, which led to a business that included math and reading and hard work and a real product. It included taking care of your customers and thank you notes and patience. It's the moments that I can't predict or plan but that we have available to us because we've left space for them. The magic in this also lies in what I've manifested. You see, for years, I was working tirelessly to build a residual income so that I could pull back the reigns and do just this: Explore with my children and be fully present with them. That's it. That was my main motivation. I wanted travel and adventures and while the travel is on hold, it's incredible what adventures lie in your back yard when you start paving new trails. As I was driving to our river adventure today, all of this flashed before my eyes, and I'm always in awe at how things come together exactly as they should. So maybe that's your starting space. To look inside your heart and see how much of this aligns with your greatest vision of yourself as the Matriarch.
The Call of the Wild and Free, by Ainsley Arment
Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom by Kerry McDonald
Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne
Blossom and Root
SECOND GRADE CURRICULUM
Language Arts: Blossom and Root
Social Studies: Currently this is somewhat open-ended with room to see where they gravitate. This is a mix of current events, geography, fun culture exploration through food, books, art, and maps. We have a book list with lots of multi-cultural read-a-louds, like Tia Lola Comes to Stay, My Diario, Thunder Rose, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky. This is what led to learning Spanish.
Geography: FunSchooling Seven Amazing Continents
Science: Nature. Lots of nature exploration. We also have the Nature Journal from The Good and the Beautiful
Right now we are not doing history, but if our social studies branches off into interest, we will use Oh Freedom by Woke Homeschooling
APPS and OTHERS
Duolingo App for Spanish
Eat2Explore Cultural food box
Let's Make Art
Kids Art Spot
Big Life Journal