Written by Kara S. Anderson
I was talking with Melissa Camara Wilkins recently about the holidays, and she asked the best question:
That took me back a step. I don’t usually think about the holidays that way – I’m too busy focusing on what to do next. I often see the Christmas season as one giant to-do list, until I can hit my bed face-first Christmas night, exhausted, but finally able to rest.
That’s not how I want to feel about the holidays, though, and that’s not how I want to feel about homeschooling.
I don’t want these years to be filled with nothing but check-boxes and to-dos.
And so I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to how our homeschool feels, and what I want it to feel like going forward.
As January rolls around in a few weeks, and we begin a new semester of learning, here are some of the things I want to focus on:
I know this is going to sound funny, but I’m a big ‘smell’ person. I like our home to smell good, but not chemically laundry-aisle-at-the-grocery store good.
So I fill our home with beeswax candles and essential oils. I want to bake more, so we bought a bread machine, and I’m going to try to make time for baking more often in our routine.
I want to try to brew a pot of tea each afternoon, have a snack and chat. I think that will really help us get through these days when it gets dark early.
Our house has become quieter over the years. There used to be a lot more running around and shouting. There used to be more TV during the day too.
As my kids get older, I find that our house can become very still – and I like it.
But I also love when we listen to an audiobook together. My tech-challenges have kept me from finding a good way to make this a regular part of our everyday, but I’m committing to learning this season – especially because I think an audiobook would pair very well with that tea and snack time I mentioned above.
When my kids were small, I knew exactly how I wanted our space to look – like a mini Waldorf or Montessori classroom with open-ended educational toys sorted into bins and baskets and accessible for free play.
As my kids get older, I have found myself struggling with this a bit, and recently, my husband and I talked about it. Our current home was never meant to be a permanent place for us, and everything is sort of shouting right now that it’s time to move.
But that probably won’t happen tomorrow. So instead, I work to try to clear spaces whenever I can, because as much as my family probably wouldn’t admit it, we all feel better when there’s less stuff.
But I’m also keeping in mind some things that I hope for in our new home – a cozy fireplace, a space big enough for all of us to watch movies together and yes – spaces for my tweens-going-on-teens to have easier computer access.
MEMORIES & TRADITIONS
When I think back on Christmas traditions that were meaningful to me, I realize now that they weren’t anything fancy. They were simple, which is probably part of the reason they kept happening!
Our homeschool traditions are simple too – going to the library and stocking up on big bags of books and then coming home to read, read, read until dinner, watching educational videos during breakfast, math on the windows, grabbing a snack after co-op, always having cocoa after being in the snow, cinnamon toast and tea before bed …
These are little things, but isn’t it the little things that make a life? Make memories?
I’ve noticed something big happening here – my kids are getting older. They are maturing, and so their needs are changing.
But even as they change and grow, I want our home to continue to be their safe place.
I heard this quote recently, and it has stayed with me:
“Elrond’s house was perfect, whether you liked food or sleep or story-telling or singing (or reading), or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all. Merely to be there was a cure for weariness.”
~ J.R.R Tolkien
And so, I want to keep considering in the months and years to come how I want out homeschool to feel. I want to keep in mind what I hope my kids will remember.
Certainly, every day won’t be perfect (at least not at my house!), but this can be a priority of our homeschool days – something that I hope we will build on. Something that will last, that my kids will carry with them always.
Your turn! How do you want YOUR homeschool to feel? Click here to leave a comment.