Homeschool Life

This year is the year I am finally owning the story that I have engineered with so much care, and written for our family.

I’ve been homeschooling – or rather had E at home now – for over a year, and before now I’ve sort of hid in the shadows at owning that I homeschool. Saying it in half whispers to people in conversation, assuring myself that she’s still so young that I didn’t have to look like I knew what I was doing yet, having stacks of books to read on the best way to do it all, a myriad of images and ideas and to do’s and best ways, all smudged over with a smooth glaze of busy-ness and life and travel plans and teething baby.

I’ve felt the need to prove to our loved ones that I am “schooling her at home”. Even to the husband who is so on board with this and backs me in any way that I think is the best way to do it.

I’ve followed amazing blogs – tagged at the end – who showcase amazingly successful homeschooling lives of unschooling., world schooling. following the world of the child, Waldorf inspired days and curriculums – all sorts. And most of them I have shouted a huge YES to inside, but then still tried to set up our days like school, with sitting at the table to learn and do worksheets and provide something to PROVE that I am doing school right.

But, and its a huge but, with a massive sigh of relief attached to it….. I don’t want to do it like that at all. I KNOW that that is not the best way for my little girl to learn. I don’t believe in it, I subscribe so much more to the methods of waldorf and unschooling. Through learning via real life interactions. Using daily activities to expand knowledge and look things up and learn as curiosity is piqued. Maths and English are used in every moment daily, we really truly don’t need to sit there with a stale worksheet.

In fact E loves academia and curriculum. I have no struggle to get her to do a worksheet. She loves it. But the act of making it formal and asking her to sit for “school”. A huge turnoff. An immediate resistance. But when we do it in the spirit of part of our day. As fun. As exciting learning. It’s incredible the difference it makes.

I think I’ve been trying to create routine because life seems so chaotic daily, but in completelty the wrong way. Ive been trying to set rigid boundaries so that I don’t go insane myself with the intensity of it, but all I’ve been doing is building us up a cage of walls that of course we are all going to kick against.

Instead I am working on a rhythm. We are not there just yet, things are changing as we find things that work better. But we are getting there. Instead of a rigid set time and tasks, I instead have a to do list for the day that can flow in a specific way, if it works. And if it doesn’t then as long as we do those things in the scope of the day, at any time, then that is just fine.

E also has other unique variances (undiagnosed – by choice – Aspergers but thats a story for a different post), and so the art of learning also has additional challenges to circumnavigate. She wants to play in a very specific intense repetitive way. And learn in the same way. And is very resistant to anything too set up or “teachy”. Always thinks she is right and will argue in a very clever manner to make it so. Does not understand make believe and real life. Cannot understand or tolerate anything with un-relatable concepts such as talking animals….Lots of variables! And this sometimes makes a more Waldorf inspired (storytelling and art) form more difficult.

So we are taking strands from a variety of sources now. And I am weaving a tapestry. For her and for me. To make it feel good. And it doesn’t look like anything that is “expected” of us. Its unique and kind of exciting. But only because I’ve stepped into it. I feel like I am owning this story now. I know what we are doing. And I no longer feel the need to prove it to anyone but us. Life is so short, and so fast. And we are homeschooling for exactly the reason to be able to slow down. Fully soak in their childhoods and a life lived well and on purpose. And that picture is a whole lotta different from the normal road.

It will be lovely to have you follow along, give me some inspiration and be witness to the beautiful colours of the weaves that we make.

 

Oooh and those amazing homeschool blogs….here are just a few:

http://happinessishereblog.com

http://thiswholehome.com

http://themulberryjournal.com

http://bewildandfree.org

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The Quiet

We made it home. A whirlwind beautiful ending to our adventure with family in Canberra. And there it was. The end. The end of the long anticipated leap from daily life. The end of no plans and freedom and space to grow and room to change and hashing out all of the bullshit we’d been building in our lives for the past 17 years.

Our adventure was so so good. It’s exactly what we needed, alongside what we were dreaming of.

And after it was done, I was so excited to be coming ‘home’. Feeling at a place of strength and contentment. Ready to put our feet back on Yorkshire soil, with the people we love. And being living our lives authentically, consciously, with daily choice and a new rhythm of slower and good for us. No more duty or shoulds. Lots of careful self-care. Time at last for our own selves, and our little unit of 4 to be the priority around which we build our daily lives.

I have to admit we rode back in on a blaze of glory and I was expecting our lives back home to begin fresh. With lots of changes and new patterns and assuming that the world, and our loved ones, would just slot in beautifully around it all. It was in fact a bit of a crash landing after all. Maybe my dreamer heart is always a but naive? Whatever the reason I’m always pushed easily when my version of the world is challenged. Or maybe I’ve just never been tested before motherhood and so learning how to be strong takes a lot of practice. And the lessons just keep on a coming.

I love the cold we’ve come home to. Truly. I am a winter soul at heart. The chance to have a reason to be slow, and curled inwards, and resting and charging up. Time to think and snug and warm up and uncoil.

We’re staying put for a while. Now that we appreciate the value of the things we have here, in this house, in this town, at this season of our lives. A little tweaking to make it like home again and it is right for us right now.

And inside the home and our own family dance it could not be sweeter. We know who we are. We know what we need. We now know how to take care of ourselves. With love, and respect, and a real understanding borne from living and breathing each other daily for the last 3 months.

It’s stepping our toes back in to life around us that’s blowing me around a little. Buffeting against the sails and I wasn’t expecting a storm to come with the feeling of new found strength. It’s a good thing. Testing our ship and the ropes and sails we have built. It’s kind of scary. But exciting too. And nothing threatening either. Just the simple ins and outs of daily life, admin, demands, boundary testing, the needs of more than one voice. Real life I guess.

And as long as I keep the reminders close of the choices we made, and the dreams we spoke of, and the daily stars we want to navigate by. Then this ship is sailing just fine. I’ve just got to hold my nerve and keep my hand on the wheel. Right here is where both the real adventure and the test truly begins.

We’ve joked all of our married life that my husband is the Captain and I am the Navigator. I think and research and dream and tell him the path to take….and he is the one with the fire and the drive and the power to get us moving towards that distant destination. And now we have two beautiful little crew members. Both of them teaching us daily and taking up the same space and importance as us.

And so instead of raring ahead and go go go like life around us. I am embracing this month as a month of quiet. And resettling. I am not rushing or forcing or bending. This life going forward is so important to us. To me. That we move forward the way that we have always wanted. Because it’s so easy to get swept up into the daily race again. And I don’t want to be moved along in the flow of that river anymore.

We are sailing our own ocean now. Navigating it the way our hearts have told us for years but we’ve never been brave enough to listen. Well now those voices are too loud to ignore and my body and soul feel strong. Our own story. It’s time.

Contentment and Moving On

So many lessons learned and I’ve finally found a sense of whole-ness and the way that I want our life to feel. Coming away has been the best thing we have ever done, and we are ready to come home, as who we really are.

There’s so much more to say, but that can wait for another day. It’s early on a Monday morning here and pretty pictures feel right. For now, these are our last few memories of Bali xx

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Island Time – New Friends

It’s amazing how meeting the right people can change your whole perspective on life. In only a moment.

Meeting this gorgeous family online before our trip has been one of the best things to happen to us.

Not only are they awesomely cool and relaxed and showing us how to do it all with humour and less stress, but they have also opened our eyes to healthier eating and lifestyle habits, as well as our perspective on the way we raise our children and the unique quirky challenges we’ve ourselves embraced over the last few years.

Before we left home, the pile up of things had started to create a thunderous cloud. But now having met them, it’s been blown clean away.

Our island time together on Lembongan couldn’t have been any better.

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In pursuit of Joy

I came away on this 3 month adventure with a desire to unearth the person that I am now. To rediscover some of the old. To polish up the new parts. To find a little more peace and more of the whole of me.

I love my life. I truly do. And my biggest fear with writing out loud is that I will be misunderstood. That I sound ungrateful, privileged. Guilt and shame are a big part of this and it’s something I’m working on daily.

But, I guess the bravery is in writing the words that are burning, regardless. That’s the vulnerability I so often read about, advise about, but don’t put my own nerves behind.

Part of the process involves nurturing my own mental health. In fact a very big part. Mental health alongside embracing and allowing my creativity to grow. Post Partum Depression is real and hand in hand with anxiety, they are friends I know well. It’s sort of liberating to admit that. I honestly do see the magic in my daily life, in the world, in the minutae of motherhood and marriage and all that growing as a human entails. But I do also struggle with very dark days, with fluctuations in mood and fog, with fear, doubt. Sometimes I feel a bit crazy. I’ve found the last 5 years sometimes a really big struggle. There are mountains climbed that have had a huge impact on who I am and how I relate as a mother and a wife. And generally how I relate to myself and the rest of the world.

I wanted this journey away to be an uncovering. A re-discovery of joy that has fizzled out with spreading too thin, with supporting and guiding my babies, with running too hard for too long and carrying a lot of emotional weight around. There’s baggage to lose and things to embrace and old ideas to slake away. There’s gold to unearth and new thoughts and ideas desperate to be given attention.

The biggest part of recent times, when the going has got really tough, is the totally un-radical notion of self care. Lack of any sort of link back to self has made this pyramid collapse on more than one occasion and I’m too long now in the shade of grey that was left behind. I want to feel energised and motivated and loving and kind-hearted, and full. And just not so flaming tired of it all.

There is so much light leaking out that this shell is ready to be cracked, and I need to write about that process. I’m scared of what those close to me will think with all the honesty. It’s not really the done thing hey? But it’s turning me inside out keeping it inside. So I guess it needs to be said.

Sometimes motherhood and partnership and love and everything else is a beautiful monster that swallows me whole. I want to reclaim the part of that circle that is me. All of those other parts are the most beautiful of pieces, but when the piece of me is missing, the bigger picture can be a really empty place to be. And I start to lose the connection to purpose or the strength to make it out the other side when the hard stuff arrives again.

I don’t know what will happen. I’m not really searching for anything in particular. There is no grand golden dream. More a sense that I truly believe in the magic of feeling alive. I extoll this idea to everyone else around me, yet spend much of each day frustrated…far too angry and quick to explode. I have huge thoughts and notions of calm and loving guidance and nurturing, yet it only takes one thing to set off a cascade that does non of my family any good.

I write half hearted notes on here about revelling in little arms and the here and now and being present. But it’s not enough. So this is going to get a little deep. If I can squeeze past the embarrassment barricade at the door…..

It’s going to be #inpursuitofjoy. In the small moments. In the quiet times. In the hard and uncomfortable and mundane. I would love it so much if you would travel alongside me. To point out signposts on the way or tend to each other when we feel wounded or scared. To cheerlead along. To be positive but also hold space for the crappy feelings too.

I know its going to be a thousand small changes and steps. That’s one of the biggest hurdles, trying not to race to the finish line. There is no finish line. This is a lifelong thread.

And so to document those tiny baby bits. I don’t want to curate a life online that’s reaching out for help and support but half heartedly with a few words that are screaming for connection but never actually lay the door open to do that.

I’ve sort of gone off on a ramble here, but I suppose that’s how it’s going to go. I hope we can take a ride on this road together for a while.

Portraits | Noah Ray

I’m determined whilst we are travelling to spend more time on capturing my babies personalities as best I can. To watch them, to document them. To practice what I shout so loudly about – to capture my love on camera of all their finest details, and raw messy moments. I hope they look back on them in the years ahead and see the love I have for them

x

Noah – My Little Acorn

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