to live is to learn

how to pave your own path on your homeschooling journey

Friday, August 19, 2022

I knew I wanted to homeschool my kids before I even knew Ethan. In fact this was almost a source of conflict for the two of us as we explored what our future might look like together. But that’s a story for another day.

Even though this had been on my heart for years, the day my daughter would have started kindergarten with her friends, I was overwhelmed with guilt. Was I making a mistake? Depriving her of something more…normal? Depriving the world of her light? Would she resent my decision? Was I doing this for the right reasons, or basing my decision on the fear or anxiety of letting her be away from me? I wrestled with this guilt for a while before it was replaced with equally overwhelming peace and reassurance.

I sought wisdom and guidance from one of my most trusted friends, and veteran homeschooling mom - who schooled and raised four of the most beautiful souls I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. She has shared a lot with me over the years, and I still turn to her regularly. But there was one statement she made that has repeated in my mind over and over through the years: "don’t play school". Those three words changed the way I thought of homeschooling forever.

Prior to having this conversation with her, Ethan and I had built a 4 foot by 8 foot chalkboard on a wall in our finished basement. He built a small table with black hairpin legs, and my parents had purchased four small white chairs to go around it. We had lined the walls with bookshelves, one even had a library ladder was the Pinterest-perfect classroom, right from my dreams. So as I let those words, "don't play school" sink in, I started to panic.

...but I was going to line up all my children at this table, and stand at the chalkboard, and we would recite the spelling of hard words, and arithmetic, they'd sit and work from their workbooks, and I was going to be the teacher, and they were going to be all the students, isn't that how this goes??

You see, I didn't know then that I could choose how school would look to my family. Or that it was ok if they weren't reading by kindergarten, or doing multiplication in second grade. I was ready to check all the boxes to make sure they were getting the same education at home that they would have gotten in a traditional school.

The same...but why?

My friend taught me that to live life is to learn. Today our school days are filled with singing, lots and lots of singing. Sculpting, while I read out loud. Cooking and cleaning. Serving one another. More reading and singing. Running businesses and paying bills. Board and card games. Imagination and dreaming. Exploring and crafting. Foraging and pretending. Raising bunnies on our bunny farm. Jiu jitsu, and music lessons. And some days, when it all feels like too much, we rest - learning to listen to our bodies.

As people have come to me with similar fears and questions about homeschooling, I have found myself repeating those three words out loud to them. I’m not sure that I’m conveying the same idea, or that they’re feeling it in the same ways that I did and do. But I hope they do understand my message:

Homeschooling isn’t about providing the same things they’d get in traditional school. Your school day won’t, and shouldn’t look just like a traditional school day filled with checking boxes. If that’s what your heart thought your child needed, you would have chosen a different path.

Watch the video here:

my favorite products featured in this video:

kids knives

marble slab

kitchen aid bowl

orange jumper

touch faucet

These links are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to purchase one of the products through my link I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you! That said, I promise I will only ever recommend products that I actually use and love.

download the recipe for the Zucchini muffins from the video:

download this recipe card the old-school way! right click and save image!

Brushstroke Arrow Rapid Curved Long