Written by contributor Hillary Boucher
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Once upon a time my kids were just babies and I did a lot of thinking about what homeschooling might look like for us. One of my ideas was to ground our learning journey by closely following, engaging in and learning about our local seasonal cycles.
I knew that being aware of our place in the seasons would help us to feel grounded in the natural rhythms of our world — an excellent starting point for important learning. It would also help balance out the stress that comes with the “go, go, go!” pace of our modern lives.
As the years passed and I grew into the practicalities of homeschooling I remained determined to root our learning in seasonally inspired activities.
When I look back I can see that I put a lot of pressure on myself. I would often feel disappointed if we didn’t acknowledge the Solstice with a full feast or if apple picking just meant apple eating and no apple pie baking (and thus the missed opportunity to learn fractions while we baked.) I even remember melting down a few years ago while we were decorating the Christmas tree and baking cookies.
I had entered a vicious cycle of setting lofty expectations that I was unable to fulfill, and then inevitably feeling badly.
At one point I was so stressed out trying to take care of the family and create seasonal wonderlands that I just stopped trying to make those seasonal connections altogether.
Photo by Cristiano Betta
How I learned to K.I.S.S
Then I learned to K.I.S.S. I shared my feelings with a friend and fellow homeschooler who was just as busy as me, but somehow managed to bake dragon bread on Michaelmas. Her advice? She told me I needed to K.I.S.S., or rather, I need to keep it simple, silly.
Pick something simple and achievable and do it.
This has turned out to be the best advice and much goodness has come out of embracing the keep it simple attitude.
Kids don’t need elaborate plans to have fun, learn or make memories. They are learning all the time, and if your harvest festival consists of pulling over at a farm stand to pick out a few pumpkins on the way home — it’s good enough. If it was fun and cozy and together, that memory will grow into the festival you had hoped it would be.
Since I’ve pulled off the pressure to go big with every seasonal change I’ve noticed something. It’s actually easy to experience and learn with the seasons. It’s all around us. We swim in the summer, pick pumpkins in the fall, play in the snow in the winter and jump in the spring puddles.
Ever since my “aha” moment it’s been easier to supplement seasonal activities. Whether it’s as simple as downloading seasonal printables from my favorite blogs or carving pumpkins and counting the seeds as high as we can go — we are truly learning through the seasons.
I only had to slow down, keep it simple and pay attention to notice.
What’s your family’s favorite seasonal activity?