Every time I read one of those “a day in our life as homeschoolers” posts, I feel as if I’ve accidentally wandered into another dimension. We have about as much in common with your standard homeschooling blogger family as we do with French royalty, street musicians or hermit crabs.
We don’t have a typical day. The way our homeschool looks varies so wildly from season to season, month to month, crisis to crisis, joy to joy.
In the 10 years or so that we’ve been officially homeschooling…
We’ve homeschooled through trips to Florida, Maine, California, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, North Carolina — and probably 20 or more trips to play with the Bakers in Nebraska and a hundred day trips to South Dakota. We’ve homeschooled through six family surgeries, Victoria’s cancer and three new babies. I’ve homeschooled through daily migraines with auras, high risk pregnancies, mono, physical therapy for my chronic neck pain, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome that was so bad I spent months on the couch piled high with my kids and dozens of library books to keep them occupied.
Daryl has homeschooled through “end stage osteoarthritis” in his knee, elbow and ankle especially, and a completely destroyed hip socket.
We’ve homeschooled through 8 years of the Wilder Pageant taking up most of the months of June and July, along with various other plays and performances. (In that time, Victoria and Anna have been seen by roughly 80,000 audience members!) We’ve homeschooled through the deaths of good friends, beloved pets and loved ones.
We’ve homeschooled through the Feingold Program, a GF/DF diet and various kids going vegan, vegetarian and raw (plus several years of me cooking a vegan diet to cure my CFS).
We’ve homeschooled through our own bouts with depression, angst, anxiety, phobias and personal crises.
We’ve homeschooled through Civil War Days, History Fest, Pioneer Village, The Betsy Tacy Society, the Petroglyphs, telegraphs, old time gamblers, the Ingalls Family and Walnut Grove, old time musical instruments, old time games, the atlatl, flintknapping, winter counts, prairie life, Dakota life, flim flams and Civil War balls. We’ve homeschooled through raising dozens of monarch butterflies, taking part in real archeological digs, watching kittens being born, dissecting owl pellets, taking part in survival camp, experimenting at the kitchen table and using science conferences, CSI workshops, nature walks, memberships to zoos and science museums, Netflix shows, iPod apps, board games, ant farms and close encounters with all different wildlife. We’ve homeschooled through fixations with lapbooks, altered books, the Civil War, photography, artist trading cards, Harry Potter, Tokio Hotel, the Gold Rush, Twilight, Pokemon, LEGOs, fairies, endangered animals, Mario, Taylor Swift, Germany, Hannah Montana, Van Gogh, tigers, the 39 Clues, trains, social justice, abandoned houses, Minecraft, Homestuck, Sadie Rose, crime shows, screenwriting, astrophysics, ghost hunting and anything medical. We’ve homeschooled through potty training, first periods, lost friendships, crushes and the tween/teen years (if you haven’t yet entered the middle school and teen years as a parent, you may not be aware of what an accomplishment it is to survive those years intact).
We’ve homeschooled through financial crises, personal crises and general malaise.
And at every turn, our homeschooling was different. The only things that are consistent in our homeschool are:
- Our house is almost always messy, and all of us (except Daryl) are generally behind in chores.
- Our house is almost always noisy. You will hear talking, hooting, laughing, barking, bickering and far too much TV.
- We are generally together. The kids congregate wherever we are, no matter how much they say they’re annoyed by noise and each other. 😉
- We talk all the time. It is the biggest way we homeschool, by sharing interesting information (the kids too) with each other.
- Our house is cluttered. We collect everything from books to bones to crystals. We have all kinds of science gadgets, strange musical instruments, fossils, art supplies, electronic toys, materials for projects and assorted nifties.
- We love to read. We have more bookcases than I can count, including a floor to ceiling bookcase wall on our front porch, and we still don’t have room for all of our books. We are always reading — library books, Kindle books, antique books, Calvin and Hobbes books, psychology textbooks, gluten free cookbooks, giant astronomy books, you name it.
- We love to learn, and to share what we learn with each other.
- We love adventure. We seek out travels and new things to try, whether it’s archery or a camp across the country.
- We love to homeschool — however we happen to do it that day.
Last weekend, we were homeschooling at Tiffany’s in Nebraska again. That involved learning to knit, making new friends (and finally meeting a lovely HS family I’ve known online for years!), photography at the lake, talking about England, Wii games, reading about Einstein and sampling chocolate, among other things!
We got home yesterday. Today, we rest. Okay, sort of. Daryl, Victoria and Fiona have made a run to Windom for some groceries for the next couple of days. The boys are watching Cyber Chase on Netflix, Anna is writing a book, and I’m trying to catch up on writing and cleaning (but instead am blogging!).
It should be noted that I am still in my pajamas. And I’m okay with that. 🙂
Tomorrow, Alex has an appointment in Sioux Falls for a recheck from his surgery. We’ll probably stop by the zoo or the science museum while we’re in town.
The next day, we leave for Rochester, where we’ll be in a hotel extended stay suite next to the Mayo while Daryl gets a new hip. It will be me, five kids, and a dog.
Victoria will be accompanying her dad for his day of tests and classes beforehand, and then we will all visit him when we can until he’s released on Sunday.
That should be quite an adventure.
I have a mental list of all sorts of things I want to accomplish today, on the homeschool front, the cleaning front and the work/personal front. I won’t get to half of it and I’ll still be behind in everything, and I’ll go to bed with a sore neck and a pile of kids surrounding us still wanting to yap and hang out with us.
And it’s the perfect homeschool day to me. 🙂