Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Finding My Voice and Doing "Us"

I haven't updated anything here for quite awhile.  We were traveling for the summer, but also, the truth is that I've been pondering some shifts for quite awhile for this blog.  There are many, many people who blog about school and who do it much better than I do.  Parents and friends have often enjoyed seeing glimpses of what we do, but I can just do some pictures in other contexts for them to see.  Most of the things we do for school are ideas I have collected and maybe slightly adapted from other wonderful sources and not made myself.
Also, I find myself still on very much of a journey as to what school looks like for us and how we homeschool in a way that fits our circumstances, my personality, and the personalities and learning styles of my boys.  Most people, I think, find themselves in some sort of mix of styles and approaches and often changing and growing as they continue the homeschool journey.  That is true for us as well, and as we get a few years "under our belts," I feel more freedom to explore and am enjoying the process of connecting more and more all the time to what fits for us.  
Having taught in public schools as my profession before having kids, there have been certain aspects of homeschooling that have come quite easily for me and some that have been a great challenge.  I love the lesson planning and research and preparing and instructing.  I can confidently say that I was good at that, and I still am.  However, being a mom who is just loving on my boys well in the midst of it is, honestly, not as easy or natural for me.  As much as I am thankful for the freedom to just take joy in exploring and learning and not feel bound to a traditional school model, I also sometimes find myself very uncomfortable and insecure in that less defined space.  How will I be able to show how productive we've been?!  What about all these things on my checklist (most of which are solid things, by the way)?!
Particularly in this most recent season, I find myself being stretched and growing in grace for myself and my boys.  I am learning to be more at ease and release some of the pressure from my ideals of perfectly educating my kids.  Like Jen Hatmaker phrased it in her recent book, I am (slowly) learning to "quit trying to be awesome and instead be wise."
I recently read Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie.  It is possibly just the season I find myself in and what God is already stirring in me, but it was SUCH a great read!  I can look back even on my times of teaching as a (paid) profession and see my desperate attempts to pour out everything I had to be an amazing teacher and still feel like it was never enough.  I was good.  I can say that because I believe it is a gift God has given me.  But, I am coming to terms with not being "enough."  I bring my best, and on some days, I find myself bringing a basket fairly void of patience, grace, or affection for my boys, but trusting that God is at work and has got this thing of raising and educating my boys is something in which I am finding increasing freedom.
Where does that leave this little blog?  Well, I'm not entirely sure yet.  I no longer feel the need to chronicle everything we do (or even the highlights).  I am not the one to write the deepest insights into this new-to-me aspect of freedom and grace and rest in our schooling.  There are others far more gifted at writing and sharing both of those and really pursuing excellence in blogging about it.
For now, I feel released from any pressure to be a homeschool blogger and only focus on sharing what may be unique for us.  I don't feel the pressure to share super regularly or frequently in hopes to keep people reading.  If what I do share is valuable to some, I trust it will find its way to them.
I may share more about cooking adventures, as I did really enjoy the series of trying to cook "around the world" with my younger son last winter/spring.  The main things, though, that I think are unique to us from the other multitudes of blogs are living here in Asia and doing school and life here, natural math and engaging kids in loving math, and perhaps my passion for having kids experience the broader story of the Bible.  We may share some other bits and pieces along the way, but we'll mainly keep on our journey to find our way in what school looks like for us, and I'll share when it seems we have something that might be unique or connected well to our passions, or I just had a bit of extra time and something fun for me to share.    We'll keep pursuing "doing us" and invite you into some pieces of that journey along the way.

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