Category Archives: Homeschooling

Moving and Shaking

j1

It’s been a while. No apologies on my end (I mentioned hating when bloggers post apologies for taking time off in a previous blog post), life tends to get in the way of the extra curricular activities when you have small children.

So much has happened in the four months since I last posted (some of which you may know if you follow me on Instagram). We have spent the better part of this year, or at least the few moments of spare time, getting our home ready to sell. It has been an exhausting, draining, and very humbling experience. It’s really remarkable how as soon as you get around to fixing one thing, two others break in it’s place. It’s also puzzling why we had so much to fix and didn’t do it while we were here and able to enjoy the luxury of unbroken home finishings or appliances.

We had hoped to get our house on the market in the spring and move early summer. Here we are now in mid to late August–and still have much to do. I really didn’t want another year in this heat. This week got up to 104. If you have read my blog for any length of time you are sure to have heard my wining over the heat and how much I despise it. Every year, when late summer rolls around, my soul seems to shrivel, I become incapable of more than getting up to turn on the AC, my heart turns grey, and life feels like a blur. Possibly an exaggeration, but not entirely far from the truth. This year has been different though. I was hoping to be gone before it hit and basking in the beautiful (and very mild by comparison) Pacific Northwest summers right now, but I don’t feel nearly as depressed about this weather as I have the past 18 years. This WILL be our last summer here. I am finding a joy in it that I wasn’t able to find when I saw no end in sight. We have swam in the pool more times in the past month than I think Lucy has in her entire life, we have made more popsicles, had more messy days where the kids come in the house dripping of hose water, many days we forget to brush our hair, and the laundry is always piled pretty high. It has been a nice summer. Maybe now, on the eve of us leaving, I am finally beginning to see the beauty in this place that has been my home for the entirety of my adult years. How ironic.

As we prepare to start our first year of homeschooling next Monday, I am in awe of how other parents do it all, or even pretend to do it all–because I can’t fake that in real life or even through the beautiful filters of Instagram. Most days it feels and looks like chaos all day. I am not poetic enough to make these messy life things look beautiful.

We have found a curriculum that we love and are so excited to dive into with Lucy. How I am going to juggle a destructive (almost) two year old, stick with the our schedule, make breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and maintain some order of cleanliness in our home, is beyond me at this point–but I look forward to the challenge. The older I get the more I start to realize what matters and that other stuff really just is stuff.

So, on to new adventures and big changes. Life is looking up.

Finding Our Place

shel collection

Our winter was short this year, shorter than any I remember. Here we are, not even April, but I am feeling like our time to move indoors is coming all too soon.  We have already turned on the air conditioning several times. We sleep with minimal clothing on, a sheet bunched up at our feet, kids on both sides, and the fan blowing full blast.

We are trying to get as much outdoor time in before summer really arrives and we can no longer get out. We have been collecting new games and building a small library of learning resources. This year has been a fun one and an exhausting one. I have less time than ever but have been working on finding more joy in our days. It is so easy to succumb to the exhaustion and check the clock multiple times a day, waiting for dad’s call that the day is over.

With some conscious effort on my part we have been passing our days with regular outings, art projects, games, and lots of stories. Choosing joy, over the exhaustion or irritation that come so naturally, has been a very liberating feeling–one that I hope to hold on to for the rest of my days.

One thing no one tells you about being a parent is the constant feeling of unsureness. We all want the best for our kids, but there is no right way to do it. Like most parents of young children, we have spent the last (almost) four years questioning if we are really doing what is best. I can tell you right now, I have never felt so strongly that yes, we are definitely doing the right thing.

playground

bird bingo

birdhouse barn

playground climbing

 

Silk Play Scarves

kool aid dyed silk waldorf play scarf

Homeschooling has always been a part of the plan for our family. Before Lucy was born I began reading about different methods of homeschooling, leaning almost exclusively toward free range learning and unschooling. Now, as we are quickly approaching the age of four, and all her friends are going off to preschool, I have had to put some serious thought into what direction we want to go in.

While I love the idea of unschooling, we are at a point right now where we need more structure in our daily lives, which is where the lovely Waldorf method of learning comes in. I don’t know if it is what we will do long term (and who knows, at some point I may realize homeschooling just isn’t for us), but for right now I am devouring book after book about creating rhythm in the home and the importance of including Lucy, and eventually June, in our day to day work.

The thought behind Waldorf based play is something I agree with completely–when it comes to toys, less really is more. The onslaught of toys that came into our house over the holidays has lit a fire under my bum. I have been steadily working to ween out the toys that aren’t played with and bring on more natural toys. As I have tucked away baskets of toys, I see Lucy spending more time with the toys that are kept out. Her play lasts longer when there are less distractions and more importantly, less clutter in front of her. Over the past week I have donated a few items, but just put away about 75% of her toys. Not once has she asked for any of them back. Out of site out of mind, right? I don’t plan on getting rid of them until she is ready, but for now I may just rotate them out on a weekly or bi weekly basis, though I do plan on following her lead.

One of the things I kept reading about online and through various Waldorf books are these beautifully colored play scarves. After checking out a few sites and seeing the high cost of a square of cloth, I decided to purchase white silk and dye them myself (I followed these instructions). Before the dying process, I handed one to Lucy and she instantly thought, “snowball fight”. We then spent a few minutes bunching them up and throwing them at each other. Such fun!

We dyed them with Kool-Aid, three packets per scarf, and they turned out beautifully. I love the soft pastel colors that they turned out to be. Upon drying they were promptly turned into a play tent. The scarves, which were purchased here, are the 35” x 35” size. They are the perfect size to use in a variety of ways. Lucy balled two of them up in a bowl from her play kitchen, then stuck her swirly colored “cake” into the oven to bake. I hope to get one or two even larger scarfs for things like puppet show curtains or for a proper chair fort. For now though, I think these colorful squares of cloth are going to be getting much use.

kool aid dyed silk waldorf play scarf

kool aid dyed silk waldorf play scarves

kool aid dyed silk waldorf play scarves

kool aid dyed silk waldorf play scarf