This year our twins joined Maddie in “formal” schooling. I have felt more lost this year than the first year I began homeschooling. Adding two more minds, bodies, and emotions to our morning has thrown me for a loop. I have been grasping at straws for how to incorporate our morning chores, breakfast, sit down work, and still have my sanity in tact by lunch time.
I have tried chores before and after breakfast. I have tried chores after lunch. Our days have looked like a jammed together jig saw puzzle that refuses to fall into place. I have pushed through trying to conquer the beast. I have cried and wondered if I should give up. I would rise up with confidence to try the process again only to end in frustrated tears.
I talked to trusted and loved friends and family. They all assured me all I needed to do was step back and breathe. Yet, for the life of me I could not step back and breathe. I was holding the reigns tightly of what I wanted accomplished this year. It was if I held the reigns of an out of control horse and I was being dragged through emotional thorn bushes and physical bruises were appearing.
Finally, thankfully, I was able to hear breathe, prioritize, and breathe some more. I stopped and prayed. I stopped and went back to the Thomas Jefferson Education principles we have adopted into our home. Two years later, even after seeing the positive effects on our kids. Even after seeing them thrive I still struggle to remember the only tools my kids need is a halter. They do not need a saddle, bit, or crop to learn. They need the freedom of a halter. They need me to listen to them. They need me to spend time with them in their passions and desires. They need me.
When I stopped freaking out, breathed, prioritized, and took another breath here is what I heard my kids say:
- We want time with you in the kitchen! There is a ton of learning that happens when the kids are in the kitchen. They learn to receive instruction and learn what happens when instruction is ignored. They learn sweet success in their tasty accomplishments. They learn perseverance when a recipe takes longer than they had thought it would. Reading, math, science, and handwriting are reinforced within a single recipe.
- Science should be on our list of things to do everyday! Science experiments also incorporate reading, math, and handwriting. Science teaches them to think through out comes, it teaches them to consider what will happen in the future, and to learn from the past. It creates giggles and relationships as they work together and with me.
- Play Games with us mom! Maddie has recently learned how to play Settlers of Catan. The first time she played it she had to quickly add the dice, keep track of her points she was earning, and learned the value of a trading society. That day she learned that the purpose of her sit down work is to make her everyday life quicker. She now dives into her math knowing it does indeed have a purpose.
- Let’s Read! My kids will sit and listen to me reading stories for hours. They love the cuddle time, story lines, and discussing the happenings in the stories we read.
- I want to learn, but give me time. I cannot force light bulb moments in my kids lives. I can however continue to give them all the information they need to allow the light bulb moment to surface. When the light bulb moment happens they catapult forward because they have the tools and understanding of what they are doing. More often than not when my kids finally have their light bulb moment they jump five spaces ahead.
Now that I have given up control in what I think our year should like I find myself breathing easier, my kids are happier, and learning has begun to be fun again. I needed to step out of my comfort zone, take my family out of the learning box I had put us in, and listen.
It has been a bumpy road and I’m sure we will continue to hit rough patches, but I’m encouraged that we have direction. I’m encouraged and thankful that the Lord reminded me to take a breath and listen to the hearts of my kiddos.
This morning we did our very first sight word scavenger hunt. The kids were giggling, excited, and reading! When we were done they wanted to make sure I made it a part of our mornings! For the first time I heard them loud and clear! We will indeed be incorporating it into our mornings and I will be sure to continue listening to our kids ideas for more fun learning adventures!