One of the gifts I’ve learned along the way of my homeschooling journey is the gift of no rules. What do I mean by that?
I mean that really if you think about it, most of the pressure and rules we live under while we teach and mentor our children we put on ourselves. Here is an example for you.
Last week we did an art project I’d been meaning to do for weeks….2 weeks by that time. I wanted to use our liquid watercolors to paint eggs for Easter. We had run the gamut on most of our other Easter egg activities throughout the years from traditional dyes to natural ones, watercolor glue resist and on and on. So this would be new and I was very curious from an art teacher’s perspective how they would turn out.
The only problem was day after day we never got around to it….this happened for weeks. Now I’ll let myself off the hook as it was during a very busy time for me and my business so it’s understandable, but I was disappointed that art didn’t make the cut. Me being the freedom loving rebel that I am however decided no matter how many days (ahem weeks) past Easter it was we were going to do this project! And we did!
We had a lovely time painting outside in the spring air, sun dancing across our faces as we concentrated on the way the liquid colors moved across the rough surface of our eggs. It was lovely and it was weeks past Easter. Weeks past all of the other posts boasting of swirled eggs, dipped eggs and brightly tied dyed eggs. It was weeks past the right time on the calendar but exactly the right time for us.
And this is what is so life giving to embrace as homeschooling parents if we allow ourselves the gift of no rules.
I’ve written about the 3 things I try to focus on each day to keep us grounded before. And I’ll share it again as I hope it inspires you to come up with your own “rules” to live and teach by.
Everything else isn’t as important, can be moved to another day or thrown out the window if need be. What matters in this life at the end of the day and at the end of our lives, is relationships. These 3 core values do well to keep that belief in perspective.
My core values are Quality Time * Minimal Stress * Good Food.
Quality time means many things to me. First and most importantly it means everyone is heard. If someone is having a particularly hard day, everything else will shift so we can listen and talk for as long as needed. This may be at the grocery store, it may be at home, but where ever I want my kids and husband to always know they are more important than ticking off boxes or fulfilling tasks. A successful day is one where everyone knows and feels deeply that they are loved unconditionally. This isn’t always easy, I am a list maker and checker by nature. I enjoy a nice productive day like any other list freak out there. But I try to live my life by my beliefs more than my natural tendencies. This means stopping in the middle of doing dishes to listen, not finishing the laundry to redirect emotions, and canceling school sometimes for family time.
Minimal stress sounds a little strange to be on a core value list so let me explain. Stress is not good for us, even in small amounts. Pressure is good and challenges equally so, but stress should not be confused with these potentially character building moments. Stress tends to alter my choices and certainly alters the tone of my voice if you know what I mean. I don’t like it. So if something is becoming stressful, even for instance the school day, I will look at it and see if I can refocus to change it. It may mean we stop circle time mid way and hit the park. We may just decide to destroy the bedroom and build the most magical tent ever while munching throughout the day instead of having well balanced and planned meals. Hey who doesn’t feel loved in a towering cushy tent with bowls of tzatziki, carrots and soaked biscuits all around!?
By Good Food I mean good for you. Real food, not processed, not an out of a box meal. It isn’t hard to eat well if planning is happening. However it is even easier when there are clear boundaries in the family. For instance we don’t keep snack-y packaged foods and unhealthy drinks around. So the sneaky and hungry kids can only resort to the likes of blueberries and celery for munch-y schemes. We also don’t do fast food. We just don’t. It is not an option. So in the event we are out and about longer than expected and we all need refueling there is always a grocery store nearby. Cheese and fruit does well in a pinch. Some nights dinner just isn’t happening the way I planned or envisioned. In these desperate moments look no further than the old stand by of rice and beans. I swear, the simpler my meals get the more the kids love them! What is up with that? I really enjoy cooking and trying new recipes so simple isn’t always on the menu but it is nice to know that if it’s beans and rice tonight no one is going to complain.
To read the full blog post on recapturing bad days using your values click here.