Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Seven Years And Counting

Two years ago on "back to school eve" I wrote about how we came to be a homeschooling family. Had we been a traditionally schooling family that night two years ago would have been Grace's last night before heading off to Kindergarten in the morning. With that in mind, and with the notion that if we were a traditionally schooling family this very night would be Emma's last night before heading off to Kindergarten in the morning, I decided that it was the perfect time to share a little bit about where we are on this journey.
Over these last seven years we've learned so very much. We've learned what works for us and what doesn't. We've learned who we can count on and who we can't. We've learned that this road is not without its challenges, but that those challenges help to make us an even stronger more connected family. Most importantly we've learned that there is no other path we'd rather be walking down. 
 We started living this lifestyle the moment Grace was born. Before we had any idea what it was we were doing, and before we knew that there were others that lived this way too. In all these years not too much has changed (though we clearly know what we are doing, and we now know other like minded families living this way too). We are still big believers in the use of daily (and monthly and seasonal) rhythms. We are still big believers in being deeply rooted in nature and the arts and in giving kids plenty of time to be kids and play and get messy. We are still big believers that they will do things when they are ready and not a moment sooner. And, most importantly, we are still big believers in the connectedness (and contentedness) that this lifestyle has blessed us with. 
About the only thing that has changed is that each day the girls and I sit down and do a little something. Oftentimes it comes out of one of our Oak Meadow books, other times it's something that we came up with on our own (a game, a project, an experiment). This became part of our daily rhythm because Grace was looking for a little something more. She came to us one evening last autumn and asked for help learning to read and learning "the big numbers" (meaning anything greater than ten). It was then that we added that little change into our day. It felt right because it was what she advocated for for herself rather than her having to do it because it was "time". 
There are many people that have asked us about the future over the years. "How long will you do this for?" "What about college?" things like that. And all that we can say is that we will do this for as long as it feels right to all of us. When it comes to college we don't look that far down the road. Right now, as high as college tuition is, we couldn't afford a minute there let alone four years. Who knows what college will be like by the time the girls are ready to go. Will it even exists as we know it today? Will it even be necessary? And more importantly will it even be what they want? We won't know 'till we get there, friends, and until then I'm going to sit back and enjoy the ride. For those who take comfort  in (and feel better with) statistics to back things up check out this handy little graphic that I have pinned to one of my boards on Pintrest.  
And so in the morning when the kids in town are heading off for their first day of the new school year we'll be getting up and having our usual mellow morning. Chances are one of us will remark that the school buses are back on the road, but other than that nothing will be any different for us. We'll simply go about our day as we always do, full of wonder and joy at another day spent living, learning, laughing and loving together. 

9 comments:

  1. "Living, learning, laughing and loving together"...sounds pretty darn awesome to me. Enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Last night we went to the new Percy Jackson movie. Today when the school busses start rolling by, we will be preparing to visit a science museum. Then tomorrow we are babysitting our 3 year old cousin. Then Friday we have writing group with our friends and begin a new study of Herb Fairies with those same friends. I would not trade this way of life for anything. Even on the hard days. Happy Not-Back-To-School Day!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Happy Not-Back-To-School Day to you both! We all are surely blessed to get to live this amazing lifestyle! I am so glad that we are and I am so glad that I get to share this journey with you girls and your lovely families! xo

    ReplyDelete
  4. Isn't life grand. Today we spent our Not back to school day at the lake with some new friends that we have met up here. We are slowly finding people that we want to hang out with on a regular basis.

    Enjoy your days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Life is *so* grand! I have to admit that each and every day I sit back in total awe and complete gratitude for this incredible life. I am so glad that we headed down that path all those years ago and I am so glad that we are continuing down it each and every day!

      I hear ya on the "finding people we want to hang out with on a regular basis" front. We're still in search of that too, though I am hopeful that some friends we have connected with recently will become those kind of friends! It's essential, on this journey I think, to have families to gather with and walk down this path together!

      Delete
  5. I loved the graphic. I saved it to my computer and will hopefully print it out to hang up. It was interesting to see that I am now living in one of the 6 states that requires so much from the parent. It has been a stressful year having to fill out all that paperwork after nothing in CT, but we are managing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did the same thing when I first saw it on Facebook! I would love to print it out and hang it up too! It's such a good one.

      I imagine that it must be a bit of a culture shock to go from hands-off CT to a more hands-on VT. In MA we have to send in a letter of intent/Ed plan each June and send in a progress report (or some form of assessment) at the end of year year to. They then send a homeschool approval letter in August. It surely would be divine if we could follow CTs lead on this! :)

      Delete
  6. I'm just reading through your home schooling posts, Shel. They inspire me so much. As we all dread Monday and back to school, I am planning and planning for next school year!! Or should I say next year's not school year! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so excited for the adventure that you, Russ and Alice will all begin next fall! It's going to be amazing and please know that we are here with you every step of the way! xo

      Delete