Have you enjoyed your summer? I have. I love the chance to slow down a little, and live quietly.
This year it was really good timing, because I had a real need to slow down. The Lord has blessed us with another child, and my body and brain put on the brakes! Slow down, Mama! they demanded, and slow down I did.
But August is here, and even though the seasons don't turn in this land of "endless summer," my calendar says it's time to start gathering the troops for a new school year.
I consider myself a Homeschooling Minimalist (the lovely Salty Tribe made that term up, and I'm so glad she did!). As such, I thought I would share just a small, bite-sized piece of what we do for school (rather than blasting you with it all in one over-whelming go!).
What is Minimalist History?
How to Get Started...
History doesn't have to be boring! Record and explore. Follow your guide, but don't be afraid to abandon it if you and your kids want to take a break and study something else. That's the beauty of journaling: if you have a chance to take a history detour, you have the freedom to do so!
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I love making stuff. But like most mamas, I have a lot going on, and when I do get some free time, I don't want to spend it setting up (or cleaning up!) for a project.
But not chalk! There's virtually no set-up: It's just chalkboard, chalk, and a pencil sharpener! Maybe grab a couple of q-tips and an eraser.
In some ways I had my doubts about chalk lettering: I can draw, but my handwriting is, ahem, less than stellar.
I learn best from books, so I picked up this one:
stuff you can look at, and then to get creative. There are even several projects that she breaks down, step-by-step, so you can learn the technique without trying to design something from scratch.
Here's what I did, practicing off of the author's example, during rest time the other day:
I love that I can build my confidence looking at this huge stash of alphabets, and start designing my own stuff. And I really like that I can just sit down with some chalk and a board and do something creative with my hands that doesn't cost me a fortune to try!
If you're looking for a hobby that's mom-friendly, I totally recommend chalk!
One of the things I love about homeschooling is how it breathes and grows with our family. Every year looks a little different from the last, changing just like my kids do.
Summer is sweet. We've finished off our big things, like the year's science (we did this one and loved it), and are ready for a little breathing space, so we take a breather from science and history.
But I've learned something about my kids: if they take a break from the things that they are challenged by, it all slips from their brains like water in your hands! So once a week we still have Math Day, and my youngest reader still has to practice reading three or four days a week (at least!).
I love this pace, and so do they. We go to the library just like always (oh, how the librarians chuckle at our heaps of books!) and we are out in nature as much as possible. We have a little talk about summer being time to explore and be creative and teach the dog tricks and make up games and just be.
This morning they spent a good amount of time outside, laughing as my ten year old figured out how to hang his own hammock from the palms in our yard, and now he is swinging away with his little sisters, still laughing.
Photo courtesy of my mom :-)
I am really blessed to have grandparents that live close enough to do things with my kids (this hasn't always been the case!). My girl went over and created a tiny fairy garden with my mom last weekend, and the photos my mom sent me got me thinking to what I'm tending.
There's so many things I want to give my children: real faith, a sense of adventure, creativity and ways to express it, a love of nature, a love of the written word, good work ethic, strong family ties, generous hands... The list goes on and on.
And it makes me step back and look at what I'm doing. I know that if I don't constantly fix my eyes on what I'm aiming for, I'll be swept away by the current.
It also makes me stop and look at what I'm doing in this space. Is it becoming what I want it to be or if I'm just following the current advice?
I don't really know the answers. But I do know that it's not a quick answer. It's long term and long haul and one choice at a time. I know I want to be helpful here, and I think I can best do that by being real (even if I never make a penny that way).
Have a beautiful day!
If you need help being more intentional, I totally recommend LaraCasey.com!