Staying in the Moment as a Homeschool Mom – Guest blog by Tawny Stowe
The idea of being in the moment has been on my mind a lot lately as I contemplate and experience the concepts of time. As a young adult I thought I had all the time in the world. I was certain I could reinvent myself a million times and I never felt committed to one aspect of who I was becoming because I viewed that there would always be more time. Now I find myself seeking out ways for staying in the moment as a homeschool mom.
My younger days.
I travelled the world as a backpacker carrying only what I could on my back. I lived in each moment knowing almost always it was my very first and last in any given spot. Sometimes the thoughts of what tomorrow would bring and where I would be next would creep into my mind. Especially in the beginning of my travelling adventures, the beautiful gift of being somewhere new often found me thinking about where I would be tomorrow. Then what was coming next, This then led me to missing the gift of being present in the moment and appreciating that part of the journey.
And then something happened.
I stopped travelling and I grew up. Soon I became serious and I started to fear never having enough time to become myself. Here I find myself still figuring out what I have become and what I am becoming. However there was a definite sense of urgency at that time in my life. As I hit 30 years old, I started to panic. Thoughts about getting married, owning things like a house or a car, and raising a family became my priority. I found myself panicking about my education, my career and becoming of value in our society. Soon these thoughts took me over. Suddenly each day was only about getting further ahead in the future, not about being in the moment.
I didn’t realize how much this affected me.
Truly I hadn’t thought much about how this was affecting me. That is not until I became a parent and switched to homeschooling. First, I was so consumed by what I was preparing my child for in the future. Second, I was obsessed with Making sure I understood the expectations of a child’s growth and learning development. Third, I was in a state of worrying. Additionally, making my child the most prepared for each new developmental stage took centre stage. I wanted him to be the best he could be for tomorrow.
Through all of this, I noticed something; he was starting to play less in each moment and rather ask about what was coming next.
He was hiking the trail asking what we were doing after and the reality check of what I was projecting on him suddenly hit me. Was I teaching my child to focus ahead instead of just being ok right where we are? Being highly empathic his words got my attention. However it was what I could feel that really hit me. In my son I could feel emotional anxiousness about the day, the objectives, the expectations. This truth hurt my heart. See, as a parent of a child with diagnosed separation anxiety, I chose to homeschool to help him build confidence not to take it away. This is when the deep reflection began within in.
If when I traveled I became free by living in the moment what was it that enabled me to do so? It was owning less, needing less, and trusting that where I was was exactly where I was meant to be.
I felt free, calm, alive, and in flow.
I really want those things for my son too. So, how can I help him discover these things that brought me so much joy? The answer is: I need to return myself to joy, and then I need to model it!
As the world seems to have gained speed and appear to be moving faster than I can keep up. Now more than ever I am coming back to the acceptance that nothing in life is permanent. Each day as I work towards healing my Metis roots I strive to connect deeper to the seasons. While walking gently upon the Earth as one of Her kin. If I am willing to accept impermanence in society and I surrender to the constant that is change in nature. Then surely I can open my heart to model being present in both of these aspects for my son.
This is my work.
As a parent I am always growing, as you are too. My son reflects back to me where I am out of alignment and where I can grow. He gifts me the constant opportunity to be better and rise to be the best version of myself possible. As the fall leaves come crashing down around me, I too have much to shed and I will. I will shed the illusion of becoming. Then I will work at simply being right here, right now. For my son I will let go of who he must become and be with him as he is right now. Together, we will live this season and grow as beings walking hand in hand on a journey designed for us.
Have you read ‘Stay Curious With Your Homeschool’? Another guest blog by Tawny Stowe.
“Every child is different! Isn’t this exactly why I wanted to homeschool? To give time and space to my child so he can learn in his own way? Well, intellectually yes. But then I found myself setting up my home exactly like a school. Trying to do all the ‘school like’ things. My heart was hearing Rudolph Steiner loud and clear. Saying “Why did you bother to read my philosophies if you are going to be so mechanical?” Even so, I just couldn’t let go of this idea of how I thought education should be. Because that is all I have ever known. I wasn’t sure how to stay curious with our homeschool.
Luckily for my son and I, I am a Saggitarius who gets bored with routine with ease. So, we were released from the ‘educational’ prison I had created. Just as soon as the weather turned nice enough to spend the majority of our time outside.
Over the spring and summer months I turned my trust to homestead moms. I leaned into Wildschooling ideas, placing a great importance on learning in our natural environment. At first it was sheer necessity, as a single mom I couldn’t manage our spring gardens with a full day of sit down learning. Very quickly this way of learning opened my eyes to a beautiful truth for my son and I.
Learning about Charlotte Mason and Rudolph Steiner spoke to my soul.
Truly the ideologies of Charlotte Mason and Rudolph Steiner speak to my soul. I find that the more I learn about them the better able I am to embody them and to model them. This has resulted in an epic growth for me and a much deeper connection to my environment. A true healing of my Metis roots, and a stronger richer bond with my son.
When exploring homeschooling for the first time, or really at any time. It can be so overwhelming to know what to study, and how to study. To be honest, some days it can be overwhelming to know where to even start. Some people have a natural teacher flow to their life and it comes like second nature. While others, like me, have to nurture their teacher flow a bit more until we can really find it. The true key to success in homeschool, is to stay curious and stay in alignment with your values.
What are the best questions to ask yourself to stay curious?
Some of the best questions to ask yourself usually start with why you want to homeschool? The answers to these questions will guide you towards what philosophies or even curriculums support your desired outcomes. As I deepen my relationship with my son, I find I have to evaluate my reasons constantly against his growth. Constantly checking in with whether I am doing things for him, or for me. Because the answer to that can drastically shift our educational direction. I am continually learning that I must stay as curious as him. Curious about what excites him, what lights him up, what fuels him, what challenges him, what improves his confidence, nourishes his mind, his body and his soul. I use the seasons to prompt my reflection time. This way I can check in where we are both at, four times a year.
Read: “Everything has a Season — Even Education” 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.
Continue reading this guest blog by Tawny Stowe.