Today we got a progress report about how Ben is doing in one of his homeschool enrichment classes. It reminded me that I haven’t written specifically about how things are going with our homeschooling in a while. We have gotten into a nice routine, and I feel like Ben’s creativity and curiosity is blossoming right now. He is much more self motivated in his play and art, which is probably partly his growing older, but I think a lot of it has to do with having the time and space to allow ideas to bubble up in his mind and then follow them. Last year he was in school from 8am-4pm so we were always shuffling in or out of the house, through mealtimes and into bed. Now we have so much more flexibility and genuine quality time to use how we decide. Ben is constantly full of questions about everything he sees and hears, and he always asks what words mean when we are reading. As he follows his interests and imagination, I feel very excited and inspired to see what unfolds. I am learning so much by letting Ben’s unique perspective and enthusiasm guide our focus.
A few months ago when we started it was really difficult for Ben when I would take Ella into the bedroom alone to nurse her before her nap. He was desperate for attention and entertainment during those times and would beg to watch something or come into the room where I was putting her down. It was extremely frustrating for me when he would try to wake her up or make a fuss just to get negative attention. This morning I came out from putting her to sleep and found him sitting in a pile of books. He asked if I could read two books to him and said, “I was so bored, and then I looked at all of those books and I wasn’t bored at all anymore.” I feel like this change is worth doing a happy dance about! I am really proud of his progress and I am very grateful to myself and Mo for having the faith to take the leap and start our homeschooling journey.
I certainly don’t mean to say that it is always easy, or that I don’t have moments where I’m yelling “JUST PUT YOUR UNDERWEAR ON! WE’RE LATE FOR CLASS!” (today). I do want to say that I feel like we are more “in the flow” than we have been in a long time, I am amazed and joyful every time my kids show their love for each other (Ben requested that I move his car seat directly next to Ella’s so he can be closer to her), and that every exhausted evening feels so worth it. I work really really hard every day, taking care of my kids, cooking, cleaning, driving, thinking, and teaching. It can be hard sometimes to feel like the daily grind with kids has inherent value, and I am finally feeling like all the work I do is meaningful. It is an internal change, based partly in our lifestyle changes and partly in an altered perspective, and I look forward to writing more and sharing with you about how I continue to find more joy in my life.
Here are some photos from our recent adventures!