A Salute to One Year

Sunday, March 31, 2019

I should be at the grocery store, stockpiling food to get my four wild and free homeschoolers through the week. We have at least three daily breakfasts, you know. But instead I have perched on my office chair with an afternoon cup of joe, a mind full of jumbled thoughts, and a quiet home in which to write. My husband did this. 
A lot of times, people ask me what his role is in all of this and initially I thought it was very minimal. I take care of the schooling, the character building, the socializing, and everything else that makes a well-rounded home-educated child (Stop laughing). It's a heavy responsibility at times and I could just let the weight of that crumble me, but I don't (for the moment anyway) and it's due in part to Jordan's help. Truth be told, he was very leery when I first broached the subject of learning at home. Now, he's more of an advocate for it than I consider myself to be. He sees the benefits it has afforded our family and he is my biggest encourager. Besides, none of this would be possible without his efforts at work. The kids and I recognize daily that we are truly blessed with the gift of togetherness that we have because I'm able to stay home with them. What does Jordan do in our homeschool? He keeps the teacher afloat!
We are coming off of back-to-back vacations and while that sounds quite glamorous, it is also a challenge to take kids off of their routines and expect them to be the darling children they're accoustomed to being. That's not to say you shouldn't do it! By all means, travel with your children if you can. We've had a great last ten days, but my husband knows me well and when we returned home he blessed my introverted soul with alone time by leaving with the children and giving me the house to myself to relax. I have napped, bathed, cleaned, and read in silence and it was the greatest gift.
It has given me time to reflect on this past year. For the first weekend trip, we went to a family favorite- a house nestled in the mountains of Turtletown, Tennessee where my grandfather's people grew up. It's a place to unplug. It's a place to build a fire and stare at it for hours on end if you choose. The light pollution is so much lower there because there are no large cities around and so the majesty of the night sky is striking outside the farmhouse doors. You are free to visit the chickens and grab breakfast eggs each morning. The creek that meanders down the mountain across the property attracts the kids as soon as we arrive there each time. It's a special place. It's also the place that I remember first thinking about homeschooling my kids and started to purpose a certain rhythm for our lives that continues today. I remember the feeling well. It struck me almost exactly a year ago and I felt it revive me when I was there last weekend, reminding me that I'm living a life I want to live, that God purposed for us to live. What a wonderful feeling!

The spirit of our homeschool was born in that house. I remember being influenced by the wild and free community while I had my kids in public school. I listened to the podcasts, followed the hashtags, and was inspired by the many wonderful authors that I read during this time in my life. Still, the decision to pull my kids from something so normal was scary for me and it wouldn't come to fruition for four more months. It was there, though, that I started to teach my children gently, trying to school them while they were home from public school and throughout the summer when I still hadn't decided to officially do this thing. In that house or outside that house- I should say- we began our rhythms. It was valuing being outside instead of in front of a t.v. It was slow mornings with everyone pitching in with breakfast and keeping the house tidy. It was finding something neat in nature and drawing it, researching it, and recognizing it next time. It was reading aloud with my children gathered around. It was spending hours talking to each other, not staring at a device. When you go there, you just naturally want to do those things. This last weekend was no different and we had the freedom to leave to do it in the middle of the week without having to plan around a Spring Break schedule.

This post is sort of a salute to our one year of learning together. We've felt calmer with this style of school, less rushed. A year has gone by and I still feel like I'm not totally sure what I'm doing, but I do know that what we're doing right now is working. We're creating a family culture here that is quite different than a lot of folks, but that's okay! I'm happy with our rogue decision and what we're building together at home. 
The shrieks of my kids just rang through the house so it's back to mothering for me! Thanks for checking in with us in this space. I'll share more of our travels soon.

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