learning with them

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I’d like to start by saying I certainly don’t have anything against public school, private school or any in-between system you’ve found for your family. There are still so many opportunities for adventure, outside time, advanced learning, learning from parents and family time while attending a traditional school, and I think there are a lot of really wonderful things about being in a classroom setting. For us right now homeschool is feeling like an eyeopening option we hadn’t really considered before. Sorry if I come on overly strong. I’m not here with the intent to offend or say what anyone else is doing is wrong. For our kids and our family at this point, homeschool is where we’re supposed to be.

This homeschool thing… I can’t get enough of it! I still laugh thinking about how much I’ve ‘changed my tune’ in just the last few months. In fact, I told a friend in November,”I really just don’t think it’s for us….” Fast forward to a month ago and I can’t stop reading homeschool blogs, researching curriculum and making notes of everything I want to study with my kids! We only have thirteen years until Madeline leaves for college! There’s so much I want to read about and see. It’s hard not to get carried away, especially because they’re still five and three… but I can’t stress enough how good we’re feeling at the start of this adventure. I feel a new zest for life and a new purpose I didn’t realize I was lacking. A few months ago I was counting down to the first day of kindergarten. Now I’m so grateful for the opportunity to soak up every minute with my baby birds before they leave the nest.

This is not to say I haven’t stressed over this big decision, or had a freakout or two. There is almost too much information out there. Some days I step back and think,”When/how did we become a homeschool family!?” I know there will be many days where I’ll be desperate for ten minutes in an empty house or so close to sending them to school.  But the good we’re feeling really outweighs any cons. We’re kind of stoked for what’s to come.

I thought Madeline might be disappointed to some degree, but she’s shown very few signs, if any, of missing out on a “school experience”. I sat down with her before we started and asked her how she felt about it. We talked about the pros and cons of both options. I wanted her to feel involved in this decision and she really wanted to pursue homeschool. She’s connecting with other homeschoolers, including our favorite babysitter who she adores.

While in the meat section of Costco a few weeks ago, Luke pointed out the raw chicken and explained to me that uncooked chicken can make you sick so you have to wash your hands if you touch it. Somewhat surprised that he knew that, I asked him where he learned so much. He shrugged his shoulders and responded,”um… homeschool.” I couldn’t stop laughing or kissing him, right there between the chicken and the fish. I’m glad he likes it too :)

Our days are pretty relaxed thus far. Keep in mind, Madeline isn’t even old enough for kindergarten, and this started last month as an experiment to see if it was even what we wanted. However, adding some routine to our days has been really beneficial for all of us. They seriously love it, they ask for school! And I’m not about to say no to learning just because she’s a preschooler working through a 1st grade math book and learning about nouns and verbs.

I’m planning to structure our mornings just a little more, mostly for my benefit, or rather to force me to loosely plan a few things beyond the math and language books we’re using and to encourage us to get dressed more ;) Pregnancy isn’t helping me there… (How do I still have three months left??!) As we continue to find our rhythm I’d like to share more specifics of what we’re working on and what books we’re using.

Anyway, the reason I started this post was simply to document how wonderful this morning was. I thought I’d get some cleaning done before getting started with school, but before I knew it I was (happy to be) getting sucked in to a lesson on space. Inspired by the background of a bedtime story, Madeline decided she was going to make a solar system for her room. She pulled out all the books in our house referencing the planets and started off on a galactic adventure. Soon she was shedding real crocodile tears because Pluto isn’t a planet anymore. We researched what makes a planet and why Pluto isn’t a planet anymore, I honestly didn’t know. When we got to the third qualification for planets, I read, “A planet must have “cleared the neighborhood” of it’s orbit.” I asked her if she had any idea what that means, and explained it was okay if she didn’t, I had to look it up. She thought for a second and responded,”It means to be a planet it has to get all the space rocks and matter out of the path it travels around the sun.” *picks up jaw off the ground* “Yep. That’s right. You’re already smarter than me.”

Learning about Pluto’s new title, dwarf planet, and that it has four buddies, was enough to stop the flow of tears and we continued on to finish the eight planets. Luke wandered over and worked on his own little solar system for a while. We talked about gravity, moons, astronauts, the layers of the atmosphere and I listened to a dozen facts Madeline rattled off from her various book readings. She is constantly telling us the craziest things, we look them up and sure enough they’re true!

We finished up by watching this video (If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend it. It’s mind boggling) and I stood back and marveled at the life magic happening right before my eyes. How blessed I am to get to be learning right along with my kids! To follow them wherever their thirst for knowledge leads them, to witness their learning epiphanies and help them discover the tools they need to learn about anything they want – all from our kitchen table! With birds chirping, tulips blooming, breeze blowing through open windows and natural light all around us. They finish their studies early and then they play. Which is exactly what they should spend their childhood doing! Learning from the world around them, having adventures and using their imaginations. Their natural thirst for knowledge is beautiful and powerful. They inspire me.

Today is beautiful. Life is beautiful. Feeling so incredibly grateful for this new way we’ve found to immerse ourselves in it.

Now to do all that cleaning I put off this morning!

Happy Thursday friends.


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