Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I HEART homeschool

Ah, what an amazing day. The kind of day you actually notice as you're living it. The kind of day you and your kids cherish over lunch,
as you stop to look at each other and one of you says,
"Are you happy?"
And the other says, "Yeah, yeah, I'm really happy. You?" and the other says, "Yeah. Yeah, I am!"
And you all just grin.

Our days, every day, are our own, to fill with joy and learning. We homeschool and we are free. It's that simple. The kids love to learn, and when I relax into that and leave them to follow their own paths, the learning is almost effortless. It's just…Ah… you know that feeling? That singing in the heart feeling? When you know you've done the right thing, to go on this journey? It's serendipity; it's just truth.

What did we do today that was so great, anyway? Well, we all read, for a start—in our beds and leaning over our breakfast bowls. Because that's how our days always begin.

And then a boy cleared the dishwasher and smiled to hear me thank him, to hear how much he helps me by doing this.

And a girl continued to design her brand new website! It's yet to be published, but filled with stories and poems and gorgeous cat facts. She has been working on this for days.

And a boy went into the playroom to practice. He can spend forever in there, drumming, piano-ing… and the new passion? Trombone, which he is teaching himself, while his dad's away. For hours he's been hooting away in there, checking notes on the piano, singing to himself. It's just lovely.

And a girl and I talked about long division. We sat on the couch and chatted about it, looked it up on the Web, practiced it a little bit. Not for long and not too hard. And today, 'cause we were totally chilled, I think she finally got it! Which says to me: Hey. Lady. Don't sweat the maths. Your girl is going to be fine.

And then a boy and a girl and I started our New Venture—Computer Science 101!

It's through Coursera, which provides online courses by top colleges in the US. We're doing a computer programming course, and it's being run by Stanford. Oh my goodness—Stanford! My girl is 9, my boy is 11 and they're doing a college course. That blows. my. mind.

We had so much fun. We learned about code and strings and syntax and got to practice and do little quizzes which weren't timed or stressful, and the kids didn't want to stop. The only reason we took a break was 'cause it was lunch time and I was so hungry! But we get to do lots more—it's a ten week course. And the kids can't wait to get back to it.

And…a boy worked on his story for the Art Gallery writing competition. My girl already finished hers, but my boy needed to do a major rewrite. He was kind of daunted, for a second, but then we chatted and I offered up some ideas and…he went for it. Totally rewrote the first section and made the story shine. He was so pleased.

And a girl wrote a new blog post! This time: Pandas. I didn't know they sometimes ate rodents! And there I was, thinking they were vegan :)

And a boy decided to finish another chapter review in his maths book (the textbook he asked for last year, and still wants to use!). We've realised he knows a heap of the stuff already, so he's started just doing the reviews instead of plodding away through each chapter, page after page just because that's what you normally do. And if he comes across something he doesn't know? Well, that's when he can go and learn it. So much more sensible.

And we didn't call the Cat Society, for the second day in a row.

Why not? Well, because it's hard. We feel so torn, between claiming some sanity, and trying to make our two cat house work. The kitten has been a darling, ever since I wrote my last post. And the cats have, bizarrely, been mellow together—even cuddling up to sleep on the chair. And the children just love her, even my boy. … Could the winds have changed? Could our luck be turning?

So today, instead of giving up our kitten, we looked up pet enclosures—thanks to Joanne's suggestion in the comments on my last post. (Thank you so much, Joanne). And I am crossing my fingers that this will work—that we will figure this crazy business out.

And then, a boy and a girl and I went for a walk with the dog. Who is on arthritis medicine now, so today he found a new lease on life. He galloped today. Galloped! And rolled in the grass, over and over, tail wildly wagging.

Meanwhile the kids and I acted out a fantasy game while we walked. It's based on these characters the kids have made up. I was a combination cat-bird called Prince Felix. And my girl was a 'Katrine,' and my boy was a 'Kyrie.' These characters are so clear and real in their heads. My boy made them up, along with the world they live in—the Kingdom of Loth. It's so complicated in there! But the kids know the world intimately and play in it all the time.

And a boy and a girl and I got to talk to Dad via Skype! He's in San Francisco right now (my other home!). He's having a beautiful time. He has a cold, and I miss him, but it's so good (and I feel so lucky) to talk to him every day.

playing trombone for Dad

And a girl wrote a new story—this one about her Kyrie character, pages and pages of it.

And a boy drew, and drew and drew. Aren't these stunning?????

And then…we ate home-made pizza, which was divine—topped with spinach, caramelised onion, mushroom, tomato, olives and a sprinkling of soy cheese. Yummo. And we talked about veganism, and about nutrition and protein and heart disease and animal welfare. You know—a typical dinner conversation :)

And a boy and a girl drifted upstairs to read, making the day complete.

And that
was our homeschool day!

Our life learning, love-learning, free-flowing, fits-us-just-right day.



  1. Wow Helena, that truly sounds like a magnificent day. The love and joy you feel for your children bursts out from your written words. They sound like amazingly creative individuals.

    I read your kitty post the other day and really empathised. We too have had our share of incontinent pussy cats and I really loved that enclosure idea too. Our cat has recently been boarding in a cattery (while we moved house) and he had splendid quarters with private outside run. When we went to visit it was cool to see all the inmates hanging outside, staring each other out! I thought, this is a pretty good environment for these cats - it is meeting a lot of their needs. Maybe it would be fine for your cat, being in an enclosure where she could still be sociable with the family? Sure it will all work out for you. By the way, the computer course sounds AWESOME (wouldn't mind doing something like that myself).
    Cheers, Lou xx

  2. First, I'm so happy the kitty situation seems to be getting better! Second, wow what a wonderful day. Divine indeed. Third, I'm going to look up this computer course because my oldest is obsessed with learning programming and we haven't exactly known where to find instruction for a 10-year old. Thank you for that resource! Have a great rest of the week. :)

  3. What an amazing day. Your kids are just so stinkin' talented. I love the way you nurture that in them. I am so glad you are getting along without hubby. I knew you would, but hoped you would still have happy, sunny, smiley days. :) Is he coming anywhere around Alabama? Wouldn't that be awesome!

  4. What a lovely day. We are SOOO lucky that we get to have them :-) I loved your words and your pictures and catching up with all that you have been doing. We homeschool and we are free - yep!

  5. And thank you for reminding us about the computer science course....

  6. Beautiful and inspiring, what amazing kids you have. What an awesome mum you are!

  7. This post is awesomeness! I am so glad that you had such a wonderful day :) I read about your cat issues, and I am sorry about how hard things are...I hope things get resolved for you all soon.

  8. it's so wonderful when you find the flow!! my mistake is in trying to replicate it exactly, which doesn't really work...it's the flow, afterall...this sounds like such an uplifting day, affirming and full of life. yahoo!

  9. Girl, we just signed Justin up for Computer Science 101. I am SO EXCITED for him! Thanks for the link!!


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