Thursday, January 20, 2011

Freedom Experiment 2011

Life is getting busy.

I can feel Busy crouched close by; it's poised, flexing its muscles like a cat. It's waiting, waiting…

The school year is about to start . The stores are shouting "Back To School!" with notebooks and pencil cases, lunchboxes and folders piled in buckets at the shop fronts. Kids are lining up with their parents for school shoes, and uniforms, and the right colour socks.

It's coming. The schedule is about to start up again with a bang. My son is in THREE bands this year, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, plus he has piano lessons and drum lessons before band. The kids are both going to do art class on Thursday. There'll be writers workshop every second Friday. And I'm going to run another writers workshop for school kids on Tuesday afternoons.

Every single afternoon is booked.


We're starting pottery classes on Wednesday mornings.


Both kids want to continue tennis lessons. They want to learn Italian! They want to learn about space. They want to learn about rivers. They want to build wooden houses and my son wants to learn how to build a go-cart. They want to get out and swim and bike and hike and walk the dog! They want to write in their blogs. They want to do a Vincent Van Gogh project. They want to build balsa wood planes, make felt animals, learn to sew, play board games, knit, go to the library, read, do maths, learn about history, do science experiments, write stories, and…most importantly…play with their friends.

And I'm thinking, Yes, and Eek!

And, Yes, but When?

And, Yes… and How??

…and Eek!

Oh, I know it will be all right, but I don't know exactly how it will be all right, or when,

or whether everything will be all right only after I've been taken to a Home for the OverExtended.

Which means I'm awake at 4am. Dang!

And I wonder—this being the question that is rolling around inside my head—how to be truly Free when there is so much to do, and so much to fit in.

I (and we) want to say Yes to everything, but the reality is, there is only so much time in the day. When you want to do it ALL, things get forgotten, left in the wake of doing what's in front of you in that moment. Then all those wonderful ideas can end up like those random bits and bobs (you know, the single keys and lego pieces and business cards and tiny doll shoes) you lose to the black hole of kitchen drawers and ceramic bowls on the coffee table. They can end up dustmuddled and forgotten.

I don't want that to happen. Our Things We Want to Learn List rocks and I want to keep it found, not lost.

So I am drawn, again, to making a schedule.

I'm drawn to setting a time for learning the things the kids have said they want to learn.

I'm drawn to saying, What's our focus going to be today/this week/this month? and planning the days we want to Do X (and for x insert, "reading about the Romans," "building something from our Leonardo da Vinci project book," "playing tennis,""making balsa planes," "learning about rivers," "painting like Vincent Van Gogh.")

I'm drawn to making the mornings, and certain days (that we choose together), our study time, just us. For us to Do X, for my son to tick off his maths and english boxes (as he says he needs to do), for my girl to possibly find her way back to maths without fear. For us to get our teeth into all the lovely things on our Learning List.

I'm drawn to suggesting things. To being proactive and saying, Right-o, if we're agreed then let's learn about Space this week (or this month, or this term—space is big, don't you know?!). Saying, If we're agreed, let's play tennis this Wednesday afternoon, get books about Space from the library on Thursday, and go to the art gallery on Friday. Plan, together, so we know when we wake what's ahead.

I'm drawn to planning, in some form. Because that's a part of who I am, and who my kids are. Like me, they need the known as much as the unknown. Because otherwise I worry we'll forget—we'll be like little night critters dazzled by the light, flying only and always to the thing that is brightest and just ahead.

I love what is at the core of my (our) Freedom Experiment. The core being: Yes. Saying Yes to learning and doing and being and living—not according to anyone else's expectations but our own. To saying, I want to knit, and being Free to knit. To saying, Let's go for a walk on the beach and being Free to walk. To my kids saying, I want to learn this and this and this and THIS! And being Free to do all of it.

But the reality is, because my kids love to learn, and because our Freedom Experiment leads us to the Constant and Beautiful Yes, we end up needing to choose.

What to learn. What to say Yes to. When.


My Freedom Experiment last year was Letting Go. Finding my way to Yes.

This year, I want OUR Freedom Experiment to be:

truly experiencing the things we say Yes to. Giving real time to Yes.

Because I want us to learn with both hands. I want us to look closely, immerse ourselves; I want us to swim deeply, drink deeply, learn deeply. And when we're ready, to move on.

This is how I feel today, in the dim dawn hours,
as my kids sleep peacefully upstairs…

Open to Yes,

all my pores and
and heart and thoughts open.

Aware that Yes is infinite once you open yourself up to it. Aware that choosing is part of the journey.


  1. I like this post. I'm still early in the home school journey, but I feel myself stretching and reaching for what? Not exactly sure, but something better. Freer, and something more suited to us. Customized. Trying things because what else can we do? Try, see, change, etc.

    I like reading your journey because it helps give me confidence. Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. I hear ya baby! I actually experienced a period of burn out a few years ago because we were doing far too much. I plan to get more organised this year as I want to study myself so my little darlings will be following some routine in the mornings and continue with our natural learning approach in the afternoons.

  3. I Love to get my thoughts together in the morning. :) Ponder ideas, games, new things I want to introduce the babes to...

    And sometimes we make up a list for the day, too - things we would like to do all together. Everyone has to agree upon all the items on the list, so it works!

    When I was reading this, I was thinking "middle-of-winter doldrums?" to your "starting new" stuff, and then I remembered that you're in the South. :) Aaaah. Makes sense, then. ;) Fall is coming. I do love a great, new, happy list of "things to do" in the Fall!


I love hearing from you! Thank you for your heartfelt, thoughtful responses—they lift me, and give me light.