Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How We "Do School"

Laura woke up very excited this morning. Why? Because today is the day she waits for every 10 days. The day she gets to make a "bundle" of 10 straws as we count the days of school. Today marks number 30, 30 days we have been on this journey called "homeschooling." I can't believe the end of October is nearing already. It seems like only a blink ago I was collecting and organizing and reorganizing and planning and wondering how in the world I would juggle teaching my five year and caring for and occupying my not-quite-two-year-old, along with all of the other responsibilities that already filled my days. But here we are. Each day looks a little like the last, but a little different, too. I am learning to "relax" more as I realize that so many of the things we do on a daily basis are opportunities for learning. Homeschooling doesn't have to look just like school, although aspects of it do, when that's how it works best for us. So far, it's taken us 30 days to dry out our entire play dough supply and use up most of our paint. After 30 days, I need to restock most of the baking items from our pantry shelves and we are already running low on construction paper. (I thought I was starting with tons!) After 30 days of school, we calculate that about 10 dozen cookies have been given away to our garbage and recycling collectors, mail lady, neighbors, friends, and bank tellers. And we can't count the number of books that have been checked out from the library. And guess what?! In just 30 days of school, Laura has learned to read nine books! Nine! She went from being a non-reader to a reader in less than 2 months of school! Very exciting. And she can tie her shoes :). Yes, we are sure to get in our readin,' writin,' and 'rithmetic in each day. That's important. But ya know what? That's not what homeschooling is to us. It's the stuff that happens in between. It's reading while cuddled up together in a blanket, all three of us. It's walking in the woods behind our house with blindfolds on so we can focus on the sounds fall makes, (when we're not giggling about the fact that we're walking through the woods with blindfolds on.) It's taking turns licking the batter-laden spoon. It's drinking cocoa and crafting in our jammies, just 'cause we feel like it that day. It's practicing our word families on a dry erase board in the car so we can visit with friends before lunch. It's crying over the caterpillar that didn't make it to cocoon stage, and regretting we didn't set her free. It's planning dinner for the neighbor who can't cook for herself. It's waiting for the special days when Laura can work with Daddy because we're all caught up and the perfect job awaits them. And it's about two sisters growing into best friends. Sure, homeschooling is challenging some days, with two little ones to care for and a house to keep up and shopping to do, and on, and on, and on... I'm T.I.R.E.D tired at the end of the day. And my floors aren't quite as clean as I would like them to be. But right now, we're homeschooling! And I wouldn't have it any other way.