I’m just going to call this the 14th and a half week, because it was only three days long. We took a couple of weeks off at the holidays to recuperate and enjoy each other’s company. I wasn’t sure how best to begin after such a long break, but I decided to ease us back into school with a trip to the public library to pick up books for our next unit.
This week we learned about median averages in Life of Fred: Edgewood. We also finished up our unit on Mesopotamia with a video about the three main cultures: The Sumerians, The Assyrians, and The Babylonians. We are going to be starting our unit on Ancient Egypt next week, and we are both really excited. Lillia has been waiting all year for Egypt.
We are moving along nicely in our handwriting workbook, and this week’s letters were K, L, and M. L was Lillia’s favorite so far (for obvious reasons!). She has been doing all of her work lately without a single complaint. Part of that is because I have been giving her a lot of time to relax in the morning. We don’t usually start our school work until about 10am. I know that’s pretty late for some people, but it works really well for us. I have time to get everything ready, and she has time to ease into the day.
With the start of the second half of the school year upon me, I find myself reflecting on the first half. I have learned so much: about myself; about my daughter; about what learning actually looks like; about what helps people and what hinders them. I wouldn’t call what we do “unschooling” because there is certainly an underlying structure to it all. But, I would never apply the words “rigid” or “strict” to our homeschooling experience. It’s not that the work is easy or pointless, it’s just that I have learned to be more fluid, flexible, and organic. Over the past few months I made a real mental shift, and adopted a new paradigm by which I evaluate the effectiveness of what we are doing. If an outsider were to compare our day to the day of Lillia’s peers in public school, it might look like we weren’t accomplishing nearly as much as they are. But, if one were to drop down and look at the things that we are doing, a beautiful and meaningful picture emerges:
Every day Lillia plays with her little brother. She gets to read and draw whenever she wants. She can listen to music. She plays outside when it suits her. She eats when she’s hungry, and sleeps in when she’s tired. She has lots of free time to discover and develop new hobbies. When we go out to the stores, she holds the door for people and says “you’re welcome” when they thank her, and she means it. She seems so happy, and her anxiety and tantrums have virtually disappeared. I never thought that was possible, and just putting it in writing makes me very emotional. Of course there is no way to put a value on these intangible benefits, but sometimes the things that are worth the most can’t be quantified.
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season, and I’m looking forward to sharing the second half of the school year with all of you!