Everything has a season – Guest blog by Tawny Stowe
“Everything has a season” … It’s a cliche, but for me it’s also a permission slip! As a homestead mom and an entrepreneur, certain seasons find me a little over my head! This was my first-year homeschooling. And when I began, I had these grand ideals of how to make school happen in my home the way it does in a classroom.
I failed. Miserably.
First I started off with alarms set, I had specific curriculum planned out every day and books set up on the table. I even had specific days for different topics. At first, my four-year-old was excited and just as quickly he wasn’t. As soon as it turned into a power struggle for our family, I knew something had to change. But being so new to the homeschooling way of life, I didn’t know what!
And then… It happened.
As they say when the student is ready the teacher appears. So as I sat in on a webinar for my business that happened to be led by a homeschooling and homestead mamma of three. In her teaching she fully admitted that as gardening season approaches, her and the kids are done with formal learning for the remainder of the school year. When the demands of the garden increased, all learning revolved around growing food!
This was inspiring!
Suddenly, I felt as if the Spring Season was an open permission slip to let the rigidity and routine of learning go. We could slide into a more “unschooled approach” to education.
Then what took place blew my mind!
The power struggles that my family was facing, vanished. It seems getting a five-year-old to put on rain boots and splash in puddles requires zero effort! We went hunting for bugs, exploring wetlands for migrating birds, and spent time talking about the fertility of the Earth as it unravelled before our very eyes. Then we talked about seeds, and land stewardship (okay he’s five we called it tending to our food and forests). We collected garbage, we kayaked and we explored medicines and wild foods as they presented themselves. As I was walking around from morning to night working in the gardens, wheelbarrowing dirt, starting seeds and transplanting seedlings, and raising baby chicks, my son was with me every step of the way.
Another change in our Homeschooling Journey.
So here we are, now watching this season that started as Spring. Moved into summer and is quickly bringing us to fall. I am pausing to reflect on what I am harvesting from the seeds I planted and tended all summer. Both in my garden and in my son’s learning environment.
My son has outgrown his shyness. He thrived in the natural world talking to plants, trees, rocks, and animals. We spent a summer taking our winter learning of Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe Language) and applying it to our outdoor classroom. We read books, we studied field guides. We had countless campfires helping us heal our Metis roots. Doing so by keeping us feeling connected to the Natural Landscape and all of her beings.
A new cycle is here.
In our way of living, we approach harvest as a time of ending, of clearing and even death. We view death as a necessary part of life because through the completion of one cycle a new one can emerge. Our cycle of complete unschooling is coming towards an end. I sense in both of us a desire to return to the blessed moments of connection we had when we spent half days with some structured learning.
Approaching learning through the seasons gives me permission to bring change (or cycles) into our school approach. And as I round up my first full year of homeschooling, I feel blessed. Blessed to have found a way to weave the healing of my Metis roots with my love of nature’s seasons. This all comes with a desire to help raise a child connected to the land through home learning.
About the author: Tawny Stowe is a Metis business owner who works on the traditional lands of the Anishnabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples now known as Arden, Ontario, Canada.
Tawny is a steward of land and resources which allows her to embody her role as the Woodland Priestess helping parents return home to themselves and their children through a (re)connection to the Earth. She teaches a remembering of the Mind-Body-Soul through the sharing of children’s stories, song, food, creativity activities, gardening, spirituality + yoga practices, and nature exploration.