Maybe it's an ok thing that we're having the coldest/snowiest winter in memory and that I can't seem to get well - 2nd round of antibiotics (I've never had a round of antibiotics not work. ever. i don't feel good about this) because it's made the transition to our winter rhythm pretty easy. Sleeping in a little later, slower to get breakfast on the table, reading seems to take the place of our previously lengthy outside time. I'm discovering that this weather is just as draining for me as those long weeks of 100 degrees with 100% humidity. So, I'm continually trying to embrace this slow time in our year before the busy out breath of spring and summer come. Most days no one is eager to leave our circle time quilt or the coziness of the couch and so we read one more chapter or sing one more song or count to 100 by 2s while everyone jumps. Well, I don't jump. I drink coffee and count with them. Priorities people.
I do feel like I am slowly, slowly getting my footing with homeschooling. That this season feels familiar is a total gift. I'm not paying any extra attention to my semi-fleeting, semi-regular thoughts of oh. my. gosh. it would be so much easier to send them to public school every morning. So much easier to go to a job where I know what I need to do every day and no one wipes their boogers on the couch for the 8th time in an hour. I mean hopefully. Because I know this is a season and that everyone wants to quit homeschooling in February. Because even the slow season comes with its distinct challenges. I am taking this opportunity to carve out and recognize the few small breaks I get during the day. The 20 minutes that the kids disappear while I get lunch on the table that I can put a podcast on and escape a bit into some grown up learning. A successful rest time. Being ok with 10 minutes, or even 5 minutes of knitting while everyone is busy with projects at the art table. When those breaks are present, and I have the wherewithal to recognize them, I do know that we are doing the exact right thing for our family.
Somewhere, in the back of my brain, there's a nagging voice telling me I'm almost at the halfway point in my pregnancy. While there's not really anything to do except make a couple purchases, set up a couple areas, and some laundry, I know that we also need to prepare our hearts to expand again. To mentally prepare for the changes we know will come this summer. I'm forming a plan for our homeschool year with a newborn and trying to remember how those first days and months go. Thanking my lucky stars that this will be a summer child and that we will hopefully have months of easy outside time to help with the transition.
There's a lot on the internet about the different stages of homeschooling. Much of it I draw comfort from because except for a few families we are exactly like everyone else. I mean the days look different, but the emotions and frustrations and joys are seemingly universal. These early years are an intense investment towards later self-directed learning where my facilitation will not take the form of what feels like constant hand-holding. I'm sure I'll miss it, but I have many years of hand-holding ahead of me. I try to picture the future and can't envision what our days will look like in 5 years with a 5, 9 and 12 year old. At minimum. Goodness.
So, yes, I'm focusing on the present. The foot of snow outside. The days too cold to do much of anything outdoors. The extra time to read The Long Winter and Mr. Popper's Penguins (next on our list). The extra cups of tea and warm milk with honey. That is certainly good enough for now.