Thursday, July 9, 2015

Homeschool, Chapter 11. It's More Than Just Bankruptcy. It's A Way Of Life.

For most of our homeschool years I've made Ella a full partner in the decisions about what we do and when we do it. This has created a wonderfully collaborative relationship, but it has also resulted in a wonderfully disorganized educational process.

The disorganization used to really bother me.  Even as anti-authoritarian as I am, in the back of my mind were those little nagging voices, undermining my confidence and insinuating that was doing a disservice to my own child by not being more intentional in our process.

This concern was why I started offering homeschool classes in our studio.  It is also why our homeschool classes, for the most part, have been only so-so.  They weren't honest.  They were driven by a need to prove that we were "on track."

The problem with the track is that it's arbitrary.  Who says the track has to lead where it does?  What if that's not where we want to go?  What if that's not the track we want to use to get there?  What if we really prefer the other, longer, bumpier track?  WHAT IF I DON'T WANT YOUR TRACK TO BE THE BOSS OF ME?

So, after 7 years of carefully overthinking all the various "tracks" - Montessori and Classical and Reggio and unschooling and Charlotte Mason and Waldorf and inquiry-driven and delight-directed and unit studies and project-based and ALL THE HOMESCHOOL PHILOSOPHICAL THINGS, I decided to go back to the source:  Ella.

Her pace.  Her interests.  Her self-knowledge.  Her ambitions.  Her wisdom.

She is not "on track".  She is building her own track as she goes.  It is intuitive and holistic and well-rounded.  It fits her like a glove.

Which brings me to today's household correction.  You see this basket?

So Homeschool. Much ugh. Wow.

This basket mocks me.  It has been both the bureaucracy of what we do in "school" and the repository of all the things that we have "failed" to do.  I have put a lot of hope in it and a lot of guilt has seeped out as a result.  The basket is not to blame, and the part of me that likes to anthropomorphize things imagines the basket feels bad that it has become so FRAUGHT with symbolism, when all it wants to do is hold stuff stylishly and without any drama.

So today I held a little tonglen ceremony for the basket.

Breathe in all the burden, breathe out relief.

Breathe in all the expectations, breathe out non-attachment.  

Breathe in all the judgment, breathe out compassion. 

Breathe in all the bull droppings, breathe out all the aromatherapy.

Now the basket is empty again.  Now the basket is useful again.

Chapter 11 to the rescue once again.


So you're all wondering what went back in the basket.  Right now, it's Ella bullet journal, her laptop, her library book, and her diary.  And the occasional cat.


  1. Amen, Sistah!!! And so!! Ella's path will be her own!

  2. I totally agree! Work with what works and adjust what does not. When I first started last year everyone wanted to know what I was going to use. And, everyone assumed I am doing Waldorf (which technically is set up to be a social education and not quite so great for individual use). Nope, we use a tiny bit of Waldorf, a lot of Classical, and whatever else works for the kids and to be honest, me as teacher.