homeschooling, homemaking, homesteading...home.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Let it Be

After my recent burst of self-imposed tension/worry/stress over how much I personally was "doing" with instruction and how much quantitative academic progress my son was (not) demonstrating, I listened to the advice of some wise friends, took a deep breath, and let go.

I can't say that I even consciously decided to return to an unschooling frame of mind so much as I just committed to not micromanaging or worrying or, well, doing. He needed a break. I needed a break. So, I stopped. I stopped guiding and observing and recording and instructing and just hung out with my kids for a while. And without them for a while.

Hanging out with them, without expectation, gave us a chance to reconnect in a no-pressure, easy, organic way. We did a lot of nothing and a lot of little somethings and easily enjoyed each other's company instead of "functioning" our way through our roles and daily routines. It's the kind of "vacation" that any companions need from time to time, and it continues to be very healing.

Hanging out without them, without guilt, is giving me a chance to forgive myself for not being and doing it all (...or more). It has allowed me to, in small intervals, refill my cup...making me a more calm and patient person. And once I slowed down to smell those roses, I noticed the kind of trends that a less plan-driven home educator is naturally tuned-in to. Just what do the children gravitate toward when left largely to their own devices?

For the first few days, they seemed to only want to veg in front of the Avatar (the Last Airbender TV series, not the blue cat-people feature film) DVDs we'd borrowed from the library. While part of me echoed a little mental "yeah!" when my husband would grouse that they should break away and do something...I was watching, too. Sometimes we viewed the episodes together, sometimes individually. It was a well-written and entertaining series (with some awesome positive messages about values and redemption) and we all needed a little down-time, so we took it.

T, "waterbending" at the fountain in Mellon Plaza, downtown Pittsburgh.
One of our outings was for one last lunch with Daddy before he switched jobs.
New position (out of the city) tomorrow! Good luck Dad! ♥
Then I started sewing, and put down my long-term knitting project and worked on a few instant-gratification small projects to recharge my enthusiasm for the craft. When I finally took a look around me to see how they'd been amusing themselves in the meantime, I noticed a trend. (There's the "unschooling" moment: Let the kids drive, see where they go, and then scramble to define it for the portfolio, LOL.) Turns out that they recharged by...doing arts and crafts.

Gee, wonder where they get that?

A gallery of some of their recent work:

Sokka and Katara discovering Aang in the ice.
A pair of Towhee parents in the trees, guarding their nest in the weeds.
Yes, a scene from our back yard. They were awesome.
Sharks!
Drawings from Avatar, Star Wars, etc.
Several of a series of color block pieces.
T has been returning to this theme a lot over the past few months...interesting.
One of C's culinary creations. You can't see past the enthusiastic application of ReddiWip,
but it's a hollowed-out cantaloupe half filled with melon & berries. Yum!
Honey cake. With honey glaze.
And yes, a homemade cocktail toothpick with a rubber spider. Don't question the artist.
Deep breath, Mom. Messes can be cleaned up,
and the craft cabinet exists exactly for this reason. ;)

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