Thursday, September 30, 2010

Making Peace With This Homeschool Journey

Learning is a part of life...I am both a teacher and a learner.

The decision to homeschool came fairly easy ~  it was basically just a "gut feeling" I felt I wanted to follow. The home school journey though, has been challenging.
I love sharing my day with my girls ~  the real issue has been accepting that I am capable of teaching my girls. It seems I have had a continual voice whispering "you aren't doing enough", "what if this is a mistake", "other mothers are doing such a better job" and on and on...
Each year I embark on the commitment of homeschooling (so far it has been about four) I wrestle with my inadequacies rearing their ruthless heads, trying to discourage me.
This year though, I have chosen to work on being gentle with myself as one of their teachers, reminding myself  to take time out to appreciate where things are working in our day-to-day routine and to embrace a rhythm that feeds us all.
I wanted to share the moments of our of our homeschool day that make it all worth it ~  the ways we flow and share together.

Here's my tribute to starving that "not enough" voice and embracing the beauty and goodness that comes from following your gut!

our morning circle ~ the time of day we center as a family with song and verse

 Our morning verse

My Heart 
I am strong, I am brave, I am valiant and bold.
For the sun fills my heart with his life giving gold.
I am helpful and truthful and loving and free.
For my heart's inner sunshine glows brightly in me.
I will open my arms to the sunbeams so bright;
I will warm all the world with my heart's inner light. 

Our first "work" of the day ~ journaling. A way for them to turn inwards to reflect and express (then share if they choose).  One of the ideas behind it, is letting them express with free flow and no corrections.  I treasure these as window into their life ~ a gift to them when they are older.

Our 10:00 tea time  ~ Mama needs it too!

  "dancin'" break ~ our time to rev up the tunes to move and groove

 love to get those creative juices flowing (and joining them in the process when the mood hits)!

 appreciating that mother nature is one of their greatest teachers

Lastly, one of my favorite moments ~ seeing big sister read to little sister.
These are mere fragments of our day together. My highlights. Together we are also working from the oak meadow syllabus (and other resources). Papa is teaching math, music and art ~ and I am humbly attempting to fill in the rest.

The journey continues...
Yes the dishes pile up, we take days off, I get frustrated and I still question if I am doing enough but I am learning to be gentle with this homeschool mama and see it for the gift that it is.

Schooling/unschooling is such a personal decision and there are so many ways to do it.  I believe there is no right way. Teaching our children is done by many wonderful people and all mama's everywhere, everyday, in so many different ways.  A journey we all share together ~ guiding and allowing ourselves to be taught along the way.

To all you mamas and teachers out love and respect to you.

~ Shanti ~


  1. what a beautiful post about homeschooling... what a loving and worthy thing to accomplish
    light and love

  2. I loved this post! I am so inspired! I too homeschool and often have the, "am I doing enough" worry. But when we get to snuggle together every single day and have storytime together- have time to talk and answer questions, these are the moments I cherish and we will cherish forever.

  3. This post really hit home with me. All the thoughts I've been having. The inadequacies like to show themselves bigger than they really are. I'm trying to remember that enjoying each other is so important.

  4. I don't homeschool (though I would consider it if a situation would call for this kind of change), but I still could relate to this post. I think ANY mom can relate to this post. I often wonder if I'm doing enough with and for my kids. And while it's not a bad thing to reevaluate things once in a while to make sure we are where we want to be, constantly doubting ourselves is definitely not the best thing. So here's to cutting ourselves some slack and knowing that we, as moms and "teachers", do one heck of a job and should be proud of ourselves!

    And your pictures are so inspirational, the two biggest qualities that I see radiating from them, is happiness and peacefulness. Happy homeschooling/unschooling year!

  5. So lovely to look through a window to your day, in fact it is almost identical to ours. This is our first year homeschooling, officially that is. You know what? Now that I think of it its really the same things I have always worried about and most mums and dads probably do too, homeschool or not. Am I spending enough time, am I covering all bases, should we do more or less. Glad you are taking it a bit easier on yourself, I think you are pretty awesome :).

  6. Thank you for that. I have always hoped to homeschool my little ones, and yet am filled with so many fears, and apprehensions. It is so beautiful and inspiring to experience these glances into your day, seeing how truly special and unique this way of learning can be.

  7. I have toyed with the idea of homeschooling for awhile now (my son is not quite 3, so I still have some time to decide) but I agree with Sunshine Mama that I think we can all relate to this post. Homeschooling or not, we all have feelings of inadequacy and times when we think we should be doing more. It's so hard to balance giving ourselves the time when we are so focused on out children.
    Just know that you are doing a great job!

  8. WE all have these worries don't we. We all compare ourselves too much to others instead of looking within ourselves.

    Great post, thanks for sharing :-)

  9. Thank you, thank you, thank you. THIS my friend is why I am so inspired! You are an awesome, mindful and talented Mama.
    Beautiful post! Wished we lived closer.

    Namaste, Nicole

  10. What a beautful post. We are currently trying to decide what our plan is next year for Kindy - posts like these make homeschooling look so good!! I love that morning verse too and am going to steal it. ;)

  11. What a beautiful post!
    You make everything seem magical!

  12. No matter how one works as a teacher, I think we all question our ability to do it well. Our little charges are so precious and so important that I think it's natural to wonder if we're doing it right! I wonder every single day if what I'm doing is enough! I, too, am trying to relax into the belief that I am enough and what I have to offer is of value to my students. :-) Hats off to teachers, one and all!

  13. Wonderful post! I love your morning verse as well and will try and learn it to teach it to my daughter. I have to say that my daughter started Montessori preschool five mornings a week and for me I'm sooo relieved that it takes the pressure off me! This way we can do all of the fun things I want to do in the afternoons still. Hats off to you for being so wonderfully brave and strong!

  14. I just started homeschooling my kindergarten age son this fall and I too question if it's the right thing, even though I was an elementary school teacher before I had my babies. So yes trust your instincts and enjoy every moment with your girls. From your photos it looks like yours is an amazing "school" to be a part of ;)

  15. amazing...such an inspirational post, full of heart! AS ALWAYS!

  16. The best teachers are reflective teachers, acknowledging what they need to improve on, pondering those things that didn't work, and looking ahead to the small changes we can make in little lives every day. You're a teacher, dear Shanti! Beautiful post.

  17. such a personal and honest post. It does make us all feel better to see others have the same fears. I keep reminding myself that this was the plan, this was why I choose to homeschool. But still I feel myself can't waiting until my oldest can read fluently, any thing she picks up- I feel like on that day I will have this little golden nugget in my pocket to rub when I need it. In truth, it will just be the experience of worrying and seeing it come out alright.

  18. What do you think of Oak Meadow? I've been looking at that for a while now. I really need to work on developing a rhythm for Ella and me.

  19. Such a beautiful, real post...
    Thank you.

  20. Shanti, this is such a heartfelt and lovely post. I love your glimpse into your day, lately I have been trying to work on following what I believe inside is right and to follow it.... not always easy but I'll keep trying. Your girls look like they are so happy a perfect way to grow and a wonderful job that you are doing!!

    Have a beautiful weekend. xxx

  21. Such a lovely day! Thanks for sharing.

  22. your day looks beautiful. i am so inspired by you and others i have found in the blog world to homeschool my son. don't stop! what you're doing is wonderful! from a mom who taught first grade for 8 years in the public school system in southern california.

  23. oh I so know how you must feel! When we lived in NB I was feeling desperate about the schooling situation and seriously considered pulling my sons out of school and homeschooling, yet I was a bundle of nerves wondering if I could pull it seriously, I went to an Education psychologist and had testing done on ME to make sure I wasn't lacking the capacity to teach. (I was checking on ADHD, apparently I'm not). We then were posted, and I am happy with the schools my children attend, but should the situation change, homeschooling is a great option, and I have a great respect for those who choose that option first.

  24. Thank you for this gentle and heartfelt post. We share the same worries and you've given me a much needed reminder that what we're doing is enough... and that the journey itself is such a gift. Much love & light. <3

  25. that is a lovely rhythm, and the verse on the board melts my heart! boy, i never imagined how much soul-learning i was signing up for - and i often must remind myself to model gentleness towards myself too!

  26. Oh Shanti, you are such an amazing mother and doing such a good job at homeschooling. I think I face those thoughts everyday in just mothering. I absolutely LOVE your morning rituals of singing song, verse & then journaling. Its such a great way to have them start even at this young age to look inside themselves.

    This is so inspiring!!! Thanks for sharing.
    Have a beautiful, restful weekend!

  27. I love how you start your day. It looks warm, inviting and loving.

    Thanks for sharing,

  28. I love this is so sweet and personal. Makes me miss you guys!

  29. love and respect straight back at you Mama xx

  30. The perfect post for me to read, I am struggling with these same feelings and we are only a month in! I have battles with basic things, days where we don't 'do' enough (my son is only 5, what is wrong with me?!), a lack of clarity about how, what, when...I struggle with it all. But YOU are one of the mum's who makes me think 'wow, look at her, look at what they are doing..." Sigh, if only we could all let go of the comparisons. Ok, if only I could. What you do looks amazing, maybe I have to have faith that some moments out of our day are amazing too. Food for thought...

  31. I asore that verse!! Hope you don't mind I mentioned it in my blogpost today. But I linked you of course.

  32. Thankyou so much for your sharing with such honesty. We have decided to embark on the homeschool/unschool journey and the only thing holding me back is my own fear of not being or knowing enough. You seem to be an amazing mother and to be doing an amazing job at schooling your children. We should all learn to doubt ourselves less and trust ourselves more :)


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