Homeschooling by choice... or not!
To all my friends who find themselves teaching their kids and to the few who also have to teach those of others, know that I truly admire all that you do! You are enough, you are seen, what you do has more value than you can imagine!
We finished our first semester of school with the biography of Alexander Graham Bell. As our extended Christmas vacation is coming to an end, I wanted to revisit my original “plan” for our school year before embarking on this second stretch.
I am always truly amazed when things just unfold naturally and organically. Zoey has been asking to read the biography of Helen Keller for a while. (A little trick I have to get the kids on board with the many books I want to read with them is to put the books in a basket and leave it where they can see it! At some point, they are almost begging for me to read it to them)
So, Alexander Graham Bell... turns out he met young Helen Keller and he was one of the only person with whom she connected(being that she was blind, deaf and could not speak.) Alexander’s passion to help the deaf provided them with a unique connection, he later was the one who introduced her family to the teacher that transformed her life. I was so excited to end our first semester on that note knowing that I had Helen Keller’s biography on our reading list for this next semester!
My mind was going a million miles a minute just trying to fit everything I wanted to cover in some semblance of a plan. Then, a light went on, and everything just flowed. We would start with Helen Keller’s biography, then study how the human ear and eyes work. We would then read Louis Braille’s biography since it kind of naturally fits into the subject.
We then received a beautiful book titled “Beethoven lives upstairs” for Christmas
( I’m surrounded by people who knows me too well!) while Jeremie had found us an old vinyl of Beethoven to play on our record player... so I thought since he also had lost most of his earring by the end of his life might as well add him to the mix! I bought a beautiful book to help us study his life more in depth and also learn a bit more about music in general.
We will be continuing our study of Canadian History by reading through the following historical fiction books : Un huard pour le Roi ( The King’s Loon), Madeleine takes command, Where the river takes me, Escape, and Laura Secord’s biography. This will bring us to the end of the New France Era...
I tend to get all excited with chapter books and forget that we still have younger ones who still prefer a good old picture book so, to accompany our learning we will be watching “Six Dots”(the story of Louis Braille) and “Vincent can’t sleep”(the story of Vincent Van Gogh) read to us on youtube. Here’s another little tip: I love buying books but at some point I kind of have to draw a line... so whenever I can find a good quality youtube video of someone reading a beautiful picture book, I save it for our lessons! These two mentioned above are worth watching!
Another beautiful picture book I wanted to read with the kids was Emily by Michael Bedard, pictures by Barbara Cooney(she is one of our favourite illustrator... my kids absolutely love her books, especially Miss Rumphius and Roxaboxen). It is the story of Emily Dickinson, I bought that one and will pair it with our poetry tea time reads.
Math and French lessons will continue as usual, same goes for our History of the World and Geography lessons, but I was once again in awe of how everything seemed to fall into place if we just slow down and pay attention to the connections around us!
This is why we homeschool. This idea that learning happens all the time and in the most organic way throughout our lives is what we want to impart to our kiddos!
We hope to build life long learners who are not afraid to make mistakes and learn from them, to try new things and to respond with grace whenever things don’t go as they had planned. Resiliency, compassion, self-compassion and a love of learning... these are the things I hope our family culture will nurture!
I leave you with this excerpt from a podcast I listened to just this week... I could not help the tears from streaming down my cheeks as I needed this reminder and I am sure most of you will find grace in these words also!
“Our greatest challenge is not what we accomplish each day but how we respond when things go awry. Most often the first thing that comes to our mind is that we are failures. We assume this only happens to us. That other moms are teaching latin and calculus to eager students while our toddler is dancing in his own pee and our 5th grader is boycotting math yet again.
We know it’s silly but there we sit wallowing in our despair until we’re ready to quit. This self-imposed guilt is often compounded by a simple question that’s posed by a well-meaning spouse, relative or even a curious clerk at the grocery store: « So, what did you accomplish today? »
Dear friend, let me be the one to tell you that you are not required to give an account to every bad day you experience. We don’t measure our results by a checklist or a to-do list. We measure our results by the lives we are nurturing.
You cannot possibly rise each day, love your children, educate them the best you know how and rise again only to do the same and be anything but a success!
You may not see the fruit one day from now or even one week. Months may go by of pouring into these fertile souls without so much as a daisy springing up. But flowers bloom in their own time each in their own season according to their unique design.
You’re going to make mistakes. Your kids will disappoint you and you will most definitely disappoint your kids. You’re going to have days when you can’t see the good and you’re gonna wonder if you’ve made a mistake.
But don’t give up.
Don’t grow weary of doing good.
Creating a life together is messy but oh so worth it!
Whether it’s 20 minutes or 20 years, you will never regret the time spent together.
Our heritage can be a legacy of love.
One day our children will look back and remember that their mother wasn’t perfect but they’ll also remember that she loved them well!
-Ainsley Arment, founder of Wild and Free”
Love them well, and don’t forget to love yourself!
With love from a simple mom just trying to do her best~