Keys to homeschooling (well, keys to the home anyway)

Several years ago during a walk through a neighborhood garden, my son fussed in his stroller. To entertain him, I gave him my keys to hold, and, you guessed it, the kid dropped the keys somewhere in the park. I didn't know he dropped them, of course, until I walked home and couldn't open the apartment door.

Back in the ancient history of eight years ago, I didn't have a cellphone, but there was a pay phone down the street. (Remember pay phones?) I called my husband at work and asked him to please bring his keys to me so I could take the kids inside for lunch and a nap.

It was only a few minutes later when my husband arrived with not only his keys, but my keys as well. He rode his bike home through the park and found my keys in the garden.

I don't tell this story to remind myself how ditzy I can be. If I wanted to do that, I'd tell the story about the time I lost my keys and retraced my steps for three days looking for them before finally asking the super to change the locks on our door. The next day I discovered the keys stuck in the lining of my purse - the purse I had been carrying around for three days looking for my keys.

Instead, I tell this story to remind myself that I live in a great neighborhood with beautiful parks within walking distance. I think of that summer day locked out of my apartment to remember that my husband's workplace is close enough to home that he can answer my calls of distress, easily join us for lunch during the day, and arrive home after work at an early hour with enough energy to be active with the kids. I tell the story because it makes me happy that my husband likes to help me. I have it good - and I need to remind myself that.

Sometimes I get caught up in all the activities that are available for homeschoolers and I toss away the things I love about our life. I've crammed my calendar full of classes and spent hours every week traveling back and forth to them.

There are some really cool things going on all over the city and some wonderful places to be with other homeschoolers - all of them are temptations, but I moved to this specific neighborhood because I like it and want to spend time in it. I married a guy I really like to be with, and when I arrive home exhausted from an overscheduled day, I'm not at my best for him. The feeling I get from rushing around isn't what I had in mind when I decided to homeschool.

I see my kids growing quickly. I want them out in the world, making discoveries on their own and living active lives - of course I want that for them now and in the future. But I also want them to learn in their childhoods that life can be sweet when it's lived slowly.

Drawing: A sketch I made last spring of a favorite tree in a nearby park. I missed the full bloom last year and settled for drawing a flower past it's prime. This year, with a decluttered calendar, I have the time to watch the tree more often and I hope to enjoy all the stages of its bloom. And, I have the time to watch my kids in their stages, too. Life is good.
Photo: Catkins this spring in the park.


  1. I have to agree with you that life lived slowly is indeed sweet!
    Btw, what a lovely sketch!

  2. Thanks for the comment on the sketch, Melissa. I really like working on my nature journal, along with the kids working on theirs.

  3. Thanks for stopping by my blog! I consider us 50% Charlotte Mason! I love her ideas, but the "public school" teacher in me hasn't QUITE let go enough yet! I TOTALLY agree about freeing up schedules! This year we started limiting our activities to those of most interest, but we're still busy with 3 kids! BEAUTIFUL drawing! I just took photos of some catkins, but haven't put them on my blog yet!


  4. Help me understand the catkins photo. What is that in the background?

    You really have a beautiful blog here. I just like coming to see the colors and the pictures. Very soothing. Nice that someone in the city is helping me to relax.

  5. Jessy, I'm not 100% CM myself - I can't resist tweaking things to fit our family. Regarding activities, I do think it's a bit easier when the kids know what they want to do and you can weed out what doesn't matter as much to them.

    Kay, the branch with the catkins is in front of a large cliff-like rock. It was a wet day, and there was a water coming down the rock, which is the dark background. The lighter background is the dry part of the rock. There is moss growing on the rock too. While I took this, my son was playing catch behind me. Looks like a peaceful scene, but I was surrounded by boy energy (as I usually am).

  6. What a wonderful reminder to live slowly and also remind ourselves just how good we've got it.

  7. Live slow, that is what our family has been trying to do for a few weeks now. How refreshing it has been to take time to notice things. Sometimes our lives are so filled with life in the fast lane we over look the small things about us.

  8. Traci: I hope your slow-lane life continues to be slow. I see a busy stretch ahead on the calendar, and I'm making plans to keep it fun and peaceful and not crazy and hectic. I'd like to enjoy the spring and watch it unfold, not say in July, "Wow, the leaves are out already? When did that happen?"

  9. Ooh I like this post! With 6 growing and active kids our life is perhaps at its busiest this year. I prefer a s-l-o-w-e-r pace, but everything seems to have come at once this term! So glad I discovered this blog (Via Jeanne at A Peaceful Day) Mel x