2022: Same Homeschool; New Vibe

I’m not sure if it’s because we’re still in the lull between the holiday and when all our activities start back up again, but our return to “doing school” (whatever that means, and honestly as the years go by and I get more and more comfortable with the blurred line between school and life, it means less) has been… dare I say? pretty wonderful.

World’s longest run on sentence? Perhaps.

Last week I had a serendipitous run-in with a friend I don’t see often at Target. Our girls roamed the toy aisles while we spent a few minutes catching up. She juggles a booming business, a 6 month old baby, and homeschooling her two older kids. Pretty impressive. But what struck me most was her confidence in her relaxed take on homeschooling.

We agree on the balanced approach to raising/teaching kids (filtering through the lens of what do they really need to know in life?) and it inspired me to continue to grow in confidence in how we run our homeschool. So while we have returned to math lessons and history and handwriting and all the things, I’ve continued to focus on blurring the line between “school” and life.

For example, this week our language arts is all being run through letter writing. We are writing back our French pen pals and in the process discussing communication style, grammar, spelling, and sentence structure. Best of all, the kids are enjoying the heck out of it.

I think a large part of our success so far though is my mindset. I’m almost finished with Cal Newport’s Deep Work and am debating starting it over again immediately because it has been that impactful to me. I want to make sure I’ve absorbed as much of it as I can.

Part of the clarity it has brought is showing me how to separate shallow tasks from deep tasks. I’m learning to rewire my brain from the need of constant stimulation (darn it Tiktok, I knew you were terrible for me). It’s helping me retrain my mind to better focus on what is important and in the process, allowing me to be more present. There are elements of time blocking, but for me it feels more about prioritizing and blocking out noise.

I want to write more about this book another time, but I do credit it with helping me become more present in our days. Because of that, they are flowing so nicely. We are easing into our lessons for the day, unconcerned with “how long will this take?” We’re allowing time for tangents, podcasts (Who Smarted is an excellent podcast by the way), and outdoor play (which is essential with Finley).

Most important of all though, is that there is a peaceful and happy vibe in our home right now. We’ll see how the return to soccer, basketball, co-op, and piano affect that, but I’m optimistic that the major change initiating this new energy has been in my mind.

Another, more tangible, switch I made for the time being is away from the responsibility charts and instead to the “my day” charts. Both are available for free download in my resource section.

I laminated the sheet and fill it out in the morning before they get up. They both like to know what to expect from the day, but filling out a day, instead of a week, at a time allows me to pivot and add/subtract what is needed in a given day. For example, Kaitlyn will definitely have clean room on her list today. The child is ridiculously messy (no need to send pictures of my childhood bedroom mom… I know where she gets it from).

Today we are going to get up and moving, with the motivation of meeting friends at a jump park after lunch. I walked four miles with a friend yesterday, too, as I work on my 2022 goal of being more connected with friends. With my new clarity found through Cal’s book, it feels like I’ve gained hours in my day to do such things.

I’m still so tired at the day’s end (Finley epitomizes my end of day vibe below), but it’s with a satisfied exhaustion of a day done well. More of these in 2022, please!

Do you have a book that made a big, positive impact on your life? Please share it; I’d love to add it to my list!

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