Today is a normal February school day. I am working from home. It is six months into our home school journey. My Son is 7 and it is first real academic year and we are following a Waldorf inspired approach.
In September he started a forest school that is two days a week. This gives him companionship with other littles, long period of time in the forest, and experience of first nations elders and their story telling. This part of our home schooling is amazing and more than I could hope for. This two day portion helps to anchor our home school and to provide a stronger rhythm to our week. It also gives us time away from each other, which I find provides both of us with a renewal. That being said, I have noticed that these are the days that often bring the most stress to our lives as getting ready and out the door on time is challenging. I need to rethink how to be on time without it being stressful, or I need to decide to let being on time go…
The rest of the week is held together by Waldorf inspired learning. In January, after his seventh birthday we began our main lesson journey. He is very excited. However, since starting our home school journey I have been deeply influenced by unschooling. I am constantly refining the balance between school and unschool. What I mean by unschool is the child led learning, taking his cues and supporting him in his interests rather than always being the guide and the teacher. Let me know in the comments if this is something you have straddled and what your thoughts are.
So a look at our day. This morning when I got out of the shower my Son was already at the desk and he was copying out the bird names from a pamphlet from the local bird sanctuary.
The house was less clean then I could handle. Originally I had planned to serve breakfast and continue our Language Arts lesson on M. However, seeing that he was occupied with what he was doing I felt that I would be better served by spending an hour cleaning. So I began to clean and make breakfast. I also asked for him to get rid of some of this trash and to put out the recycling. He made a game of disposing of his trash and it took up 30 min. We no longer had time for main lesson. However, I consciously decided to allow him to have the time to follow his creativity.
After preparing breakfast and getting a head start on lunch it was almost time for me to start working. I called him over and I gathered him on my lap and we played. This might seem so minor and not worth mentioning, however, in Hold on to Your Kids Neufeld and Mate introduce the idea of creating time in the morning to play and connect with your children; that even these small moments of intention help to “hold” our connections.
As I work my Son has decided to continue his self inspired copy work. At 7 he is self motivated to sit at his desk and work. I wouldn’t expect all children to be able to do this, however, by 7 I would expect the capacity to be engaged in a deep level on concentration or project, enough to allow you a couple of hours of work [from home]. Of course it will be challenging to get into a rhythm and there are moods to manage, but by and large I believe it is possible and worth trying if you are interested in home schooling and need to work from home to make it feasible.
Another thing that I feel is worth mentioning is my success with maintaining a screen free rule for him. As I work he spends time starring out the window observing birds and squirrels. We are lucky to have wildlife outside our window. However, because he has no expectation to always be entertained and because of the time he spends in nature he is happy to commune with it when he has the free time.
Let me know in the comments are your children screen free? Do they have their own relationship with nature? What does it look like in your house?