the learning arts

That time of year…

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Don’t look yet, but it’s that time of year again. I know! It can’t be, right? But it is.

I can’t help but compare this year’s beginning to all the years before. It’s such a sea change. The majority of my planning and purchasing were done very early in the summer (actually, before last school year ended). I had only to sit down for a day or so, mid-August, and tuck in specific plans to each child’s sheet. I’m using the wonderful editable printables provided by Jen Mackintosh.

The planning itself was simple and straightforward. Pulled mostly from Ambleside Online and from Memoria Press suggestions, I had only to decide on which literature choices for which child. The rest of the spine was already present from our work last year, and it was simply selecting the best supports for what we’d like to do this year. It is miles and miles from the frantic start of last year (which was probably a bit warranted, given the circumstances), and if I was honest, every homeschooling year previous to this one.

It’s a heart-level thing.

I was homeschooling for all the wrong reasons prior to them attending the public elementary school here. I can see that now, clear as day. I’m not even sure I can articulate why my reasons were wrong. In my heart, I meant right. But in the working out of it in the day to day, it all fell flat. The kids knew it, I knew it. My heart wasn’t properly in it at the time. It was, but it wasn’t. It’s hard to explain. I was striving under a heavy load without really stopping to consider if I was yoked up properly, does that make sense? A tremendous amount of spinning wheels and getting stuck in muddy, thick, ruts.

It made me dread the beginning of the year.

It’s the delight that tells me the yoke is placed properly now.

It is the delight that makes it light. We enjoy our work, we enjoy our explorations, and even when we are stretched with new concepts, we lean into the work instead of feeling like rubber bands pulled past their limits. And there is a tremendous amount of laughter and joy. Lots of Mama, come quick! See what I’ve found! Awe and wonder are our daily companions now. Sure, there is still the rough patches, still days that everything seems to go all pie-shaped, days when two kids just can’t leave each other alone…but even on those days, we are finding ways to pull together. It’s like night and day.

I have dearly loved Kyrie’s series on Homeschool (Un)planning, which articulates much of what I’ve learned since my last foray into homeschooling, and Kort’s article on Sustainable Homeschooling was just tremendous. We’ve been using the timer idea ever since!

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