Thursday, May 21, 2009

I am utterly wrecked. Second day in a row of moving/packing/cleaning at the school, and today just sucked every bit of energy out of me. I've got something like 25 bits of email I should really be responding to, and I can't even make myself *read* them all.

We played school first thing, this morning (not taking any time for our solo-time or my chi kung work) -- Sarah wanted more gnome stories, so I made a decent attempt at making one up -- and then dashed out the door to spend the day working. We got a good amount done -- moved a bunch of boxes, got loads of books out via freecycle, tossed piles and piles of detritus... Sarah and I finally got out around 5:00, dropping the mat off on our way home.

Now we're home doing a sort of combo -- solo-time with expansive play/puttering time -- so I'm mixing puttering with online time, and Sarah's playing while watching the Garfield movie in the background.

I'm getting a little panicky, realizing how much stuff has piled up, this week, while I was focusing on decluttering at home and packing at school (and getting into our new routines). Maybe I'll make a giant ToDo list just to get it all out of my head, pick the three most important things to do now, and then go take a nap...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I punted Sarah's dentist appointment, yesterday -- neither of us had the gumption for the long, emotionally exhausting, effort involved. Next week is soon enough.

So instead we played school, walked around our property a little talking about signs of Spring, and spent a good chunk of time hunkered down in the front yard, enjoying the jumble of clover in which we imagine fairies could happily live. We didn't find anything to add to our Nature table, but Sarah suggested recording some birdsong for that corner. In a happy coincidence, when we finally went back inside, I discovered that this website of rainforest sounds had just arrived in our daily Clickschooling email. We used them as background for the rest of the afternoon's puttering. I may put a similar soundtrack on the ipod so we can keep birdsong at our fingertips -- almost as good as keeping it in the nature corner...

Today we played school really quickly (we're currently doing lots of math stuff -- reading Penrose the Mathematical Cat and telling lots of gnome stories (inspired by the Oak Meadow math curriculum)), then went to school to help pack and move all the school stuff out of the church basement. It's both sad and satisfying to be leaving that space finally/already. It's also sad and satisfying and strange not to be the one in charge of keeping track of everything, anymore.

I'm trying to heed the advice I got yesterday: "Do as little as possible". And so now, after our lunch-and-a-movie (an episode of Animaniacs, today), I'm going to do my chi kung exercises and then lie down for a nap. Maybe tonight we'll go out and pick up a bookcase for the diningroom, to help corral all these books...

Saturday, May 9, 2009


I've been on my leave of absence for... I guess about 3 weeks, now. Originally the plan was for Sarah to stay home with me Mondays and Tuesdays, and to go in to school W-F (alone on W and F, with me on R). Instead she's chosen to stay home with me, so far. Which is fine with me. But for the last few weeks, while I've been letting myself coast completely, it's meant hot and cold running TV for her, 24/7. I'm happy to suspend our TV guidelines on true *sick* days, but this is not that sort of thing -- and we can only live like this so long before it becomes enervating and depressing, instead of a fun treat.

When we were homeschooling together full time, we drew a lot of our inspiration from Waldorf -- in terms of the rhythms of our day/week/year, in terms of a focus on story, song, and nature, and in terms of my (generally unspoken) focus on emotional/spiritual age-appropriateness (steering away from overly analytical explanations of things during that first, dreamy, stage of childhood, for example -- because I know I have a tendency towards the wordy, analytical answer every time). When we started at the school, most of that went by the wayside -- some intentionally, some not.

When I started thinking, 'okay, we're going to be home together most days for the next 4-5 months -- what do we want our lives to look like?' I found myself going back to Waldorf (and specifically the Enki and Oak Meadow materials I'd collected during our first years of homeschooling). I spent the early part of this week reading mostly my old Enki books (I'd passed along most of the Oak Meadow stuff to friends), talking with Sarah, and considering what a restorative, balanced rhythm would look like, for us.

Enki suggests looking at the way you're already doing things, and identifying just the one or two places in your day where you'll *most* benefit from transitioning to a more rhythmic approach. But, frankly, I'm just not up for leaving things mostly as-is while we make just 2 changes to our days (I think they're assuming a much more highly-functioning household as a starting point than what we've got right now). So Sarah and I talked about it, and we're going to try to gently transform our whole day at once -- with lots of compassion for ourselves, and lots of "hey, great, we stayed on track all morning -- let's take a break to mindlessly veg in front of the TV for an hour!"

We're unschoolish (I don't tend to call us "unschoolers" -- I find that once you adopt a label, it's too easy for people to say "that's not unschooling -- to be an unschooler (or vegan, quaker, pagan, attachment parent, etc.), you have to do such-and-so". I've got no patience for that and I'm unwilling to subject myself to it), so within the larger rhythm exactly what we do shifts from day to day or week to week. This week we've been going back to the comforting rhythms of our early homeschool days -- cuddling, then spending a little time on our own stuff, then coming back together to have breakfast and play school and plan out our afternoons. It feels really good to be back in that space...