Since beginning to homeschool almost 8 months ago, our family has grown in so many ways. We have made more changes in this short amount of time then at any other period in our family’s 13 years. Our changes are working.
relaxing our routine - homeschooling requires flexibility. Just because we start our lessons at 9am every day with a checklist laid out in front of me, does not mean that every thing on that checklist will get done. Since we are not locked into a school-like structure, we can spend two hours on history if we choose or if it is a bad day, break out the art supplies and lift everyone’s spirits. This has also extended to relaxing my super strict adherence to a 8:00 bedtime. Now it is 8:30ish, with Lilah staying up until at least 9:00pm writing or reading or crafting in the learning room. It is working.
rediscovering the joy in my children - how I despised sending my children elsewhere for eight hours where they would spend the best part of their day with other adults! My time with them was rushing to get homework done, rushing to get to lessons, rushing to get dinner on the table, rushing to get to bed by 8:30. It reminds me of when I was working and Grace was an infant. I would come home from school at 4:30, feed her dinner and put her to bed at 6:00. She slept from 6:00pm to 6:00am for three years. Two and a half hours with my daughter simply was not enough so I quit my job. I love having this time with my daughters to spend the best part of their day with them. It is working.
new friends - homeschooling requires a support group. I am blessed to have found one so easily. We certainly do not all teach the same, or approach education in the same way but they are always there to lend an ear, a book, a resource or a shoulder to cry on. I am thankful every day for my new friends. It is working.
farm fresh eggs - through my new friends I have discovered many areas in myself that I would like to develop. One friend raises chickens. She has the most delicious eggs I have ever tasted. Having her eggs makes it impossible for me to eat store bought eggs. I have searched out all the local farms in my area that sell eggs. My fridge is always stocked with beautiful tri-colored eggs. It is working.
worm composting- I have a desire to reduce our waste. Some things I just cannot see throwing away. We recycle of course, but what about food scraps? Why was I dumping all the carrot tops, potato peels and lettuce cores into the trash to rot when they could rot and turn into something useful? I have always wanted a compost but living in a busy neighborhood have been afraid of unwelcome nightly visitors to our pile. Now I worm compost in my basement. It has only been a few weeks but I love my little worm garden and tend to it faithfully. It is working.
organic gardening - the compost will be used to fertilize our organic garden that is part of a larger community garden in town. This was our first year and so far has been successful. We have tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, basil, cilantro, beans, peas, turnip, corn, brussel sprouts, pumpkin, carrots, and eggplant. Together we have learned how to fertilize, combat pests and pollenate. We love the spirit of community working next to our friends and neighbors. It has been a wonderful experience for Lilah. It is working.
books on tape - how much time have we spent over 10 years listening to silly songs on the radio? It pains me to think about it. Since beginning homeschooling, we rarely listen to the radio, preferring to listen to books on tape instead. Rather than listen to Miley sing about the Britney song, we have listened to Little House in The Big Woods. Rather than listen to Justin sing about no more lonely girls, we have listened to Main Street by Ann Martin. It is most certainly working!
spontaneity - so many more yes’s. Since homeschooling, I have consciously decided to become more spontaneous. So many opportunities have passed me by in the past because a) it was too late or b) it did not fit into our schedule or c) the girls would not like it. Now I find myself saying yes much more often. To see a play, to visit a new friend, to try a new project, to take a new class, to have a picnic in a park, to stay up late to watch a show on Food Network, to help make dinner, to take a walk. I put down my knitting, reading or inhibitions, and just say yes. It is working.
raw veggies- right now we are dealing with a possible gluten intolerance and a child who has not been the most healthy while in school. Since homeschooling, Lilah is now eating three meals a day rather than just one. She is expanding her repertoire of foods that she will eat, which now include broccoli, peas, and green beans....all eaten raw. She likes them best raw, where they have the most nutritional value. I love it. It is working.
gluten free- had I not made all the changes above, I would have approached this latest change in my life with fear and apprehension. I was always the mom who said nope, we don’t have any food allergies! Bring on the peanut butter cookies, the pizza, the strawberry tart, and the ice cream. It seems our luck has run out. Since being off gluten for over a week, she has had no stomach aches. She has had no joint pain. She is eating better, not that she was a picky eater, but her food choices are now better. Her nightly snack of graham crackers ( the main culprit of the bedtime stomach ache) has been replaced by rice cakes. Being off bread is good for many reasons, especially since we are a family that likes carbs....and we are finding our way through this. My friends are gluten free and I was watched them and learned. Grace is not suffering from being gluten free. Between the gluten free department at our grocery store and a willingness on my part to learn everything I have to about this, we will only grow from this latest family change. And so far, it is working.