dreams, Homeschooling, Parenting, School

You Do You

A few weeks ago, I was in the car with my middle daughter (grade one) and my toddler (off to daycare for the morning). We had just survived the frantic rush of the morning … getting everyone dressed, hair done, lunches packed, organizer signed, books read, and the like … I looked in my rearview mirror, and said to my sweet girl, “Madi, when will I ever get to homeschool you?” My heart yearned to spend MORE time with her … to have her HOME more … 

Ironically, just a few days later, my little lingering “wish,” came true … schools in Saskatchewan were closing, indefinitely, and we were all going into self-isolation. My babies were coming home! Once I got over the initial shock of how I would manage it all (*still not sure I have THAT part figured out), I realized my “wish” had come true! 

*I call this whole thing a “wish,” because if I was SERIOUS about having Madilyn home with us, I would have just made it happen.* She loves school though … her teachers, her friends, learning, playing, and the like … I wouldn’t want to rob her of any of that FOR ME (and my yearnings as a mother). 

Homeschooling isn’t new to me; a year-and-a-half ago, I started homeschooling my oldest daughter (she was in grade two), and a little over a year ago, I started a new job where I support homeschooling families in our region (working from home). Homeschooling-wise, things have certainly not been perfect, but I feel like we’re “settling in.” We’ve established a bit of a rhythm; we have a fairly predictable routine. For the last 12 days now, we’ve had to tweak things a bit, but with a plan (and a lot of good intentions), we’re doing it! 

I’m in my glory as I get to plan and execute shared Science and Art lessons for my girlies. I get to spend one-on-one learning time with each of them (and then show off their accomplishments to family and friends). They get to take on the responsibility of watching their baby sister in times of need. Their love for one another is growing (though there are still spats, of course). We eat together, several times throughout the day. We listen to books together. We play together. 

With the exception of preparing food (again and again throughout the day) and keeping some semblance of order in the house, we are FREE … we are not required to be anywhere at anytime … there are no bags to pack … there are no commutes … there are no school events to attend … there are no organizers to sign … there are no special “dress” requirements … hair doesn’t have to be perfect … makeup is optional … 

Truthfully, I’m finding it all quite liberating! 

The only thing I really have to focus on is my OWN little beautiful (and wonderful) family … and taking good care of myself … 

THIS … IS … A … GIFT! 

Next week, my obligations WILL change a little bit, as I bring my work back into our schedule, but I’m confident that with a bit of help from my husband, I can “do it all,” or at least a lot of it (and well) … 

It’s who I am … 

Which is actually why I wanted to write this post today … THIS … ALL of THIS that is going on right now in the world … is sort of WHO I AM … I truly enjoy SOLITUDE and time ALONE … I LOVE being HOME … I work from HOME … I HOMEschool … I LOVE having my kids HOME with me … and maybe even more than being HOME and being able to focus on my little family, I LOVE all things school, learning, and growing … it’s WHO I AM … and, as I’ve gotten back into sharing our “schooly” things more and more this week, I keep feeling this “call” to share and encourage others “out there” who are navigating this new reality of having their kids home all of the time AND (possibly) considering “homeschooling” them a bit here and there too … 

BUT while all of THIS is actually quite COMFORTABLE for me, I trust that THIS is actually pretty UNCOMFORTABLE for A LOT of you … with each thing I share, I worry that some of you might be feeling a bit of “pressure” to do something that isn’t your “thing” … something that isn’t your “jam” … 

Today, I give you permission, to just DO YOU …

YOU DO YOU.

Do I think you should limit screen time? Yep.

Do I think you should read a lot (and keep your kids reading)? Yep. If your voice gets tired (or you need a break), send the kids to their room with an audiobook (https://stories.audible.com/start-listen).

Do I think you should get your kids to write? You bet! Use talk to text if your kids are little like mine… 

Do I think you should keep practicing math? Definitely. Keep it simple though.

Do I think you should develop a bit of a predictable rhythm or routine in your house? It helps (especially for kids like my oldest).

Do I think kids should have free time? Yep.

Do I think you should spend some time with your kids? Yep, but in a way that works for YOU and YOUR family.

Do I think you should ALL spend some time outside everyday? Yes. 

Do I think YOU, as the head of your household, should take care of yourself? Absolutely! Schedule it in, then follow through with your commitment to YOU. I honestly CANNOT stress the importance of this one enough … I truly believe “happy healthy parents make happy healthy children” (Dr. Miriam Stoppard). 

But that’s it … that’s ALL I really recommend … 

BUT YOU DO YOU … 

When everything appeared to be “unraveling” 12 days ago, and the “shedding” of the life I knew had me feeling a little overwhelmed, I took a minute to jot down what I wanted for my family during this time of uncertainty … I considered what I want OUR STORY to be … I REALLY encourage you to do the same … 

I am continuously grateful for “the distraction” of my little family at this time … and I try not to take for granted the blessing of “the busyness” of having everyone at home right now … I trust this time is harder than ever for those who don’t have so many “distractions” … 

If you’re not a mom of littles like me, I still encourage you to consider what you want YOUR story to be … I still encourage YOU to DO YOU … even though it’s quite likely you’ve lost many important parts of YOU in this time of self-isolation … your friends, your work, your time with extended family … perhaps then this is a time of re-birth for YOU … a time to be “born again” … get creative, get reading, get exercising, get organizing, get purging, get comfortable with the uncomfortable, get back to God, get back to connecting with others (even if it’s on the phone)  … get back to YOU … 

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