As mamas, we are all fine artists. It is the dance of teaching our children the fine discipline of following through with a schedule and allowing your kids freedom to follow their bursts of creativity and imagination. Here is an example from last night. I’m in the kitchen washing the stack of dishes that have piled up. I said I would be only fifteen minutes, but then they began building a boat out of blankets. They are working together, creating a plan, and there is no way I’m going to barge in. This is sacred space. My planned agenda, doesn’t compare.
I tell my kids what we are going to do,and then they become lost in play, their highest purpose in my opinion. What is a mama to do? I am faced with this decision often, probably daily, and sometimes many times in one day. How about you? I have made choices and sometimes they contradict each other. There is no right answer. We want that, right? But friend, there simply isn’t one right answer. In our first year of homeschooling, I forced so much. When, I didn’t, I felt such shame. In this third year, I am receiving the day as it is more, with all its “so called” interruptions. They are not interruptions, but worthy endeavors. They are what our kids and can I dare say us, have been made for. There is a time and a place for both. The discipline of working through math problems in the morning. The “we will still do handwriting even if you do not want to do it” thing. In this case, it was the evening, and I let the play ensue. They are getting along after all! And what is more important than “socialization” right? I want to assure you, as well as myself, You make beautiful and wonderful decisions mama. You do.
The freedom as a homeschool mom can be both amazing and overwhelming at the same time. Sometimes it depends on what day or season it is, or dare I say, my current emotional state. Here are some words to remind you of the good in this freedom:
You are not limited to doing homeschool in your house the same way every day. Has Math been a struggle? Try it at a different time of the day. Do it in a different way. Put a timer on for 15 minutes, so your little one knows there is an end to what might feel like torture to them. It is amazing how much you can do when you have a focused child. Play a game that includes numbers and call that math for one day a week. I have seen when we take a break from school,even only one subject, my children naturally navigate back to what sparks their wonder. They learn so much more when they think they have initiated it. You really can switch it up. As someone that likes doing things the same way, I need that reminder, and maybe you do too.
Find your rhythm, what works for your kids as well as yourself. What worked last year may not work this year. It does not have to look anything like anyone else’s. It can be helpful to get ideas from friends or Instagram. It can also be helpful to let go of what everyone else is doing (Take a break from social media) and watch your children, and be honest with yourself. Take notes on what works well and what does not. Then, ditch what doesn’t work well (Yes, even if everyone else is doing it) and keep what does work for your family.
Limits or Boundaries can be your best friend. We have speech this year for my son at one two afternoons a week. I was not thrilled about this. That meant all school and lunch needed to be done by this time. That hour before is much more of a hustle than I would like, but it has been a surprise gift to have this limit. We have a reason to get all of our school done so we can play or run errands after speech. I have that hour while my son is in speech with my daughter, so I get one on one time with her where we learn and play just the two of us, outside of our house. This feeds my soul as well. I am not torn between “getting things done” with looking my daughter straight in the eye!
Here’s to embracing the freedom we both love and hate for the simple fact that we have the gift of freedom.
Here’s to embracing days that feel off and discovering the unique joy that can be found in them.
Here’s to receiving this season in your family’s life because it will never be again.
Here’s to choosing to dance this dance and knowing you have many mamas around you dancing a similar dance and you are not without partners my dear mama.