Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Another routine

Schools went back yesterday after the half-term break, my husband returned to work and the children and I started another routine. Somehow, this academic year, nothing has seemed to work quite right. We have tried strict timetable, which meant we got a lot 'done' but there was a lot of chivvying, even shouting, and a sense of always being 'behind'. We tried going autonomous, well, a bit anyway, and my eldest thoroughly enjoyed National Novel Writing Month, but somehow not much else seemed to happen. So we went back to timetables, and back to the stress and it became clear to me that this is not what I want in my home, in my life. So I have pared it back, which I find quite frightening. But the simple truth is that if I am to foster the atmosphere and relationships in this home which I value, which I want the children to experience, which I believe will nurture the sense of self which will lead them to success at life, then I need to do less. In fact, in typing that, I am reminded of some words I have stuck above my computer screen. I printed them from someone else's blog, but whose I have no recollection, and laminated them. They are dusty and ignored through over-familiarity, but they speak to where I am :

Almost all of my successes in life have come because I do less than other people, not more.

My productivity goes up as my distractions go down.

Less is better. Little things done daily are better than grand plans.

If I am honest with myself, something I increasingly realise I am not always and am trying to be more, I realise that I know what works. It's just that it doesn't look like much, not much gets written down, and it doesn't feel like much when other parents reel off the list of subjects and extra-curricular activities which their children take part in.
Reading aloud works. We all enjoy it, it is relaxed and fun and includes us all - even the dog - and leads to endless conversations and connections.
Poetry tea works. Again, we enjoy it, we are together, the children and I laugh, and I even sometimes cry, and they re-visit old friends and experiment with new poems and they all read aloud and with no pressure. Often we have guests and it is always a delight to share this special, weekly treat.
My eldest loves to read and to write and to model, my middle son loves to build and to watch documentaries, my little girl loves to create and left to their own devices, very little time gets 'wasted'. The longer I home educate, the more I want to be able to be brave and to dare to do less. I will only get this one chance.

1 comment:

Lucinda said...

Your "at home" time sounds blissful and inspiring. We'd love to come over for a poetry tea some time, if we may - it sounds like a wonderful ritual I'd love to make a part of our home ed life too! xx