Mindful Homeschooling: Making Our Way Through Challenging Times

Mindful Homeschool: Finding a Way Through Challenging Times

I was reminded this week how life can be utterly unpredictable. Let’s face it, even when Life doesn’t throw too many curveballs, it can still be hard. Daily life with children, managing a home, trying to navigate one’s career and living expenses – it’s not easy. Throw in anything unexpected, though, and it’s downright…

difficult – such an inadequate word

stressful – still inadequate

heartbreaking – maybe

unfair – always.

But when I found this little poem by a very wise unknown writer, I knew in my heart that these are some of the truest words I’ve ever read. “I was given life that I might enjoy all things.”

I know that at age 43, I am enjoying most things. Maybe not the difficult – stressful – heartbreaking – unfair things so much, but when I look around me at my cluttered house, the spring flowers, even my long to-do list, I am enjoying life more than ever. And I have the deepest respect for those who undergo many more difficulties than I do, yet they still manage to feel Joy.

mindful homeschool via

What I wonder the most now is how to pass this wisdom on to my sons? Is it enough to teach by example and the occasional words of advice, or can only Life give us these lessons? Perhaps a little of both.

What do you think? How do you teach your children to face difficulty? How do you teach them to find joy in small, attainable goals?

And this is a good place to introduce our comments policy:

We at home/school/life invite you to share your thoughts, recommendations, and encouragement for others. Though we are a secular resource, we honor and respect all the beliefs, backgrounds, and different reasons for homeschooling, so please don’t feel restricted in making a comment about your own personal views. We only ask that you respect others’ beliefs and opinions as you would like yours to be respected. We will not tolerate attacks or abusive language, and we will delete any comment that does not honor this code of conduct.

Mindful Homeschool: Living and Learning on Wilderness Time

Mindful Homeschool: Living and learning on wilderness time

Recently I read the book, Living on Wilderness Time, by Melissa Walker. It is a memoir of a woman in her early fifties who was seeking a change in her life after years of working in a busy academic career and raising her children. Remembering her youthful days spent roaming the countryside at her parent’s home in south Georgia, she decided to be intentional about getting back into nature, and not only that, she wanted to learn about America’s designated wilderness areas.

Over the course of two years, she took a series of trips, driving through natural areas and camping in several different national parks—by herself. A couple of times during her travels, her husband joined her, and once a good friend, and she met all kinds of interesting people. There were occasions when she needed to spend the night in a hotel or at least in the back of her van, but usually she camped in a tent by herself.

I know I wouldn’t want to do that. Not only would I not feel safe, I’m simply not interested in camping alone. I do, however, understand the longing to be alone in nature. I totally get that. So I didn’t mind living vicariously through her as I read about her crash course in how to survive alone in the wild, and I also enjoyed learning about our designated wilderness areas and the challenges and controversies there are surrounding keeping a place “wild.”

But what I most enjoyed about the book was how she often described herself as entering “wilderness time” when she left home and got on the road. In other words, she didn’t have any deadlines. Though she occasionally made meetings with park rangers and other wilderness experts, she didn’t give herself much of an agenda. A wilderness ranger she volunteered with said, “Our work in there will take as long as it takes.”

Living and learning on wilderness time

Walker explains how her goal was to take this lesson learned in the wild and apply it to her life when she returned home. I couldn’t help but nod and think, “I want to live on wilderness time too.” Like Walker, I would like to spend my time wisely, working toward what is important and doing it well without worrying about how long it will take.

I realize I’m a very lucky person. I get to stay home with my kids, homeschool them, and pursue things that I am passionate about. Not everyone has that luxury. Despite this, I can get caught up in a race where I’m the only one racing-racing to finish whatever is on my to do list or whatever is foremost in my mind. Why in the world would I do that when there’s no one holding me accountable?

Yes, of course, I have obligations to my family and even myself. But not getting things done is not my problem. I can afford to stop racing. I can live on wilderness time right here in my own house.

And what a gift it will be to my children when I repeat that little mantra in my head—“wilderness time, wilderness time” – and say, “Our work will take as long as it takes.” If my son needs extra time in math, we’ll take the extra time. If he wants to build a complicated structure, we’ll work on it until it’s finished. If he’s undecided about how to complete it, I’ll let him take the time he needs to figure it out. And, of course, taking the time to stop what we’re doing and getting into nature is a big part of that.

I’m not worried about my kids trying to keep up with the “rat race” when they become adults. Everybody has a knack for falling into the rat race. What I want to accomplish right now is letting them practice working in wilderness time. Letting them know that there are actually very few things that need to be rushed. Letting them know that whether they hit the trails or stay at home, they can usually choose how to spend their time and using it wisely might make all the difference.

Mindful Homeschool: Find Peace in Your Home

Mindful Homeschooling: Find Peace in Your Home

How in the world does one find peace in her home? To be honest, I’m not sure how to answer that, and that must disappoint you because this is supposed to be an uplifting meditation for homeschooling parents. But I can only be honest.

Family life is hard. There are peaceful days when good things happen. The weather is beautiful, the flowers are blooming, and the boys sit on the porch to sketch in their sketchbooks….Oh, but wait. Usually one or both of them break down into a long crying spell because his drawing doesn’t come out the way he imagines it to be. But we still somehow gain another entry in the sketchbook, and the memory of sketching on the porch is sweet.

There are days when we have so much fun as a family going hiking…. Oh, but wait. There’s that difficult part trying to get everyone out. the. door. Did everyone go pee? And then there’s car sickness, and at least one person (child or adult) is going to have a cranky spell during the trip. Or more. But mostly, it’s a wonderful day.

Find Peace in your home

There are days when everyone is getting along swell and then one thing trips it up, and the day goes kaput. But by the next day, it’s all forgotten. Or maybe not. But it does get better.

There are many days when only one spouse has the peace of mind, but the real problem comes when neither has the peace of mind.

Peace comes from within. Perhaps you find your strength in nature, or friends, or your religion, or the quiet moment you steal during the chaos. The best we can do in these moments is remember that we’re not alone. We all experience this: good times, bad times, hectic times, unsure times. Even the happiest people experience all these different situations and emotions. Perfect peace may not be attainable, but by keeping a good perspective, we can cultivate it in our lives.

If you can stop for just a moment during a bad situation and remember that you are not alone, you may be closer to finding peace. If you can find beauty in the chaos, you may be closer to finding peace. If you can remember that this too shall pass, you may be closer to finding peace. If you can do one thing each day to nurture your true potential, you may be closer to finding peace.

Do you feel like you have a peaceful home? Peace of mind? When things are going wrong, how do you cope?