Tea is my thing

Drinking a hot cup of tea has become my morning ritual.  It has been something I’ve done from time-to-time since I was a little girl but, in the last couple of years, I have developed a true reverence for it.  I find that I need my daily cuppa in order to feel like the day has gotten off to the right start.  Coffee smells amazing but I have never been able to adjust to the bitterness of it.  The golden elixir that is tea is the only thing that speaks to my soul.

My mother is the one who taught me the way to prepare a proper cup of tea.  In her late teens, she lived in England with her family and she picked up the taste for hot tea then.  Keep in mind she was (and still is!) a Southerner so it wasn’t her first time tasting tea, it was just different.  Sweet Southern tea, served ice-cold, is refreshing where a hot cup of tea is soothing, comforting, like a gentle kiss that greets you, “good morning”.  Anyway, my paternal grandmother is British (a WWII bride) and between her and my mother there was never a shortage of tea in our lives.  Even with that fact though, my true love for tea didn’t come about until 2011 when my husband and I took a trip to Ireland.

Our first morning in Ireland, we went down for breakfast in our hotel.  We were there bright and early and quickly learned that, in Ireland, breakfast is not served bright and early! Their pace of life is admirably slower than ours in the States and we grew to appreciate that immensely on our trip there.  After a short wait, we were seated at our table and anxiously awaiting the glory of the full Irish breakfast.  Our hotel did not disappoint!  When our waitress brought out our pot of tea and I poured the first bit into my cup, I was in awe of the beautiful, golden liquid I saw.  It was rich and luminous at the same time.  I added my milk (never cream!) and sugar and gingerly took my first sip of “real” tea.  It was heavenly!  The tea was so smooth I could not believe it.  All of my life, the tea at home had a strong bitterness that it imparted upon my palate but nothing like that greeted me in the glorious cup of Irish tea.  With that first sip I was hooked and I have had tea nearly every morning since.

whimsical life cup of tea

My favorite brands of tea are Irish.  We have since been to England (where we had the most beautiful and delicious cream tea) and while the tea there is infinitely better than the US brands, my heart still belongs to Barry’s or Bewley’s tea.  Loose tea is preferential to bagged but I must confess that the latter is what I use most often, simply out of convenience.  Thankfully our grocery store and World Market both carry Barry’s Gold Blend tea so it is fairly easy for me to replenish my supply when it runs low.  On the mornings when my husband is home, the loose tea leaves by Bewley’s make an appearance.  He shares the pot with me and it feels ever-so-lovely to pour the steeped tea from the pot into the cup.

barry's tea

For me, tea is a bit of an indulgence and it brings me so much joy to sit at the table in the morning when the house is quiet and sip on my cup of tea.  Do you have a daily or weekly ritual that brings you joy?  If not, I encourage you to find something that does.  It is a wonderful way to begin the day!

morning tea

 

Change Is Good

If there is one thing I’ve learned through all the years that we’ve been homeschooling it is this, be flexible.  That is the beauty of homeschooling to begin with, being able to change things up when one method isn’t working and, that is exactly what we did this week.  In my last post I mentioned that my oldest had just began working with a program from Reading Horizons.  It was highly recommended in a book I had read on dyslexia recently so we decided to give it a whirl.  Well, very quickly it was obvious that it wasn’t a good fit for Iain.  I can see how it would be good for a younger child but, at nearly 15, Iain found the instructions to be too babyish for him and, as a result, he just couldn’t muster up the resolve necessary to do the work.  I contacted the very kind folks at Reading Horizons and, since we had just signed up for it last week, they issued a refund without any issue or attempts to talk us out of it.  I appreciated that very much!  What we’re working on with Iain now is just the old-fashioned method of memorizing words and writing them down in order to get familiar with them.  He said this is his preferred method of doing spelling so, this is what we’re going with for now.  We’re using Megawords (1) and so far so good.  Because Iain has dysgraphia, the writing portion is a bit of a struggle but keeping the lesson short goes a long way in dealing with that.  I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

Speaking of change, Spring has finally sprung around here and it feels as though we are truly out of the winter weather woods!  While my yard is a disaster due to our pending addition, I was able to get outside and find some pretty things in bloom out there.baby daffodils violets lenten rose

The flowers in the last pic are my faves!  I think they are called Lenten Rose and I just love the way they look.  Mine always seem to be looking at the ground though.  I’m not sure if there is something I should do for them to help them look up or if that is how they are supposed to look!  Gardening has never been my forté so it is entirely possible that I’m not caring for them properly.

On that topic, I’ve been trying to think about what kinds of things to plant in the backyard once our addition is complete.  We are going to have a lot of windows and big glass doors on the back of the house so it would be nice to have some beautiful flowering trees out there.  Cherry and pear trees are two that I was thinking about because they are so gorgeous in the Spring.  For Fall it would be nice to have a couple of maples with their blazingly beautiful orange dramatic foliage.  I’ve got some time before those decisions need to be made so I’m not locked in to anything right now.

I hope to post some news soon on the remodel/addition.  I am SO EXCITED about it and can’t wait to share it with you!

Hope all is well with you and yours!

So much to tell you!

There have been a bazillion things going on here since my last post that it’s not even funny.  I really don’t know where to begin!  For starters, we were inundated with more winter weather than we have seen since the 80′s and, if I don’t see another snowflake for a few years, I’m good with that.  LOL  Even the kids, who were completely stoked for the first couple of snows were over it by the time we got ice and our power was out for 3 days.  You learn a lot about each other when the power is out and it’s not all pretty.

The first night was kind of fun, a bit like camping out.

poweroutage

After that, things deteriorated pretty quickly.  It actually made me wonder how people live on the streets, totally exposed to the elements, and I vowed to donate time or money to those suffering in that way.  Just one night of sleeping on a cold, hard floor with next-to-no covers, shivering to beat the band and I woke up in tears.  Yes, I realize other people have things way worse but I am not a “roughing it” kind of person.  Camping is off the list FOR SURE now.

A few days later the power was back on but then we were left with this massive mudpit in the backyard.  The day before the icestorm hit we had a couple of trees taken out.  This is what was left after the ice and snow melted away.  Isn’t it beautiful?

treesgone

 

Now, it hasn’t been all bad.  Nowhere close.  In fact, things are going pretty well!  Those trees I mentioned up above?  Well, we had them taken out because we are adding on to our home and I couldn’t be more excited about that!  We have lived here for 10 years and, while we have a very nice, modest home, our kitchen left much to be desired.  It is the size of a kitchen in an apartment (maybe!!) and isn’t very accommodating for a family of four, especially when the kids want to hang out in there, too.  So we are getting ready to put in the foundation of our addition and it is really, really exciting!!  I will post more about that in the coming days.

In other news, the boys and homeschooling is going incredibly well.  For a long time we were unschoolers and that fit well with our life at that time.  Now that the boys are older, we have moved towards structure, not too much, and that has been accepted by them without complaint.  I have mentioned before that we use Teaching Textbooks for math and I cannot express enough just how wonderful this program is.  Both boys absolutely love it and have moved through it at a great pace.  Iain started in November of 2012, doing 5th grade math (he would have been in 8th grade in school) and quickly moved through it, wrapping up in April of 2013.  We took some time off and he picked up with Math 7 in the Fall of 2013.  He just finished that and is now working in the Pre-Algebra course and he was able to skip ahead to lesson 50.  Watching his self-confidence bloom while working this program has been nothing short of amazing.  It reinforced to me that math really doesn’t have to be started until much later and that kids can learn a lot in a condensed period of time.  His younger brother has had a very similar experience.  He is working right now in Math 7 (he would be in 6th grade in school) and is doing so well with it.

In NC we are required to administer a standardized test each year.  For the last couple of years we have done a fill-in-the-bubble type test which takes days to complete but this year we went for something different, the Woodcock-Johnson III test.  This is much better for kids who might struggle with reading or for those who might need more time to complete tasks.  The boys average scores were both above grade level.  As a homeschooling family,  the worry is always in the back of mind, “Are we doing enough?  If they had to go to school today, would they do all right?”  The test, although it is a hoop I hate to jump through, does a lot to alleviate any fears and doubts I have about the path we have taken with them.  They are happy.  They have time to spend on the things they love to do and they are learning at a fabulous pace.  I cannot complain about that.

Something else we have just started doing is Latin.  When I was in school, Latin was the class that was taught by the quirky, bookish teacher who always looked harried, with mussed-up hair and crooked glasses.  The kids who took it were the ones I perceived to be serious students.  Everyone else took Spanish or French.  When I was researching languages for the boys to take, I came across a pin on Pinterest that led me to this site, Visual Latin.  If you are considering a language for your kids to learn, download the sample lessons on their site.  The teacher is FUNNY.  Not Robin Williams funny but he is so engaging and we love it!  Just in the introduction I could see how learning Latin actually makes learning other languages much easier and I wished I had taken it in high school!  I might have done better in French. The boys love this class, too.  They find the instructor very entertaining and the lessons are short so it is a win-win.  Once we’re finished with Latin, I think we’ll move on to another language and see what happens there.

One thing that is a struggle for my oldest is spelling.  He has dyslexia and dysgraphia and spelling is not something that comes naturally to him.  We are still trying to find the thing that fits him best and will help him with his spelling.  He also has ADHD so memorization is a challenge, too.  I’m not stressing about it.  I am hoping that the Latin work will help somewhat but we have also just started an online course called, Reading Horizons.  Right now, it seems very remedial but I am hopeful that the pace will quickly pick up and Iain will begin to gain confidence with his spelling, just as he did with math.  My youngest takes after me and spelling is just second nature to him.  He just inherently knows how to spell and that has been good for him.

Well, I guess that is enough for now.  I hope all is well in your world and please stop back by for updates on our addition.  If I can figure out how to do it I will upload a pic of our architect’s drawing as well as the kitchen plan I designed!  Stay tuned!

 

Trying to Find My Way

This is going to be a rambling post so, I hope you will forgive me for that.  The last several months have been very challenging for me and I am still trying to find my way through it.  In the Fall, I was diagnosed as having anxiety and depression which was not particularly shocking to me.  For as long as I can remember, there has been a mighty battle waging within me and sometimes the weaker side of me gives in.  That is where I feel like I’ve been for the last few months.  It has been such a dark lonely place and sometimes I just don’t know how I function on a daily basis.  That said, I’m not suicidal or anything like that, just really emotionally exhausted and don’t want to get out of bed.  Since I homeschool my two boys that isn’t an option for me so, I trudge on, forging ahead as best I can in my day-to-day duties.

For my family I try very hard to put on a happy face because who wants to be around someone who is sad all the time?  Many days, my boys are my saving grace because they can distract me and make me laugh like no one else can.  Sometimes though, the mask slips and I let my true emotional state show and it is too much for some to bear.  My husband has a particularly hard time with it.  I guess it’s because he wants so badly for me to be happy all the time and he feels responsible if I’m not but, it has nothing to do with him.  It’s all within me and, while I try to hide it,  that isn’t always going to be possible.

My hope is that this year I can get a grip on myself and find ways to channel my negative energy into something positive.  Since giving up my photography business, I have found other hobbies to occupy my time and those certainly bring me pockets of joy.  Sewing, knitting, embroidery all are things that keep me busy and provide me with a little piece of something beautiful that was created with my own two hands.  It is incredibly satisfying to make something like that.  Photography is still a part of my life, too, just not in the same way it was.

We actually had a really wonderful Christmas.  Our house was decorated early, our tree was up early, the boys and I made sugar cookies and decorated them together.  Sean was home for a week and a half and that was really nice.  He got a promotion last year and it has taken him away from home nearly 3 weeks out of the month.  That has been quite an adjustment to make but we’re learning to deal with it.

Right now, I’m working on a pretty little ABC sampler I got and hope to finish it in the next day or two.  It’s coming along rather well and I’m proud of myself for picking it up and getting the hang of it right away.  Speaking of which, I think I’ll go work it right now.  :)

Hope all is well in your world.  Happy New Year!

Finding Joy

It’s very easy in this world we’re in of technologic interconnectedness to compare our lives to others and think they are living a better, happier life than we are.  Most of time, things that are posted on Facebook are the best events happening in that person’s life.  Occasionally you have a friend who posts negativity non-stop but most people want you to think that everything is just hunky-dory.  For a while I found myself getting sucked into that and feeling like my life was so blah when compared to that of my “friends” and I had to take a FB timeout.  It was then that I promised myself not to fall into that trap again and instead I would go on a daily search for the Joy in my life.  Since I have a passion (maybe a little talent?) for photography it seemed appropriate to capture the Joy in images.  It’s a visual reminder of the awesomeness I encounter every day, even in the most mundane moments.  It has really helped me see that my life is charmed and that my family makes me feel blessed.  Here is a little peek for you, too.

The boys ordered some goodies for themselves using their Game Stop PowerUp points and they were SO excited when they arrived.  A Zelda beltbuckle, an Assassin’s Creed armband, and a Rainbow Dash armband.

A whimsical life -Zelda belt buckle A Whimsical Life - Assasins Creed bracelet

 

One of my favorite things about the summer is the availability of fresh fruit.  There is something so cheerful about a brightly composed Mango Salsa or Fruit Salad.  My kitchen smells amazing when I’m putting it all together and my taste buds sing with gratitude when I eat it.

A Whimsical Life - Mango Salsa A Whimsical Life - Fruit Salsa

Ohhhh, look at that.  A chocolate croissant.  Nobody’s going to lose weight eating that every day but once in a while a croissant is a beautiful thing.

A Whimsical Life - Chocolate Croissant

These people make me smile.  A lot.  I cannot imagine my life without them.

A Whimsical Life - A Tweenager A Whimsical Life - outtakes A Whimsical Life - Brothers A Whimsical Life - The squid A Whimsical Life - My Heart and Soul A Whimsical Life - Runny Nose

 

These are just a few of the things that I found Joy in and there will certainly be more day after day.  Even now, Iain and I are spending the afternoon watching a Castle marathon.  It’s our new favorite show.  We absolutely love the acting and the writing.  Iain is totally into sarcasm so Nathan Fillion’s character is his fave.  I love Mr. Fillion also, for totally different reasons.  LOL!  It’s great though to be able to sit with both boys and enjoy a show like this together.  We laugh so much when we’re watching it!  Another show we love to watch is Doctor Who.  Last year we got totally sucked into it and now are Whovians through and through.  My Doctor is #10 but I did grow to appreciate #11.  Just in time for him to decide it was time for him to move on, too.  We are anxiously awaiting the 50th anniversary special in November to see how everything shakes out.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for today.  I hope you look around you and find the Joy in your life, too.  It’s always there.  All you have to do is look.  <3

Time Keeps on Slippin’

There have been so many days when I thought, “Hey, I need to post this on the blog” but just never got around to it.  Now you’re stuck with one of those lame posts that bloggers put up about how long it has been, blah blah blah.  So what’s going on here?  Seems like so much and so little all at the same time really.  Let me try and break it all down.

For our homeschooling friends, you know we were unschooling for a long time and loved it.  Now though, we’ve begun to feel like more structure would benefit all of us so we have moved away from unschooling and have started the boys on a couple of new, schooly-type things.  The first thing is Teaching Textbooks for math.  Where the hell was this when I was in school??  My god, this curriculum is fantastic!!  I am following along with Iain because math has never been my strong suit and this program makes it so easy for me to understand.  Both boys really like it, too, so that makes it all worth while.  We have also purchased a semester’s worth of Moving Beyond the Page that the boys will share.  This curriculum is challenging in its scope but I love its approach.  It teaches concepts through literature and two of the things the boys will be reading are John Steinbeck’s, “the Pearl” and Tolkien’s, “The Hobbit”.  So, I am a HUGE fan of Lord of the Rings but really didn’t enjoy “The Hobbit” all that much when I read it.  I will be reading along with the boys though and maybe I’ll have a different perspective. We’ll see! So far, the boys have been up for the challenge and I’m looking forward to getting more into the curriculum with them.

What’s going on with me personally.  Lord.  I am in the place I’m always in. One day up next day down.  My health has been such a trial for me this year which has really sucked.  I think I FINALLY have it all under control though and am committed to spending the rest of this year getting my body into kick-ass shape.  Well, kick-ass shape for *me*.  ;)  A few years ago I had promised to get myself into shape for my 40th birthday and that didn’t happen.  This year, I’m turning 42 (HOLY SHIT) and am much further along in the process to living a healthier life.  It feels so good to be able to say that!!  Although, 42?!  How did that happen? One day, you’re turning 21 and lamenting the short time you have left before you turn 30 (LOL) and then BAM!  You’re turning 42.  That is just crazy.  I do not feel at all like I’m in my 40′s and my husband will tell you I don’t act like it.  ROFL That’s cool though.  It helps keep me looking young. (cough, cough)

This summer was crazy because I had surgery and that kept us from doing a lot of what we’d normally do.  We did get to go out on our boat last weekend though and it was freaking AMAZING.  We met another couple we know up there with their two daughters and had the best time ever on the boat.  Sailing is still not my bag, baby, but with the wind in the sails like it was that day, I could totally get the appeal of it.  Our friends have recentlyl gotten into paddleboarding so they brought two along and everyone (except panic girl here) got on and tried it out.  The kids absolutely loved it.  Here is a pic of all 4 of them on one.

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Aren’t they an adorable bunch?

Well, I swear I have some awesome posts rolling around in my cobwebby brain and they will be “put to paper” sometime soon.  Hopefully, this was a good update for now!  I hope all is well in your world!!

Rainfall

as I write this post an amazing rainfall is happening right outside my window.  It’s absolutely pouring out there and it looks like I’m sitting behing the curtain of a waterfall in some fantastically lush, tropical locale.  But I’m not.  Just sitting here in my “office”, watching the rain fall on the other side of the windowpane.   It makes for a dramatic backdrop.  It is my favorite kind of rain.  Heavy, big, fat droplets barreling down from the sky.  Makes me yearn for a screened porch so I could sit out there while the rain comes down and catch the scent of the water mixed with the metallic screen.  You know that smell, the one we all know from turning on the hose in summertime and smelling the wet spigot.  A lovely, lovely rain!  But that’s not why I’m writing today.  I’m writing because I finally feel we are getting our groove back here and that is an amazing feeling.  Here are a few of the things we’ve been up to…

A couple of months ago our big tv finally kicked the bucket.  When we got a new one, we had to figure out how to dispose of its predecessor.  Well, naturally, curious people decided it would be fun to take the old one apart and see what made it tick!  Out came screwdrivers galore and each of the boys (husband included) claimed a spot behind the old tv.  They got to work right away and had such a blast looking at all the different pieces.

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Sean, being the technically minded person that he is, was able to tell the boys what most of the parts did.  Ryan found one piece particularly interesting, said it reminded him of a city!  In fact, he pointed out all the landmarks he found.  It was pretty cool.  :)  Iain really enjoyed using the tools and figuring out how to get the tv apart.  You’d think it would be pretty straight-forward but, it wasn’t.  Iain got right in there and sorted it all out though.  I just sat back and took pictures, enjoying seeing all three of them working together on something like that.

In other news, lately my stomach has been giving me drama.  Who needs that??  Well, it looks like I’m having my gallbladder removed in the next couple of weeks.  : /  It’s something that I’ve really been wrestling with.  By making some major, lifelong changes to my diet I MIGHT be able to feel comfortable.  So far, that hasn’t been the case for me so I have opted for the surgery instead.  It isn’t without it’s cons either but I’ll spare you the unpleasant possibilities.  You’re welcome.  :)  I just can’t imagine my life without being able to eat things like this:

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White, fluffy biscuits.  Warm, golden, flaky.  Straight out of the oven.  Smothered with cherry preserves.  I mean, really.  Nothing says “weekend morning” to me more than that.  And, I’m no Julia Child in the kitchen but I can make up a batch of the lightest, most heavenly biscuits you’ve ever eaten.  Come by sometime and I’ll make some for you!

In an effort to make our home feel more homey, I’ve been trying to keep it tidy and have lovely things around us.  Nothing big deal, something like fresh flowers on the table.  I bought some hydrangeas at the grocery store and they have lasted a really good while!  Over a week and they still look like they did the day I brought them home!  Here is a picture I took of them with my macro lens, can’t decide if I like color or b&w better.  I’ve been in a b&w mood lately!!

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For Mother’s Day, the boys got me a beautiful rosebush that really needs to be planted asap.  Look at this gorgeous bloom.  My fingers brushed across it when I was getting ready to take this picture and the petals were so soft!  They felt just like my Grammy’s skin.  She has the softest hands and they feel just like rose petals!  Just beautiful.

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Today has been sort of a lazy day.  We all slept in and then took our time being awake for the day.  After lunch, we headed out to our sailboat for a Father’s Day reconnaissance mission.  See, last summer, Sean bought this boat.

_DSC1889sean

He spent most of last summer making her operational and only this year have we really been able to enjoy it.  The boat is from the early 80′s and the curtains that came with it had long since seen better days.  I want to make new ones for him but, I’m not sure that’s going to be possible.  We’ll see!!  I ordered some really neat fabric that is navy blue with white ropes and red knots on it and think that would look good inside.  I’ve got to get together with my mom to see if she can help me with it though.

The rest of the day the boys have been playing together on their computers.  Skype is a beautiful thing.  They can both play the same game together online and chat with each other while they’re doing it.  I can hear them in their rooms now and it’s such a joy to hear them having fun with each other.  Yesterday I told Sean how happy I am that they are such good friends.  Would they be this close if they were both in school?  I can’t say for sure but I do have my doubts.  They play so well together and I just love that.

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Now I’m here in my office, looking out the window at the sky which is beginning to fill with sunshine.  The clouds have parted and the rain has stopped.  I bet it’s pretty humid out there so for the time being, I will stay indoors and just enjoy the view.  Even if this is my view.  LOL

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It can’t all be picture perfect.  :)

See you next time!

Trying to find that spark

The last few days, I have been reading through the old posts on this blog.  I was at times embarrassed by some of the things I shared and at others, I was rather awed by how great  my life was about 4 years ago.  My focus was sharp and firmly planted on my boys.  Along the way, I allowed myself to get distracted from my purpose and I focused instead on developing a photography business.  Many people can have more than one iron in the fire and do just fine, unfortunately that’s not me.  :)

Last week The Office series finale was on and one of the characters had one of the most poignant quotes of the show.  It was Andy Bernard and he said, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days… before you’ve actually left them.”  It really tugged at my heart because I was totally feeling that way, too.  I miss the days when the boys and I would spend time together working on different projects, taking walks on the trail, exploring our city or our state.  The days we spent snuggled on the couch watching, “Peep and the Big Wide World”, “Time Warp Trio”, “Sonic X”, “LIttle Bear” and many, many others, were well spent, too.  Now, they’re much older and the days of snuggling on the sofa are probably past but I don’t think it’s too late for me to reconnect with them and spend some meaningful time together.  I know these are the good old days now and I plan to savor each and every one.

Hope all is well in your world.  :)

Calling Time out

Sometimes you just have to call time out when life gets too stressful and that is what I found myself experiencing recently. We are surrounded on a daily basis by information and truly there is such a thing as too much info. Lately I’ve noticed that political posts on Facebook have hit a high similar to that during the election cycle. You wouldn’t believe the number of people I had to hide during that time. Well, maybe you would if your news feed was as active, and I’d be willing to bet that it was. For whatever reason, this go-round the posts are really starting get under my skin and I’m taking them personally, which I know I shouldn’t do so, I put the brakes on my Facebook activity. Today has been a pretty nice, unstressful day as a result! The boys got to sleep late then, once they were up and ready, we went shopping for summer clothes. We managed to each find some items we liked in spite of the rather pitiful selection Old Navy had to offer.

Tomorrow we’re heading to the zoo with our 4H group and I am not going to upload pictures to Fb nor am I going to check-in while we’re there. FB has become such a part of my life and I’m curious to see what it’s like if I don’t use it. I feel extremely dependent upon it and that is very disconcerting. Perhaps by tuning out of social media a little bit I will feel more connected to my own day-to-day existence. It’s quite easy to get wrapped up in the lives and opinions of others, alarmingly so in fact. This will be a good exercise to see if I find other ways to fill the hours instead of fitzing them away playing games on FB. I am going to miss Pengle though. :)

Starting Over

Well, there is an old saying that goes something like, “No matter where you go, there you are” and that couldn’t be more appropriate for our life right now.  We never imagined the twists and turns our life would take when we began our homeschooling journey in 2007.  We have tried many, many things along the way yet I always find myself coming back to roost in the same spot – unschooling.  We are not radical unschoolers as we do have the boys using some online courses for math and language arts but, for the most part, we allow the boys the freedom to follow their passions and assist them along the way.

The idea of letting go of all things schooly is hardest for me and my husband.  When you spend your life in school, being told that school is the only way to achieve success in your life, it is really hard to totally turn your back on it and trust in a child’s inherent interest in the world around them to teach them.  Even in the face of seeing our boys learn without school, we experience periods of fear that we’re doing something wrong which causes me to write up lesson plans, purchase textbooks, and study what they would be learning in their grade at school.  We went through a period like that recently which was brought on by my youngest announcing that he wanted to go to school this year.  Well, immediately I began to panic because, although both boys are incredibly smart and have a wealth of knowledge, there are plenty of conventional things they don’t know.  Ryan’s desire to go to school was short-lived but the panic within me remained for quite a while.  In fact, until today, I wasn’t ready to let go.

Then, while I was cruising my Facebook newsfeed, one of my unschooling friends posted a link to an article that radically changed my perspective.  It was a Jerry Maguire moment for me, or perhaps a Dead Poets Society moment.  Whatever movie it relates to, it made me change the way I plan to approach our daily living.  If you would like to read the article, you can do so here:  http://johnnybtruant.com/disobey/

After reading that, the boys and I sat down and made a list of all the things that interested them and it included everything from going to the zoo, to studying American inventions, to the American Revolution, to how do manufacturers make the color blue if it’s one of the primary colors.  It is a fun list and I’m looking forward to spending the time going through it together with them.  That is one thing that I have been doing “wrong” for a while now.  I haven’t been connected with my kids at all and that is going to change.  It has already changed.  But for a long time, I was content to let them do their own thing as long as it didn’t interfere with me doing my own thing.  I forgot that one of the most important things about unschooling is dropping what you’re doing when your kids come to you with something they want to do or ask you.  Obviously, sometimes you have to choose to keep doing what you’re working on but many times, I opted to put them off because I just plain didn’t feel like exerting the effort to look up something for them.  And for that I feel quite ashamed.  In spite of that, they did learn a lot this past year and I’m grateful.  But from now on, we’re going to be traveling this road together and we’d love to have you along for company.  :)