December 20, 2013

When the World Changes

It is funny I never fully shut the door on this blog.  I am sure no one reads it anymore as it has been almost a year in between posts, still I feel the need to write today.  The world has changed for us.  It was not an earth shattering change.  It was a change of gradual increments, like the frog in the pot.  It was a natural change, a normal change, a good change in its own, a sad change in others.

As I thought about our Christmas presents to our kids this year I realized this will be the first toy free Christmas.  You could argue books, electronics and music are the toys of the pre-teen and teen I know.  Still, this year there will be no blocks, dolls, legos, and little plastic toys of the year under our tree.  I suppose that is a sign of the change.  My kids are growing up.

My son asked me this week if I felt time goes too fast.  I said no but many people do.  As much as I am a bit sad about the gradual change I know it is the normal process and I am excited for all the other changes it brings.  This morning my youngest daughter played the mandolin for me and her beautiful art canvasses hang on our walls and I realized the world has changed.  In a good way. In a natural way.  I don't feel time has passed me by because we have been on this journey together trying to enjoy each moment.  This is part of why this blog is defunct.  My time is spent in other moments.

We still homeschool.  The lessons are different, no more letter of the week and nature walks, now it is replaced with private spanish, math, art, and music tutoring.  We drive to Chemistry, gym and a lengthy list of outside classes.  We still read history aloud, we still do math, reading and writing but it all looks different than when we began.  I don't know that I have advice anymore beyond this.

Meet the needs of your kids.  Listen to them and find what they need.  Then provide it.

This may not look as you expect.  For instance, we had been paying for science and spanish classes for awhile but never art or music, until our youngest.  When she asked for professional grade art supplies for Christmas and a mandolin for her birthday and nothing else we knew it was time.  She has private instructors for both and she is thriving.  The picture at the top is her latest creation under her tutor, she is 10 years old.

We are working on staying out of the box and meeting their needs while still providing the best education for each of them.  It looks so much different than I expected.  We have hit bumps and challenges along the way.  I have gone back to working in the evenings and that has brought its own set of challenges and changes but overall we are still doing well.

I always tend to reflect this time of year.  As I close the book on junior high for one and enter high school record keeping years I am thankful for all the stress free, pressure free years we had to explore.  I am determined to keep that philosophy into the high school years as well even as the demands and requirements increase.  With several high school credits under her belt Maria has plenty of room for exploration and unique opportunities even as she continues to fulfill requirements.  Looks like homeschooling high school is a reality with another shortly on the way.  Ciaran is in seventh grade and starting his own high school work already so we can keep the pacing reasonable and interesting in high school itself.  Sirah is still in elementary school and I need to remember to do things like the science museum and those nature walks even as I balance the needs of junior and senior high.  It is good for us all to go back to those very important experiences and just be in the moment.

Maybe I have kept this blog around to reread for myself, to remind myself what is important to us in education and more importantly in life.  We always said "Start with the end in mind" and we want them to love learning and be life long learners.  Even in homeschooling it is easy to lose sight of those goals with another class to run to and another place to be.  Still it is important to reflect and make sure you are still doing what you set out to accomplish and adjust along the way.

If you still stumble upon this blog, may you be blessed by what you find in it.  Take what works, leave the rest and find your own journey.  It is worth the time.  I leave you with a new favorite video of mine, from a precocious 13 year old.

Hug those babies,