what I learned from my homeschool kids last summer

Since I’m heading back to studies, can I write what I did last summer post too?

Here’s what I learned from my homeschool kids last summer:

  • I’ve tented for the first time as a parent.
  • I’ve begun building a house and homestead.
  • I’ve gardened, blanched and canned, and eaten.
  • I’ve learned to lay on a beach.
  • I’ve learned to swim with the kids.
  • I’ve done road trips.
  • I’ve read about writing.
  • I’ve attended writing seminars.
  • And incorporated writing practice every.single.day.
  • My mornings are spent more in my made-up world than in my real world.
  • And of course, I’ve planned our upcoming homeschool year.

what I learned last summer

But what did I learn this summer about my homeschool?

I need more alone time.

While schooled parents anticipate their children coming home, I anticipate kids heading to summer camps. This means, of course, that I will get alone time. And I need it. More often than a few weeks in the summer. Likely one of the reasons that parents strike homeschooling off their mental list is this reason…and possibly for good reason.

Being outside takes me outside time.

Might need to read that again. Swimming, gardening, hiking, canoeing — doesn’t matter the activity, I feel I am meaningfully existing when I am outside. Set me in front of screens, I am conscious of the time and that I am using that time in less meaningful ways. I am more at peace outside.

What I learned last summer

I don’t need to do as much as I do during a study day.

Being around a host of other families and children at the summer camps, I see that my expectations are awfully high, sometimes unreasonably high, of my children, and definitely myself. We can all definitely do less.

I should luxuriate in learning.

And I need to give myself, and my kids, more space to transition from one study activity to the next. My goal should be less “get stuff done” and more “luxuriate in the learning”. If they’ve really come to process why the French were willing to sell Louisiana, then maybe I don’t have to read another three pages just because it was on today’s lesson plan.

Homeschooling is a marathon sprint.

The first year or two of homeschooling is collecting your family (figuring out what works for each of us, but somewhere in the fourth or fifth year, there came a realization that this is really hard work and requires an incredible effort from the parents alone, and “I dunno, if I can do this”, becomes a reality, not just a nagging doubt).

And when you push past that, just as in pushing past a fitness level, you discover that indeed you are capable of continuing, you’re just going to have to rejig your pace. Naturally, I’ve already lived this and am sharing at the seven-year mark.

Turns out learning didn’t stop in the summer. Mama had a lot to learn!

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