This week I decided to call a bit of a halt to our more formal activities and ‘just’ live for a week. Back in the UK we have a week’s holiday in the middle of each term, it always helped to stop everyone tipping too far into exhaustion, so I thought I’d implement it chez us. Though we’ve not been ‘studying’ as such that doesn’t mean we haven’t soaked up some good old life skills. It’s been cold but sunny here and the boys have been enjoying some outdoor romps, climbing on hay bales, chasing chickens and planning anarchistic revolts against a police state. Seriously.
And of course there are the inevitable hours (and hours) in the kitchen.
I find it hard to get away from the idea that learning all has to take place at a table, that writing and reading are the only skills that matter. But of course that isn’t why we homeschool. I want my children to write creatively, to read with joy, not just because Mummy is telling them too. We’ve worked hard on some core skills over the last weeks and we were ready for it all to sit, we were ready for a breath out.
So instead of writing and maths skills we’ve focused on chopping, running, climbing, measuring, making and being. I’d hoped to achieve a ton without the extra work of school but really I’ve just been emerging from a cloud of tiredness that’s been bogging me down these last few weeks. A cold that lingered, a little person making night times less (ahem) restful than we need.
I’m trying not to categorise everything we do in terms of how it matches up to a ‘curriculum’. Chopping – fine motor skills, cooking – life skills, measuring- maths, ipad spelling app – phonics, IT, documentary on Meerkats – science and nature….it is tempting but it doesn’t feel quite right.
Instead I want to think that we spent the week nourishing our family, working out some kinks, finding our balance. That the children playing is justification enough, that the cooking of soup is just soup. That the bacon frying in the pan is our home raised, home cured bacon; a satisfaction that can’t be quantified. That my boys belong to a family where the lines can blur between school and life, where learning is in everything. This is something I forget, it is worth remembering.
So whether we are heading out to the library, meeting friends, working on math skills or trying (desperately) to catch up on the laundry, we are together. We may not always get along, it may not always be easy, but we’re in it together, a family, a team. If we can all keep that lesson in our hearts, I think we’ll be ok.