with this week being the last classes for
band, art, writers workshop, violin, drums, and piano.
Today for my Tuesday writers workshop we're having a little party to celebrate another term together. Tomorrow, my son has a last performance. It's our last art class for the term on Thursday, and we wind up with homeschool writers workshop on Friday.
And then? Well, I suppose we'll keep on, being Us!
Which means my kids will keep reading, painting, drawing, making things, playing, imagining, and looking things up on the computer. They'll keep asking, How does this work? And, I want to try this! And, Look what I wrote/drew/made/remembered/played!
I realised on the weekend just how much I love watching the kids being them, living their time freely. I love not having a sense of things needing to be Done. I love just Being. So so much.
On the weekend I thought, I wish every day was a weekend.
And then I thought, Silly Helena. They can be. And they are.
in the last two days, my son has sat for hours reading the Usborne Introduction to Art,
looking up Marcel Duchamp on the internet,
drawing his Me and Him cartoons,
drawing an Escher-inspired pond,
and playing lots of music.
Yesterday he started reading about Pointillism, and got excited. So he began painting an awesome bird, copying from our book Animal Kingdom. So cool!
And right now, he's drawing out Pascal's triangle (whatever that is :) ) from The Number Devil, and showing me fun number patterns.
He is completely immersed, engaged. He is in his Element.
In the last two days, my girl has made a popsicle-stick plane,
created matchstick mini colouring pencils,
constructed a kookaburra mask,
written another chapter of her Scorpion story,
read Nurse Matilda,
learned to ride her brother's gear bike,
practiced Pointillism online,
begun a pointillist tiger in texta,
and gotten deeply into creating an information book on Tigers (which has included doing illustrations, looking up tiger images on the computer, printing them out, and writing interesting facts she learned from her library book Tigers—many of which I didn't know!).
And right now? Well, she's singing to the kitten!
Which led to my son turning to me and saying, drily,
"Sanity is rapidly draining from this house."
Well, actually, I don't think so…!
It feels more like Learning is filling the house,
in all its honey-coloured light.
It all makes me wonder…
why do I ever worry? Why do I think, "We need to have a Plan!"? And, "Today, we'll Learn Something! Today, we'll do this, this, this and this!" Why do I bother, when—even as I'm making my Plans—my kids are already off and running, on their own wonderful, absorbed, delighted tangents.
At the beginning of the year, I wrote that I wanted to change the focus of my Freedom Experiment.
I wrote that I wanted the kids to go deeper into subjects, that I wanted more of a plan, and I wanted us to focus on and finish certain projects. Afterwards, and ever since, I felt as though I was saying that this type of learning was more valid than the day-to-day, delight-driven learning my kids completely love to do, and do naturally.
Afterwards, and ever since,
I realised I didn't actually agree with my blog post.
I've realised that bit-by-happy-bit learning, learning without a Plan, learning without structure, is just as valid, especially when it is the way my kids are drawn to and makes them happiest.
I've realised that learning simply by reading (and not writing out all the information learned) is also completely valid, and is the way my kids learn best.
In fact, I've realised I wrote that earlier post from a base of fear. Because in January, I got a letter from the government asking to see Results. So I thought I should see more Results, more evidence of learning. And, in that moment, I couldn't see the Results already in front of me.
It has been a long journey since. So much discovery. So many realisations!
A good example of what I've learned, is from our Space project (once ambitiously called, Astromonday. Now, wasn't that a silly name? Because it's actually Astro-Some-Day, or perhaps Astro-Any-Day-We-Like!)
Our space unit is going along beautifully, and…entirely at its own pace. That meaning, I suggest it some days, and sometimes the kids say, Yes! So then we do another little bit.
We've learned (and written) about the Big Bang, the birth and death of stars, galaxies, the Milky Way, and the voyage to the moon. In their journals, the kids are up to planets. After that it's black holes and then the difference between meteorites, meteors, meteoroids, and asteroids. So fascinating!
The kids love to write the information up in their journals and illustrate them. But they already have most of the information in their heads, so aren't fussed if they get to the writing part of the project or not. It's me, I have realised, who really wants the finished product, the beautiful, illustrated journal of facts. So if it's me wanting it most, I know that there's no rush to be done. That when they do it, it's when it feels right, and fun.
So that means, two terms in, our space unit isn't "done." If the kids were at school, they would have ticked this project box off long ago. But the learning wouldn't be as deep, I think. And it wouldn't be on our terms. And it wouldn't have all the lovely tangents we've been on, and it wouldn't have included all the conversations and movie watching and extra reading, and all our thoughts. It would simply be "finished."
If I ever think, Oh, we should really finish this up, I look around, and what the kids are doing instead is completely valid. It is, in fact, so completely worthy, that what isn't being done doesn't matter.
That's the thing.
Sometimes I have looked at what wasn't being done, and forgotten to see what WAS. What was happening all around me.
And when I looked? And when I saw?
I felt so FINE.
So, at the end of this term, I want to bear witness, to this moment.
These realisations. This resolution.
I want to raise my glass to
To embracing the joy of
To being truly open to how our days are.
To stepping out of the box of Shoulds
and anything that is bound by Expectation.
To leaving the paradigm of School, far, far behind.
To forging our own journey.
To making our own path.
To breaking the future WIDE open,
and stepping into its light.