Squishy: “Mom! I need you to blow up these balloons so I can tape them together!”
For those of you who have not met my Squishy in person, he speaks in caps lock and exclamation points. Even his whisper is excited. He thrust three small balloons in my face before I had any coffee this morning, and I could tell he had a plan. So I dutifully blew up the balloons and sent him off to his room. I needed a couple of minutes to wake up still.
*POP!* and squeals of delight followed fifteen minutes later. I was actually a little surprised that it didn’t come sooner. I heard the familiar slap of bare feet running down the hall…
Squishy: “Mom! That was so awesome! I was stacking stuff on the balloons and they JUST EXPLODED!” He makes an exaggerated poof with his hands that spread his grin even further out on his face. “The pieces went everywhere!”
Me: “Why do you think that happened?”
Squishy (giving me that duh mom look): “Because mom…Science.”
At four years old he already has that look perfected, but I keep asking him questions, and challenging his reasoning. I want him to crave the why just as much as he craves the answers.
Squishy: “Can we fill them up with water next and see what happens?”
Me: “What do you think will happen?”
Indeed it is my squishy face, science: the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment. Ask-watch-try-watch-and ask some more.
I have been gone awhile. Squishy has needed my full attention after my surgery. It has also given me time to analyze our homeschool “Why”. Our homeschool these last two months does not look like I had envisioned it to be, and I felt like a failure as a mom and a homeschooler. Our rhythm is shot to hell, we have been watching way to much TV and I physically can not be as engaged with Squishy as I once was. I would say we have been in survival mode with me grasping at what my idea of homeschool was.
I have been binge watching Julie Bogart from Brave Writer on YouTube. (I think this might be a “you might be a homeschool mom if…” scenario.) She has helped me put our life back into perspective, and recapture the enchantment of learning. It all starts with our Why. The how and the when is going to be ever evolving as Squishy grows in his educational life. And here is the kicker, it is about HIS education, it’s not about me.
I am Squishy’s mom, but that is not all I am.
I thought that I knew that. I thought that I was completely focused on him. This might be a trap many homeschool moms, and maybe just stay at home mom’s in general, fall into. I was completely focused on Squish. So much so that my whole identity was wrapped up in him and who he was. I was his mom, we were a homeschool family, and when I fell on that mountain who I was fractured. I am Squishy’s mom, but that is not all I am. I’m actually pretty awesome and interesting. (You’ll just have to trust me, but I do have references.)
My injury and recovery have forced me to reevaluate our homeschool lifestyle, and after watching Julie’s videos I’ve been able to set my ego aside. I have been questioning if he would do better in a school setting, if I should make him do worksheets, if I should follow Charlotte Manson or Classical or or or. Then I realized I needed to revisit why I wanted him to be homeschooled to begin with. Once I did that I had my answers, and was able to move forward.
Everybody’s Why is going to be different.When my husband and I first decided homeschooling was for us, it was as an alternative to a public school we both struggled through. That seems to be more of a byproduct of our homeschooling now, but not the Why. Our why stares me in the face every single morning, and has only become more obvious as he gets older.
Squishy is a divergent thinker, he sees a million different possibilities when you are only looking for the answer that is already there. He also has an extremely high anxiety personality mixed with very rigid ideas of how things should be done. He is not what anyone would call an easy kid. I understand him, for the most part, though. I am able to give him the individualized learning he craves. When and if we get to a point where this is not the best environment for his learning, it will be the Why of some other kind of education. I’m okay with that, because my Why is finding the best learning style for him.
I have linked to Julie’s YouTube below. I am not affiliated with her or Brave Writer, it has just been an invaluable resource for us. I hope you find it helpful and helps you find your Why.