Monday, September 29, 2014

feeling the rhythm...

after coming to the realization that i crave a little more predictability in our days, we sat down and worked out what seems like a good start.

at first glance, it seems a little overwhelming... a little too structured...

but when we use it as a guide... as a little push to keep the day moving along, i think it's working out just perfectly.

a little rhythm to our days.  a little more predictability.

while still allowing for self-directed learning... child-led interests... slow, intentional days.

most of the times are in blocks... a group of things that we aim to do in that general time.  so we're not bound to a schedule, but sort of guided in our intentions.  so we're all on the same page, and we're all a little more grounded throughout the day.

there are definitely benefits to creating a daily rhythm... and i'm looking forward to enjoying them.

this is what we've created for ours...

learning: our learning times aren't structured lessons.  we let the day flow, and see where it takes us.  if that's to the library, doing some science experiments, going to a museum, creating art, exploring bugs in the backyard... that's what it is.  while it's not sitting down and completing a designated curriculum, my husband and/or i are committed to being completely available during these times.

snack/lunch/dinner: now that things are all given their place in the day, these times are also for learning, and no longer just me or my husband in the kitchen making food and placing it on the table.  our children are in there with us, learning life skills, cooperation, responsibility... given the time, these are just as valuable as learning reading and writing.  

rest: whether it be a nap, looking at books, doing puzzles, or creating with lego... hopefully, the house goes quiet for just a little while.

free play/outside: this is also when some work for me or my husband gets done... whether it be writing, sewing, cleaning... the kids can play on their own, while we do our own things.

walk: or scooter.  around the block, down the street, to the park.  collect some things for our nature class.  just a little bit of time to connect together without any sort of agenda.

table activities: usually writing, drawing or coloring.  sometimes other fine motor activities, like stickers or stamps.  the less-messy kind of things.  either this, or helping in the kitchen for dinner.

adventure day: we try to go to a new place once a week... a beach, a hike, a park, a museum.  most often new, but sometimes a favorite we haven't been to in awhile.

dinner & bedtime: it seems so early to me.  we used to eat a late dinner.  and go to bed late.  which sometimes still happens.  but now, our post-dinner time isn't so rushed.  with an earlier dinner, things can be a little more relaxed as we quiet down for the night.

i think this has satisfied the craving for me... while still preserving the flexibility we enjoy in homeschooling.  

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


storytelling... it's something i'm always amazed by.

i can see how my children are so taken by good stories... and good storytellers.  how little lessons can be planted in stories like seeds... and those lessons and ideas can grow over time.  it might not be right away, but days, months later... when a connection is made.  it's such a gentle way to pass on information.  without pressure.  without expectation.  without judgement.  

i love hearing the storyteller's voice change to fit the story... the pauses, the rhythm, the inflections.  and i'm always amazed at how they have all these great little bits of entertainment stored in their heads, just ready to be told at a moments notice.  to share a lesson... pass on a bit of history... make someone laugh.

it's something thing i've wanted to learn more about... to learn more stories... to become more comfortable with sharing them... to open my thoughts and mind to be able to create stories more easily.  and so i've been doing just that.  and already, my children are requesting more stories.  i'm finding myself becoming more comfortable in telling them.  and i'm even hearing them tell each other stories.  

if you're encouraged to do the same, here are some great sites and books that have helped me find the storyteller in me...

crafting connections has a beautiful post about letting go and simply telling a story and another with some creative tips...

see where all of this takes you... maybe you'll enjoy storytelling as much as we have been!

this post includes affiliate links, but has no way influenced the content :)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

just a little bit of structure...

when i was a classroom teacher, my classroom was full of it.  i taught children with all different needs... from children with autism, to children with speech and language delays, to children who were typically developing, to children with sensory needs... and while each child's individual needs were different, what seemed to work as a group, was a nice, dependable structure of the day.

then, i had my own children.

and my perception changed.  or was widened, i should say.  while i think i did a good job of understanding that, especially in a special education classroom, each child learned differently, once i had my own children, i saw a way of learning i hadn't really seen before.  the learning that happened outside the classroom.  the learning that happened just through living.  through everyday moments.  

and the structure sort of went out the window.  both, out of the discovery of natural learning, and just out of the (lovely) chaos of being a mom.  

and it works... sometimes.

but, other times, it does't.

and i'm starting to see the need for it again.  

for a nice, dependable rhythm.  

it's hard to admit sometimes.  

it's hard, because i feel like it can go against what i want to believe.

that we can sort of live... learn... discover... and just be.  make a plan for the day... on the day... and go.  stay out if that's what feels right.  go someplace else if that's what feels right.   since we've decided to homeschool, i've loved that freedom.  and have sort of basked in it.

and how can we have that freedom if all of a sudden we have a schedule to our day?

but i've been finding myself getting frustrated.  about things not getting cleaned up.  having to ask multiple times to pick.  up.  the.  lego!!!  about not finding time to get my own chores done.  about not having time to do the things i, personally, enjoy.  

and i've come to the conclusion that right now, in this season of our lives, we need a little more structure.  a little more rhythm.  it's what i thrive on.  it makes me a better mom.  it doesn't mean that in the future, it might change.  it doesn't mean flexibility is now out the window.  it actually means flexibility is embraced.  once i know things have their place in our days, it comforts me... which then allows me to say "yes" a lot more.  "yes" we can stay longer, because we've already gotten xy&z done.  "yes" i can sit and play with you, because i know later, i will have time put aside to fold the laundry.  "yes" i can be present with you now, because i'm not stuck in my head thinking of when in the world am i going to get all the things i have to get done, done.  

with a little bit of rhythm, i can settle in.

and so can my family.

with that, i've been looking for some support for this.  taking some suggestions and using what will work for us.  trying things out for a little while, seeing how it goes, and making changes as they're needed.  

while "structure" can seem a bit too, well, structured, the waldorf idea of "rhythm" seems to sit nicely with me right now.  it gives a sense of flow... a routine without being strict.  and, just like anything else, i'm taking what works for us, in this time, and using that.  

deep breath of parenting offers some help in creating a rhythm that works well for your family...

and clean..she writes a great post that combines the child-led learning of unschooling with the comfort of a daily rhythm.

so, here's to trying something new... again.