Well, we made it through our first week of homeschooling. It really doesn't feel like that big of a feat given what just normal living looks like right now, but I am loving this adventure and may want to chronicle it a bit. And maybe it can help you too. I outdid myself on day 1 and probably set myself up for failure for upcoming years, but I so much wanted the first day to be filled with newness and excitement and that's what it was. I didn't really share any of their new supplies or books or puzzles with them and so it was a bit like Christmas morning. Cinnamon rolls for breakfast and then lots of new fun things to explore. They even got a box of dress-up silks from my mother-in-law and so it was honestly almost a bit overwhelming with the little bit of lesson work that I wanted in there as well. I was on my A-game too, like it was the first day of a new job. Lyla LOVED it. Luca was spent. And by 5pm, I happily poured myself a glass of wine.
Day 2 and four were the best days. The days we adventured. Got into nature. Took our lessons with us or left them at home and jumped in after we ventured. They were what this was all about and what I need to remember when I think that we need to check off another worksheet. On these days I got more I Love Yous and You're So Nice than probably any other day as a mom. Their little souls were happy.
Day 3 was the day that I feared and dreaded and all of the reasons that I told myself that I could never do it. It was the day that they didn't want to start (no problem, I let them play longer) and then when they did, rejected everything I was saying. And I suppose by they, I mean Lyla. She was rude and defiant and trudged her attitude all over of for the first few hours of the day. This was exactly why I said that I couldn't homeschool. I couldn't do this with her. But it turns out that I can. And that her defiant behavior toward math was no different than her defiant behavior if I asked her to clean her room. It was still parenting and still my job. And so while all of the fears and drama dialogue tried to take over in my head, I was able to come back to myself pretty quickly. Let myself realize that this is no different. No different than parenting during a pandemic. None at all. And I could do this. In fact this day was so important because it was the day of lessons. The day of confidence. It was the day that allowed me to gets entered with her and for us to have a great conversation on community. It was the day we both expressed how much we love our adventures... but that won't be everyday. And we still need to take care of our responsibilities. It was the day that I knew I absolutely could do this.
Highlights of the week
There were so many great moments over the week, like reading Paul Bunyan after lunch and the kids cracking up at the exaggerations which made the transition into a lesson so easy. Later in the week, I took Lyla to an outdoor stage to do an acting narration of the story and she killed it and had me rolling all over again.
Spanish! One of Lyla's big goals was to learn Spanish and I had been trying out different things. One thing that was recommended so fiercely was TalkBox.Mom. I was hoping it would be something we could do together but Luca wanted nothing to do with it so while he is doing play-doh, Lyla and I begin. We're having so much fun with it that the next thing you know, he's joining in and once again, we are all laughing and smiling that we are speaking Spanish together. What a treat!
And then there are just the sweet moments. Running into friends when we were going to read outside but turning it into adventure and discovery and the whole dreaded "socialization" for homeschoolers. Or Monday baking which leads to proud work. Or again, just all of the love that is pouring out of them. The reminder that this is what it's about. The time and relationships and being able to be the one that has the biggest influence on their life at this age.
Lessons of the week
Other than our big learning moment on Wednesday, there are little lessons starting to carve themselves out. Things like curriculum. I knew we were going to be a little light on what we decided on so already ordered the Spanish program with TalkBox.Mom, Handwriting (Handwriting Without Tears), and History (Blossom and Root's River of Voices). Speaking of Blossom and Root and can't say I love this program enough. Part of me wishes I would've just bought the whole second grade curriculum and part of me is still happy to go easy and give us more freedom. I love though, that it still allows for that. I don't feel pressured to check a box or fall into perfectionism. I love that we can go off on a tangent, skip something, or just follow through.
Schooling multi-age children is challenging and I can see that I am likely putting unnecessary pressure on myself here. Teaching Lyla is much easier than teaching Luca. Maybe because it is in some of the more measurable, academic areas at her age. I think also, because even when I am focusing on a "lesson for Luca" Lyla likes to take a leadership roll. She's more curious in these departments where he still just wants to play. And that's how it should be. He should play and play and play. Because he is still learning so much and surprising me with all he knows just by playing and running alongside his sister. But I think this will be one of those worries that ebbs and flows for me. Is he getting enough?
The Best part
One of the things that I realized this week, was just how I have manifested all of this. You see as I was building businesses, I was racing to build a residual income so I could do exactly what I am doing right here: Adventure with my kids. I suppose the biggest difference is that I thought it would be more travel but in a time of a pandemic, we have gotten creative in how we explore and it's still filled with incredible discoveries. But this is it. This is what I have wanted and how I have envisioned parenting my kids and it's all happening and for that I am thankful.