Reading an old ‘House Beautiful’ magazine that I found while cleaning for the Chinese New Year, a quotation caught my eye, and my imagination. An interviewer expressed surprise when the designer being interviewed said that she used her best dishes every day, to which the designer replied, ‘Every day is all there is!’.
This brought me back to a few other Big Thoughts that I have taped to the wall and fridge over the years, but haven’t thought about much lately. One of my favourites is from John Lennon: ‘Life is what is happening while you’re busy making plans.’ Homeschooling definitely takes some planning, but it also demands (yes, not asks, demands!) flexibility. There are days when you run out of printer ink. There are days when everyone is just tired. And there are days when things go more smoothly than you anticipated. It seems that tending too far in either direction – planning too much, or too little – causes problems. I do find that much of the time, finding the right amount of structure and long-term organisation as well as the right amount of being in ‘the here and now’ and responding well to What Is Actually Happening is a bit of a tight-rope walk. Remembering Lennon’s words can help me avoid taking off in my head, to ‘the future’ and to come back to whatever is happening today – even if, and especially when, it’s not too glamorous.
Another anecdote related to John Lennon also helps me to refocus, some of the time. Apparently, Lennon’s school teacher asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. He replied, ‘happy’. The teacher said he didn’t understand the question. Lennon replied that she didn’t understand life. 🙂
Don’t we all want to be happy? Don’t many philosophies suggest that we all can be happy, right now, regardless of our level of wealth, etc.? How often have we heard that happiness is a ‘state of mind’? I think it is important to enjoy homeschooling. If it is approached as a difficult task (even when it is), it is no more fun than getting up in the dark early hours and trudging off to a smelly classroom. It is worth reminding oneself over and over that homeschooling is a privilege, and that it can be fun. Instead of spending time with your children later, you can spend time with them now. Instead of enjoying simple pleasures later (like a shared meal, nice weather, a family walk, a hug, a cookie, a joke!), you can enjoy them now.
If someone asked us why we homeschool, I think the shortest answer would be ‘to be here, now, together’. Why have a family if you do not live your days together? Children grow up so quickly! While everyone needs time alone, ‘down time’ and time outside of the family home, it is important to remember that we humans are rather vulnerable, sensitive creatures, who love our ‘safe place’ and who want to feel secure and loved. If home is a happy place in which to live, it can be a happy place in which to learn.
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