Homeschooling Diary 10: Ups and Downs

These characters!
These characters!

I’m finding with having both kids together all the time that the highs are really high and the lows are really low. The sweetness between the kids is growing as they bond and spend more time playing. There is also a lot of frustration between us all because we are kind of on an island right now. Our formal activities are getting started in the next few weeks, so in the meantime, we are playing it by ear a bit more than I would like to be. We have been getting together with friends and going to different parks, playgrounds and museums. These casual plans are allowing me to develop a rhythm to the days themselves, which is helpful. However, the lack of consistent structure and direct engagement with activities and peers to play with have been hard for Ben and therefore for all of us.

Scoping out a caterpillar who was on a papaya at our friends' urban farm.
Scoping out a caterpillar who was on a papaya at our friends’ urban farm.
Close up! He was kind of intense.
Close up! He was kind of intense.

There are about a zillion different ways to parent effectively, eat healthfully, and just plain live life. What I’m trying to find is what works for me, for my husband, for our kids, and for all of us as a family. Four people with different needs and personalities are kind of a lot to consider, especially when we are spending so much time together. Realistically we can’t be everything that each other needs, so we need to discover when to outsource as well. I would be tempted to call this process trial and error, but let’s go with discovery because it sounds nicer and is closer to the way I am trying to see it as we move through this stretching time. I really do feel like I’m stretching right now, emotionally and mentally especially. I feel like I am burning out a little in this introductory phase, which I guess is fine because Mo is on vacation for Rosh Hashana starting Friday afternoon. We will have to readjust our routine, if you can call it that after just a few weeks.

Mo and Ella reading together. Totally snuck this shot without them noticing.
Mo and Ella reading together. Totally snuck this shot without them noticing.

Truly, all this living is really good practice for life, which to me is the point of homeschooling. As a kid in school I always felt like I was waiting for something to happen, learning a skill to use in a more practical application later, being prepared for something that never seemed to come. My hope with homeschooling is to turn childhood into life (if that makes sense), and spend as much time as possible with the people who are most important to me. One of the good/bad side effects of the new set up is that I am spending SO much time with them, that I am finally forcing myself to get out and spend time alone, simply because if I don’t I will lose my mind. I am also more excited to write, because it is even more satisfying than usual to spend time alone in my own head.

A quiet visit with some friends.
A quiet visit with some friends.

I would like to take the space at the end of my homeschooling diary posts to acknowledge some of the ups and downs that we go through each day.

Highlight: At bedtime tonight Ben and Ella were laying in bed, gently patting each other’s faces. Ben said, “I love you forever and ever and ever.” Ella said, “La la la,” which I think is her way of saying “I love you.”

Lowlight: Every argument, refusal, and moment of anger. Example: Discovering that Ben had inexplicably bitten through the rubber part of my new stroller’s handle.

Try to continue: Getting kitchen cleaned and prepped for the next day before bed.

Try to change: I am really working hard to follow through with what I say to Ben.

Looking forward to a quiet weekend, sending love!



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