Though our family has settled on unschooling as the term that best describes our lifestyle, we are not an unruly people. We are a fairly scheduled lot, in fact. We tend to thrive on routine. We are regularly checking in with one another. Is the current routine working? Is it time to shake up our schedule a bit?
When we go for extended periods of time without a set rhythm, in fact, we tend to seek a common ground to return to.
“When things get settled again,” the middle kid recently said… and she proceeded to give me a list of things that needed to be attended to in our new routine.
The month of April was about as out-of-the-box as it gets for our family. My daughter and husband spent twelve days in China. Leading up to their big trip, our routine got a little scattered. I had grand plans for things to accomplish while they were gone and not an ounce of focus to accomplish them. Almost immediately upon their return, we hosted a family gathering for the fiftieth anniversary of my in-laws. And to top it off, we managed to get every member of the household through head and chest colds, which eventually turned into pneumonia for my oldest.
We were five days into the month of May before I even realized April had ended.
I am looking forward to things getting settled again. I yearn for a routine that includes all the things I have come to expect in my day-to-day life. Most urgently, I am looking forward to planned time with my kids again.
In every sort of routine we have constructed for ourselves, time together has been a central focus. That time might be filled with hands-on projects, reading aloud together, studying a subject together, or road trips with a backyard tourist sort of flavor. What we do together changes over time, and it has changed significantly this past year with the oldest now in college, but we are learning to find new rhythms as a trio rather than a quartet.
Some days I get a little nostalgic for our days of building fish ponds, tracking ants, or collecting sticks on a nearby nature trail. When they were little, it was somehow easier to make a big day of small things. Now the distractions grow larger; jobs, volunteer work, 4-H events, individual projects that are bigger and more time consuming than they used to be.
“When things get settled again… “
I find myself dreaming up ideas and sketching a new plan in my calendar. In pencil, of course, because just as we get a new routine in place, it is bound to change.
TRACY MILLION SIMMONS s somehow never got around to sending her children to school. She now lives and learns with three unschooled teens, two dogs, a cat and her dear hubby in the middle of Kansas where she holds a part-time job as a farmers’ market manager and pursues her lifelong dream of publishing fiction for fun and profit. You can view Tracy’s author page at www.TracyMillionSimmons.com and she occasionally writes more about unschooling at her blogger site, Living and Learning in Oz.