Has it really been an entire week since I was last in this space? Really? My, time flies. Well, when last I was here, I mentioned that Robin, Coree, and I would be speaking at the Biodynamic Farming Conference over the weekend. That has already been days ago at this point. A lot of water has passed under that bridge. Silly me… I was so apprehensive about the whole thing and our talk, or “conversation” rather, went just fine. Especially when, towards the end of our time my dear husband walked in with a tray of beverages for the three of us. (Beer for Robin and me, tea for Coree who was feeling a bit under the weather.) The group of attendees, mostly women but a few exceptional men, couldn’t have been better. Once we farmwives finished up our blabbing… I mean sharing our experiences… we opened the floor for questions. For me, that was the best part. I got to hear stories and questions from some pretty remarkable people.
One woman in particular has been in my mind since our talk. She queried about how homeschooling our children is incorporated into our overflowing days. I could tell she was in the thick of it, in her own life. I did my best to answer her question, but I was left feeling trite and inadequate and maybe not very helpful.
Damn if I don’t really know the answer. I guess, as a matter of speaking, there is more than one way to skin a cat. Some days are smooth. Some aren’t. Some days the children are eager to be involved in whatever we are doing. Some days they even help without being asked. Some days they don’t help when I beg and bribe. Some days I feel like my kids are eager to do some “schoolwork” and other days I think they would prefer to shovel out the outhouse. Just when I feel like my kids are geniuses, I suddenly want to scream because I get asked a simple question that I know I have answered a million times already. And on and on. Day in and day out.
Clearly, I’m fumbling along here.I have found, in my limited experience, that each child is different. Very different, in fact. I do have a Waldorf-based homeschool curriculum that I very loosely use as a guide, like a beacon in times of darkness, but for me and my family it is not the definitive end all. The nature of our lives here on the farm determines so much of what we do. For those of you who homeschool in a more urban setting, I’m sure your experiences differ greatly from my own. Or maybe they don’t. I have no grounds for comparison, really. All I know is that if you are homeschooling your children, you spend a lot of time with them. Obviously, a lot of that time is not spent on schoolwork, but on living your respective lives.
So my best answer, simply put, is to incorporate the child.
Even if it makes you want to pull your hair out on occasion, take a deep breath and Incorporate the child in whatever you are doing as much as possible. I mean, I’m not so hard core as to make the kids suit up and go with me to milk the cow when it’s seventeen degrees if they don’t want to (even though not so long ago that was a simple fact of life), but you get my point. After all, the decision to homeschool was made by some adult in your household for some reason or another. It’s only human nature to question ourselves, especially in times of uncertainty. I don’t think I’ve ever met another parent that feels 100 percent confident 100 percent of the time. Our questioning is a good thing. It leads to growth.
Probably the most beautiful thing about homeschooling, other than being witness to my children’s expanding horizons, is that there is just so much opportunity. Big lessons can sneak into the mundane tasks associated with life. Lessons don’t always have to be dramatic or overly orchestrated. A child’s curiosity is an amazing force. Just be present. Be with your child(ren) and experience the world together. Incorporate the child, let them feel their worth, and enjoy the journey.