The beautiful thing about homeschooling is that, with a few exceptions, I make all the rules. If I say a boogie boarding excursion covers biology, ecology, physics, and geography I would be 100% correct. So this up here? ^^^ doing school in the best way possible.
It was also our last beach trip of the season before Garyn and I headed into some new classrooms. Both of my parents are educators by trade and they both absolutely love teaching. I’m pretty sure that impacted how they raised me, a precocious child with the stereotypical penchant for endless questioning. They rolled with it, though, and as far as I can tell, they answered my questions and treated me like a human being. My dad took me to art galleries and car museums. My mom took me to see Broadway plays for my big birthday presents and kept me in books to read (I get now what a monumental feat that can be). They weren’t annoyed by curiosity my wanting to learn, they encouraged it. I’ve been able to take that awareness to my own parenting and over the years, though not a professional and official teacher, I’ve come to discover my own passion for teaching.
Let’s start with Garyn. This year was a big one for our family. Garyn started high school and we all decided it would be a great chance for him to do school away from home. There is an amazing charter school in a town nearby and he was accepted. Corona Virus insanity led to a fully remote start, with in-person classes later (fingers and toes crossed). The first week went well though and he’s excited about this new adventure. Since so many students are learning remotely, there is no end of articles about their study space and creating a good learning environment at home…I’m pretty sure his room wouldn’t make any magazine spread. But he loves his room so much and has been happily camping out in there, fitting school into his other projects (my old iron is still in pieces on the floor…meh.) He also saved up and bought himself a 3D printer he’s been eyeing for a while so that will be an extracurricular pursuit I’m sure you’ll hear more about later. Minecraft is still one of the great loves of his life and he and Naomi enjoy playing together when all their other work is done. Throwing Garyn’s best friend, Charlie, into the mix just makes it better. Early morning seminary (get to that in a second) has ushered us all into the age of Sleeping Teenagedom. But he is a good sport when his sisters wake him up early on Saturdays.
Naomi is really getting into that phase in life when all things maternal are kicking in. She loves babies and tending small children. Luckily for her she has two little sisters who love being tended and absolutely adore her. Most of our home school adventures take place at our well loved kitchen table (I’m going to cry when it dies). This is just a small sampling of what we’ve done this month. Workbooks, art and crafts, math Candyland and other games, and lots of reading. Naomi is in middle school now so I’m upping her school load a tiny bit. Her language arts work is all centered around learning about and creating content for a magazine. The guy who developed it has a program for high school students where you write a novel. Garyn did that a few years ago (on a much lighter scale…he wrote a grand total of two pages on his actual novel. So yes, he’s smart and advanced, but let’s not get any crazy ideas about his precociousness.) Anyways, it’s amazing and I’m so glad she is really starting to give her gift for storytelling and seeing the world uniquely some form and body. She loves it and it’s been a wonderful fit. My little girls are still knee deep in reading, writing and arithmetic. It was a good year for me to re-purpose all my brain space that was taken up with Garyn’s education into helping Layna and Corra separately. Corra is shaping up to be a math kid like her brother and Layna loves the routine and structure of school time. Point being, they need different things now and I am glad I can cater to those different needs. Although both live for snack time. Also Minecraft. I can’t imagine why…
We are also getting together with another family that we have a ton of things in common with every other week. I’m teaching Naomi and the three oldest girls from this family how to sew and Meesha (the other mom) is doing fun things with the little kids. They have six and with my three it’s a party. But they have a farm and they are farm kids so they all play together beautifully and have ended the last few classes by hiding in a wild grape cave picking/eating wild muscadine grapes. Childhood perfection.
Remember how I said Garyn started early morning seminary? Well, I did too. I’m teaching 7-10 high school students every weekday morning all about the Book of Mormon. At least until January, then we switch to the Doctrine and Covenants. We started 2 weeks ago and it’s slowly starting to settle into a routine. Even though I still feel like I’m finding my feet, I absolutely love it. The kids are great and I know most of them pretty well. It’s a weird thing: because they are all attending school remotely, I spend more time with them giving actual instruction than any one of their “actual” teachers. It’s a great privilege that we get to start every day together focusing on our Savior and His teachings. I’ve noticed a difference in my life already and feel like it’s only going to get better. I mean, hey, someday my body will accept that we wake up at 5 am and no, we don’t get a nap every afternoon and my body will quit being cranky about all of the above. Right? Maybe, someday?