I learned something about us–our family, the way we learn, the way our homeschool schedule works. We get very passionate about things and have subject-intensive times that last months, even whole school years. We’ve had science-intensive times and history-intensive times and math intensive-times. Sometimes there are two subjects going on intensively at one time. And now, we are having an art-intensive time.
We just began our art-intensive time a couple weeks ago but I know us, and I know this will go on for quite a while. We will use art as a jumping off point to study geography and history, not to mention we will learn a whole lot about famous artists and art techniques.
The rhythm of intensely focusing on some subjects and studying others lightly works well for our family. While we had a history and math-intensive year last year, we studied science lightly, mostly using Bill Nye science videos and informal nature studies.
This made me nervous at first. My kids were not getting focused science curriculum. What would become of them?! On the other hand, they had a science-intensive time that lasted for a whole year prior to that. Oh, right. Relax, Mom.
This year, it seems to feel right to have a light history year, following our history intensive times for the past two years. We will dive into science again with Marine Biology, focus on spelling for my 9 year old (at his request; he wants to be able to chat and text, so this has become a priority for him) and Art will be our Big Subject. Of course, we’ll still do math and writing for my big kids and tons of fun preschool stuff for my little guy, too.
Taking off the pressure of having to cram in all subjects all the time has made such a difference in our homeschool. Being able to delve deeply into what is interesting to us in the moment feels wonderful. Not having to stop my kids from reading another book about this week’s featured artist or creating another piece in the style of a particular movement we are learning about because we have to cram three more subjects into our school day today, has helped all of us relax. Are we learning less? No. In fact, we are learning more about each subject that we focus on deeply before moving on to the next.
I wish I could go back and talk to my first year homeschooling self and teach her about this rhythm, tell her to relax, tell her not to try to do it all. Wouldn’t we all have a similar conversation with our first year homeschooling selves? Perhaps that is just the natural evolution of the homeschooling mom. We start out with all these wonderful resources, trying to find our way, cram it all in, follow a schedule. Each year we relax a bit more, gaining confidence in ourselves, knowing more about our children’s learning styles and preferences, what will work and what will be a struggle. And we settle into a rhythm that fits so much more comfortably than that one we tried on in Year One. Until it changes, of course. But once you have a rhythm, it’s not so hard to change it up a bit.
Yes, I like this rhythm, so much better than that over-packed homeschool schedule we had in Year One. Year Four is going to be a very good year.