As we watched to the news of local schools shifting gears to all online education for the new school year, I thought of our homeschooling adventures. We have been homeschooling for a while now. This September will mark the beginning of our 5th year of homeschooling. Homeschooling just like anything we tackle in life is not all roses and rainbows. I have and am continuing to learn how to encourage the girls to try things, learn new skills, and be courageous in exploring unknown without pushing them over the edge. I have learned to observe and acknowledge kids' growth that is not clean-cut as numbers and letters on the transcript. I also figured out how to fulfill the checklist which the educational system requires for homeschooling families to complete. Staying on top of logistics takes some organization but it's not rocket science.
So why start documenting more formally this year?
I want to focus on who they are becoming not just what they accomplish. Their interests, challenges, as well as highlights in the broadest sense of education not just "academics". I want them and us to look back and reflect "wow. we have done a lot of different things even though it felt like we were just doing what we enjoyed". Because when we homeschool by following natural rhythm instead of a strict time table and "block" schedule, some days feel like we had fully engaging productive days and other days the total opposite. But I am starting to see that "those days" that feel like we didn't do anything "on paper" are the most important days. Like today. Today was a continuation of a discussion about how to get along with each other even when we are tired. How do we move forward when one of us is feeling upset. What can the person do and what can the rest of us do to support? We learned so much from what we shared today even though I wouldn't call today "easy". I want to make sure that we write those learning insights down. To remind ourselves how much we are learning from each other by sharing this life together.
On the first page of my "Homeschooling Diary", I jotted down what's important to our family's homeschooling which both Frido and I agreed upon five years ago and also again this week to renew our so-called "family contract". I love all that's on the list so I thought I would share it with you.
- Be consistent
- Focus on the relationship
- See the person not the product
- If kids are playing, don't disturb them
- Think of Mrs. Janet (She is my favorite teacher Coco was lucky to have last year. I helped the classroom and watched her. The way she went through the day was awe-inspiring. So whenever I feel pushed to the corner with parenting frustration, I try to think of her...)
- Every kid has a unique path and has her own way of learning
- Our work as parents is to appreciate the kids for who they are and their differences
Whenever I pick up this beautiful William Morris Organizer that is dedicated to seeing through one of the most important works I have committed to do, to homeschool our kids, and to continuously learn alongside them, I feel welcomed, supported from within, and focused.