I pass a garden shop many times a week, and all Winter I watch the weekly count down to Spring. It’s so hopeful and motivating. It feels a little like our homeschooling seasons that seem to switch without my even knowing sometimes. There are months- and sometimes even semesters- where it feels like my kids will never outgrow a particular skill or immaturity but then suddenly, without me even observing it, a switch happens and I find us in a new season.
Some might connect their homeschooling seasons with semesters, years, months on a calendar, grade levels or subjects. I do that, too. But I also see that the seasons in my homeschool attach themselves to grow past a particularly hard spot- whether it’s a hard spot for me or my kids. Right now, the season that I find us in is more easily compared to a stovetop covered in full pots, each needing a different type of cooking knowledge.
One child is like the pot of rapidly boiling alphabet soup. He is energetic, supremely happy when making lots of noise, and learning the basics of academics. He needs short bursts of learning and requires 100% of my focus when he is at his school table. I can’t walk away from him or he will boil over (and cause a huge ruckus) or burn (and take down our entire learning moment). Variation and excitement are his jam.
Another child is similar to the cheese sauce that needs low heat but continual attention or she will scorch. Steady, yet calm stirring is all she needs to get her learning done, but if I walk away for even a moment, we will end up with a pan full of burned cheese and milk- a total waste of a school day. It’s easy to assume that things are ok because the cheese sauce looks ok, but without that constant stirring, burns happen fast.
Right now, (because any parent of a tween knows that winds shift suddenly and without warning) my third child is more comparable to the stove-top fudge recipe that I haven’t quite figured out yet. Sometimes I nail it and end up with two pounds of perfectly smooth fudge and other days I burn it and end up with a pot full of scorched and seized ingredients. Big kids can be unpredictable. Their good days are amazing and so fun, while their hard days are harder than hard.
I know that these days of high needs will one day shift to more independent kids, but right now I must remember that my job is to keep stirring and learning more about these humans which I have been entrusted.
What is your school season like right now? Are you in a season of ease and enjoyment? Or perhaps you are in the middle of a stovetop full of chaos like me? How have you managed to balance the needs of all of your learners?
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Lindsay Banton is a caffeinated mother to three great kids. She never expected to homeschool, but has found that it is a wonderful addition to their lifestyle and wouldn’t change it for the world. In addition to homeschooling, Lindsay works alongside her husband in campus ministry at a large university in Connecticut. She grew up in Virginia but has settled into life in New England, learning to love the long winters, cool springs, green summers and gorgeous autumns- and has built a boot collection to meet all the demands. She is currently blogging at www.lindsaybanton.com.