Homeschool

Sometimes I fantasize about a post-apocalyptic lifestyle

IMG_2905
The Walking Dead #TWD will start back up in October. The show always sparks something inside us that makes us believe we are invincible. Survivalists. We talk a big talk.

So we camped out for 3 days, trying to experiment with what life would look like “Post-apocalypse”. We tried to make our meals without the use of the refrigerator.  We slept in #ENO hammocks in the trees and keep all activities outdoors. The truth is, CAMPING is hard! Even when we are only camping 50 yards from the house!  We soon realized that we are no match for zombies.

1. Food:

Living off the land is a lost art. I can’t imagine trying to find food while being on the run! The first night, we cooked a delicious feast of meat and potatoes on the fire. Made monkey bread for dessert.  We discussed our meal with the children.  If we were survivalists, the meat we are eating would have to be trapped or shot, skinned, and cleaned before we could even put it on the fire.  These potatoes MIGHT be available to us, if we stayed in one place and could tend a garden.  Oh and forget about the monkey bread! The next morning I woke up at sunrise, went to the hen house and collected eggs (plausible), stoked the fire back up and prepared scrambled eggs for breakfast.  Then it hit me, I NEED COFFEE.  So, I went upstairs, got my coffee pot, and plugged it in at the camp site.  Hardly the way a survivalist would make her coffee! The rest of our meals, while consumed outdoors, made use of the fridge, oven, and microwave. It took me 3 meals to realize that I very much rely on the convenience of my kitchen!

2. Sleep:

We love our hammocks. We love setting them up, swinging from the trees, competing to see who can get their hammock the highest and tightest.  However, when it comes to sleeping in them all night for 3 nights… wow.  Not only did it get cold, but it was also creepy!  I would have to get used to all the night noises.  I kept two of the dogs outside with me, which helped me feel secure. They kept watch over us all three nights. But still, the places my mind wondered off to – it’s amazing.  I had all kinds of visions of how we might die if I close my eyes.  Needless to say, I did not get very much sleep!  Lastly, I desperately missed my bed.  Each morning, I got up and hobbled around like an 80 year old woman. Humans need rest!  I began to understand how living on the run would not only be exhausting, but without good rest, everyone would be grouchy and on edge!

3. Higiene:

We did make all three days without a shower or bath. But we sure were foul when we finally came in!  As I scrubbed the soot from my face and washed the sticks and ash out of my hair, I marveled at how someone could live this way everyday, for weeks, months, years. The children and I laughed at all the gunk between our toes and behind our ears and under our fingernails.  And we each enjoyed a long HOT bubble bath.

As a homeschool mama, I am always looking for opportunities for learning.  This 3 day camping experience  gave us much to discuss.  Our discussion generated three main themes.  1) We realize that the only way to get good at camping, is to practice.  2) We have a huge new found respect for survivalists.  3) We are immensely grateful for our creature comforts.

IMG_2931IMG_2980IMG_0469 IMG_0476IMG_0524 IMG_2952

Advertisements

Back to school.

We have been back at it for a couple of weeks now.

I can honestly say that as I begin my 4th year of homeschooling, this is the first time I have felt confident and non-anxious about school.

If you are new to homeschool I want to just give you a shout out to KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON!  I was a wreck for the first two years. I compared myself to every other homeschool mom I talked to. I compared my kids to every other homeschool kid I saw.  I battled discouragement and self-doubt. I sat online every Monday searching for jobs and for private schools.

Think you’re not smart enough?  Nonsense.

Think you’re not patient enough? Breathe, smile and count to 10.

Think you are not organized enough? We are all in process.

I remind myself everyday that I have been given a gift, three to be exact. I finally stopped fighting my own insecurities, and started celebrating my strengths. I finally took my eyes off of what everyone else is doing, and turned my heart toward what is right for us.

Back to school: Back to simplicity. Back to focus. Back to schedule. Back to one day at a time, one morning at a time. Back to one breath at a time.

Happiness

Sitting with my family on the 5th of July, 2014, pondering the feeling of happiness.

Happiness for me, is contentment, pleasure, connection, fun.  I am simple people, with simple ways.

I feel happy each morning when I make my coffee and take the dogs for a walk on the trail.

IMG_7037

 

 

 

I feel happy when my flowers emerge in spring.

IMG_3216I feel happy when I watch my children charge through the woods like wild mustangs.

IMG_3030

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tonight, I feel happy playing guitar with my dad, singing #MerleHaggard and sipping wine by the pool.

First official selfie with my dad

First official selfie with my dad

Just finished the list for Book Circle, Spring 2014!

We are getting started a little bit late this spring, mainly because my girls and I meet outdoors and this winter has been COLD! Essentially, we only have 8 weeks for book circle, but I am excited to see how many of these great reads we get through!

Each semester carries a loose theme. Last Fall, we read about girls from different parts of the world who overcame obstacles of loss, transition and family crises.  This spring, we are coming back home to the US, and looking at the lives of girls from early 1900’s through the Depression Era.  Throwing in Because of Winn Dixie, which occurs a few decades later, because I try to make it a point each semester to throw in a story about a girl and her animal friend 🙂

So here it is! A big thanks to AMightyGirl.com for always guiding me toward the best finds for us!

Moon over Manifest   Image 8   Out of the Dust   Image 4

Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry   Image 7   Because of Winn Dixie   Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 2.40.24 PM

May B. A Novel   Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 4.47.42 PM   Counting on Grace   Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 4.48.11 PM

And last but not least, I found this little GEM today as I was looking for Depression Era content.  Dalhart TX is my home town! My parents and grandparents grew up there. I was stunned when I saw this!  Even if I don’t get to it for Book Circle, I am definitely going to read it with my daughter.  Then send a copy to my family members.

Survival in the Storm   Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 3.17.41 PM

YOGA: Kundalini Kids!

Yoga with Kids3 times a week, the children and I rise and meet one another in the living room or outside for morning yoga and meditation.  Last Thursday, we invited other children to join us. It was so much fun!  9 children ranging from 2 to 12. The energy in the room was precious and pure.

Here is a glimpse of what we do to get our chest, spine and brain activated in the mornings before school!

We are Alexanders, we are learners.

My focus lately has been on family axioms, values and virtues that we overtly speak over our children describing the kind of people we are (ahem, suppose to be.) Call it a motto, maxim, adage, rallying cry….

On my post We are Alexanders, I describe what I mean by this, and list out many of the axioms we say day-in and day-out.

Today I am focusing on “we are learners”. This one is a tremendous parenting value for me. I am a learner, I was raised by learners, and I am married to a learner, so naturally I hope to impart this quality into the hearts of my children.

By learner do I mean over-edumacated academic elite? Heavens no. In fact, I agree with Albert Einstein who said, “It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.”

This world has so much to teach us.

Culture, nature, myth, math, history, technology, poetry, politics, physics, linguistics, economics…shall I go on? How could we ever imagine that we are done learning as soon as we finish our educational requirements? One thing I admire about my dad, is that at age 66, the man aspires to learn something new everyday. Never assuming he has all the answers, he ask good questions. He reads, he studies, he works hard to keep up with the inexhaustible pace of technology.

There is always something to learn from this bountiful planet. Project-based homeschooling works well for us, because it is designed to help kids pursue the things they are passionate about learning. But weather you homeschool or not: Does your child have a favorite food?  Trace the origin and historical preparation of that food. Discover how that food is prepared today, here in America. (disclaimer – your child may not like what she/he discovers). Did your child get a letter from grandma?  Outline the process of how we send and receive mail. Take the kids to the US Postal office and ask for a tour! Did your kids witness the dogs procreating?!?! Talk to them about the reproductive system of animals and allow them to follow the process out all the way through birth, infancy and independence.  There is so much to learn each day. We need only to open our eyes and pay attention! Life is our Guru. Earth is our hands-on instructor. History is our counselor. Get out there and let your curiosity lead you!

People have so much to teach us.

Do you think you have it all figured out? You don’t.  Your experience or degree make you an expert? Nope. Feel like you really have a handle on things? Guess again. Don’t assume that you know the perception of a Republican or the viewpoint of a Democrat until you share a meal with one.  Don’t expect to tell a teenager what they should do before you embrace them and listen to their heart. Don’t judge a buddhist until you are willing to sit quietly and let them share the experience of their faith journey.

Ok, I am no expert – but here are a few suggestions for us about how to lovingly approach people:

  1. Ask good questions.  Before my husband goes into a group meeting or a one-on-one coffee, I always remind him to ask good questions.  He grins and replies, “I know, I know, don’t talk too much….”  He is joking, but always comes home and reports the success of simply listening and asking good questions.  Not only do we learn so much more about the other person, but we come away nourished because listening is receiving – and our souls love that.
  2. Don’t give advice unless someone specifically asks you for it.  Over and over I hear people discharging dogma like an M2 machine gun (yea, I totally googled that). I want to stand up and shout, “NO ONE ASKED YOU FOR YOUR OPINION!” Although it is difficult to sit and listen and keep your mouth shut and ears open, please, for the love of all things vulnerable and tender – – please wait until you are asked before doling out your answers to life’s questions.
  3. Approach every conversation as an opportunity to learn. Every person you meet has a unique story. Try to engage them in that story. Strive to understand their perspective.  Think of your friends (and even random people you meet on the street) as mentors.  My friend Heather mentors me in self-dicipline. My friend Anna mentors me in a healthy lifestyle in regard to food and movement. My friend Laura mentors me in intentionality with children….and so on.  Every person in our lives has something to offer, something to teach us. So let’s tap into that wisdom.

We are Alexanders, we are learners. It’s an important message to my children to ALWAYS look for learning moments – every outing, every activity, every project, every movie they watch, every book they read. With every person they encounter, with one another, with home schoolers, with public schoolers, with babies, with elders, and with Mr. Henry – the mail carrier.

I must go now, because my friend is teaching me how to make organic apple muffins.

IMG_8541 IMG_5370 IMG_7873 IMG_8538 IMG_7692 IMG_7538 IMG_7596 IMG_7629

You can do it!

I never thought I could homeschool because frankly, I was a terrible SCHOOL mom! “Bring 50 cents on Tuesday. Send close-toed shoes on Friday. Sign this. Donate to that. Be at this meeting and that party….”  I could hardly keep up!  Oh and I rarely had my kids to school on time. My son once said, “Mommy, you have to quit making me late to KINDER-GARTEN.”

So you can imagine that taking the plunge to homeschool was a stretch. I am a fun and creative mom – but not an organized one.  I am a people person too, so I was worried about feeling trapped at home with 24/7 kid duty.

Anyway, I am starting my 3rd year of homeschooling and I am loving it. I know my kids better now than I ever did when they were in school. We have been participating in Classical Conversations, which has been a stabilizer for us. We may continue with CC through high school, but we are moving toward more of a Project Based Homeschooling method now. I have my footing a little bit stronger, and this method seems to fit with my personality and the lifestyle of our family.

The reason I started this ironically named blog homeschoolqueen.com is for people like me, who have the desire to take the step into homeschool, but are not sure they have the “skills” or “patience” or “education” to do it.  Just want to say YOU CAN DO IT! If I can, literally anyone can!