It happens every year like clock work. I’m dying to breathe in the fresh mountain air, drive on a road with no stop lights, and see more sheep than people. I’m dying to go home. Home for me is a tiny little town in Oregon, by tiny I mean like not one actual stop light in the whole town. I loved it so much as a young child. Growing up my brother and I spent almost all our spare time roaming through the forest behind our house. We made forts, looked for treasure, dammed little streams, made mud slides, climbed trees and filled our shirts with blueberries picked right off the bush in the summer. We were always covered in mud and we would play outside for hours rain or shine. It was simple. At the time it was all we knew, but now that I have my own children and am raising them in a much different place, I long to give them those same opportunities that I was given. To be wild and free! We live in a large city in Southern California. Its beautiful, sunny and there is so much to do, but sometimes I start to get this feeling like we are just caged animals. Stuck in our little bubbles and held in by our cinder block fences. I feel claustrophobic. I dream of buying a house in the middle of nowhere, where my children can run out the door and disappear into the trees to play for hours. I want to walk to my mail box and not see anyone, I want space, back country roads, and rain. Yes, I said it. Rain. I actually miss it.
Much of my inspiration for homeschooling is derived from my experiences as a child. Homeschooling has awoken a part of me that felt like it had long disappeared. Remembering what it was like to be so curious and care free. To wander through the woods and play. To be covered in dirt and not care, to really look at the butterflies and hold a slimy snail. It has been a wake up call for me as a mother. To stop, and truly experience life through the eyes of a child. I’m trying to really embrace this process. The transition from education in a neatly organized box, to education with no box. Letting each day flow with the interests of my children and being more in tune with their curiosities and using them as teaching points. A lesson can come from something as simple as a one question!
With Summer rapidly approaching the days are getting longer and the temperatures are rising. The other night at bedtime it was still light outside, and my daughter was convinced it wasn’t her bedtime. How could it be, its still light out! So I thought, you know what, that would be a great Mom School Lesson! So the next morning I put together a lesson. I had to do some research because one thing I’ve learned on this journey is that the good ole saying “if you can’t explain something to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself,” is most definitely true. I like to use my big chalkboard, and I usually pick a few important words from the lesson for us to learn how to read and practice writing. We began learning about why the days get longer, why we have seasons, and how the tilt and rotation of the earth is the reason behind all of it. All of these concepts are very hard to grasp. I began to realize as we got further into the lesson, that it was way over my daughters head. You win some, you lose some. The best part about all of it is how lessons that are based off of personal interests usually lead to more organic curiosity. Once I realized this lesson was more frustrating than educational, we veered off course, and ended up learning about maps, and directions. North,West,East, South. My daughter wants to be an “explorer” when she grows up so anything that explorers need to know is golden in her eyes. So we ventured out and bought a compass and a map. We ended our day with a walk using the compass to see what direction we were going. It was fun and we learned something new.
There is something so special about the mind of a child. So innocent, naturally curious and creative. I learned so many things about myself being wild and free in the woods in Oregon. I believe it gave my brother and I great confidence in ourselves because we had to make judgement calls without adults hovering over us. It took nerve to wander off into the trees, unsupervised. It allowed my brother and I to be creative and use our imagination. In our minds we were surviving out there in those woods! For now, I can’t give my children the childhood I had, but I can do my best to help them feel wild and free!