January came fast and furious for our family, and I’m easing myself back into life for 2015. I considered January my “new December” (the month I use for planning and prepping), so February is my new January. Here’s a happy collection of “links to think.”
My friend Johanna has children in similar stages/ages as ours (but with one more coming), and we also happen to share a lot of similar philosophies on parenting and education. I frequently get asked about what we’re doing for our kids homeschool, and words like unschooling, delayed formal education, or free play can be confusing descriptors if I lack time or opportunity to give further explanation. So, from now on, I’m point people to Johanna’s post! 🙂 (Although our specific focuses and weight we place on certain areas will probably differ, and even change ourselves as we go through different seasons of parenting and life.)
“Now to a philosophy…
I feel like when the question of educational philosophy comes up, you are almost expected to pick one. Not only do I find it hard to box myself in that much, but I also feel like that sometimes lends itself toward accepting one philosophy as being the absolutebest. That’s always a bit dangerous because every child, family, and situation is different. I’ve found a lot of valuable input from every end of the educational spectrum (Unschooling, Leadership Education, Charlotte Mason, Classical, etc). So rather than choose a single philosophy, I’m going to share a few ideas that influence how we learn in the day to day.
Delayed formal academics.
Based on a lot of reading, I have come to the conclusion that, in general, we are pushing kids too young. There is a lot of emphasis in the preschool and early elementary years to push kids to read earlier, know more facts, and in the process they lose a lot of free time just playing and exploring the world. Some kids are ready for this, but many aren’t. While we do a lot of learning every day (including daily reading practice) we had decided to not do “formal” academics until sometime in the year that Stefan turned 7 (based on my reading on child development and a shift that seems to takes place around that age). I planned to follow Stefan’s natural shift, and interestingly enough almost to the date of turning 7, I watched it happening before my eyes.
He was (is) ready for more. I had things ready to go for when that happened and so we have moved almost seamlessly into a more structured way of learning. It’s been completely fascinating to watch! Just to note, I do think Olivia will move into this much sooner mostly because she is watching her older brother and enjoys learning right along with us. I’m not for holding them back if they want to move forward, but in these early years I certainly don’t want to push ahead before they are developmentally ready. It’s a fine balance for sure, and I think every child will be different.
Lots of free play. Because my kids are still very young, there needs to be lots of hours of free play. The time will come soon enough when my kids will be spending the bulk of the hours of their day studying and learning, but right now isn’t that time. They need lots and lots of play both indoor and outdoor….”
I love this little glimpse into holistic love over at Sarah Bessey’s blog, I think because that’s where we are now. Like Sarah, in our own marriage, we swore (figuratively!) that we wouldn’t become the ordinary, but we also swore to each other that our marriage vows were built on something deeper than date nights or flowers. Somehow, we’ve made this marriage beautiful without those latter elements, but along the way we’ve also found that holistic love also flows in and from the ordinary, and that it’s there that heros often grow.
“We swore we wouldn’t become those tired ones in the middle of their life, living just a regular sort of life. We are meant for more than the ordinary! we bought the lie, hook line and sinker from the evangelical hero complex. Life was meant to be an adventure, filled with risk and romance. Love would look like this for us forever. Like we were somehow above or better than the minivans and mortgages, the tub scrubbing and sheet washing, like our clock would always be made up of bright mornings and late nights.
But here’s the truth: lifelong love is actually most built throughout the hours of the day, all twenty four of them, in the ordinary moments of our humanity. Lifelong love isn’t just for lazy Saturday mornings of coffee and books, it’s not just midnight breathlessness scented with perfume, it’s not just evening dinners with a bottle of wine. Those moments of our lives are lovely and necessary, too, but they’re not the fullness of love either. Love looks like choosing each other, again, in all of the rotations of the clock’s hands, in all of the years we share together, in the seasons and the minutes. It’s glamorous and sexy, and it’s boring and daily.
I have come to believe that lifelong love often looks extraordinary, yes, but it’s because we are faithful to love well in the ordinary minutes of our days. “
Disclaimer: “Links to Think” is my post of curated articles and blog posts from around the Internet. I rarely post something in its entirety (click on the heading title to read the rest of the article I’m excerpting), and I have yet to find another author with whom I agree with on everything. Please note that my sharing an article from a particular author in no way signifies my endorsement or agreement with their entire work.