I have been fairly quiet lately, as you know the world has shifted and changed, and I have been trying to sort out all this information along with all the feelings that come with it. It is so easy to feel consumed by the negative, because oh man what a year 2020 has proven to be. Social media has become so incredibly overwhelming and it is so easy to get lost within it.
I really wanted to take my camera out and just document some of what this all means to me, what all these changes were. What surprised me most about following my family around today with my camera was the learning, the connection and the love. Today is my husbands birthday and I wanted today to be a "break" from homeschooling. Turns out, we homeschooled anyway. And no I do not mean the "homeschooling" forced upon a large portion of this world. I mean homeschooling that was planned and chosen long before my child reached school age. My son/oldest started kindergarten this year and we have been homeschooling since day one, my daughter a very active participant as a pre-schooler is also homeschooled. Not that what all those amazing parents are doing is not important, but it is such a different experience for them I am sure to just be thrust into a new role as their child(ten)'s teacher. Their child must have a sense of complete disruption where their role is now their parents pupil(s).
You may think that this is normal for us, this type of homeschooling. But I can tell you it most definitely is not. Until almost two weeks ago, we had a minimum of two planned social activities planned per day. We did learning classes, we did social play dates and all kinds of wonderful adventures. To be honest though, that was about as far as my planning really went into my children's day to day activities was the play dates and educational programs (like ballet, swimming, jujitsu and more). I am very fond of pursuing my children's interests and teaching based on what they want to learn or work on that day. I do enforce some intentional learning into their days, but I follow their lead on how they want to learn that. Anyway, I have recently been a approached by many asking advice on homeschooling, and here is my number one piece of advice, because realistically homeschooling can be done a thousand ways. But the only way it is going to work, is if you connect with your child. That's it, connect with your child. And this can be done a million ways, and I promise if you connect with your child they will learn, if you lose that connection that is ok too, you can find it again.
But here is how our day went today.
First thing they wanted to do was give their dad his birthday present. An art project we began three days ago for dads birthday. Paris of Plaster handprints, that the kids painted.
Next up learning and working on her photography skills. While he modeled with some flowers.
Making brunch with dad. While she revisits a dinosaur skeleton they excavated last week.
Some long term projects of growing plants for our garden and crystals to learn about geodes.
We can not forget our red wrigglers that we inherited from another homeschool family a few weeks back. Gotta get better at stirring them more frequently......
Staying connected to the people we love, and missing the people we are used to seeing every day.
Finding balance of pretending laundry doesn't exist, getting exercise without my gym, and keeping the house clean....
Don't forget free play to connect with each other, snuggle pets, and just be themselves.
To highlight one of my favourites from today. We received our shipping of creatures to study, watch, interact with and learn from. We are so excited for this experience from http://shop.butterflyab.ca. What we received are isopods (to help the red wrigglers with the composting), ootheca (preying mantis eggs), flightless fruit flies (to feed the mantis) and Triassic Triops (we may have gotten carried away and used all the baby food and the eggs at once - was not recommended.... so we shall see on the outcome on those ones). Anyway we are so excited to learn and observe and if you want to follow along I am sure I will be making more posts in the near future about them.
We decided we needed some sunshine and exercise so hunted for branches for the mantis.
Don't forget we need to bake a cake for dads birthday... or as per his request, a crisp or two.
This may seem like a lot, or maybe not enough to you, the reader. I don't know to be honest. But if you pay close attention you will see the children's building blocks within their education, setting them up to continuously learn a stream of new things, new experiences, new questions, new thoughts, new ideas, new ways to interact with their world and building on their connection to all things. And I for one think that is a pretty incredible and magical thing.
If you have read this far thank you, and I truly hope you have a takeaway from this that is meaningful and hopeful. Wishing you all well on this new path the world has set before us. Please do not hesitate with any questions or comments you may have.