I am a huge fan of Julie Bogart and the Brave Writer lifestyle (philosophy), and I have become a part of an online community via Facebook of mostly homeschooling mamas who encourage each other in their pursuits of a joy-filled lifestyle of home learning. The amount of encouragement, enjoyment, and freedom I’ve gleaned from both Julie and this community is immeasurable. It has been an a-ha! moment for me to realize that the vision I have always had for homeschooling really IS a thing, and it’s perfectly okay to do it our way, according to no one in particular’s vision or plan but our own. (This is an idea that I picked up on in The Joy of Relationship Homschooling, too, and lots of other places–that relationships in homeschooling trump everything else.) One of the topics that is always up for discussion in the group is the idea of enchantment in the homeschool. (The best way to learn what this is is to watch Julie’s Periscope about enchantment in her homeschool. You can watch that here.) For me, enchantment has as much to do with me as it does my children. I’ve learned that if I feel the enchantment, in all likelihood, they will, too. Enchantment and engagement are pretty nearly synonymous for me. Here are a few places we’ve found enchantment this week:
- I knew Friday morning was apt to be a bit rough (though now I can’t remember why 😉 ), so I awakened the girls with the incentive that they could make breakfast while I bathed the boys. Lulu LOVES to bake, and Louise has taken a shine to frying eggs lately (she cooks them for the
pickydiscriminating DLM who, inexplicably, eats them). I popped bacon into the oven and the girls did the rest. Everyone was happy. I call this enchantment because baking is enchanting to Lulu, and it seems to be catching on with Louise, too. As the girls get older, letting them take the reins for their own passions is huge. Making time for them to do this on an already full-to-overflowing day is huge for me. Enchantment. 🙂
- After lunch and while Benny was napping, I crawled into the blanket-fort I, in a futile effort to redirect some of their noise and energy, had hastily helped my boys build on Friday morning. I read a chapter of Mr. Popper’s Penguins aloud to the DLM and played Boggle, Jr. with him. Oh, yeah–and played a few hands of an invented Pokemon card game with him. He’ll play games all day long, but sitting for a formal reading lesson is not high on his list of enjoyable activities. Enchantment here is letting go of what I did with my girls when they were five and being okay with the DLM’s attention span and interest (or lack thereof) in table work. Enchantment for me is finding what he enjoys, doing it, and being okay with it.
- Poetry tea time never fails to bring out the enchantment for us, even when it’s rushed, as it was this week. The joy the DLM expressed when he was able to read his own poem from his All About Reading reader was heartwarming. I’m so glad I decided to stop for poetry tea time (which meant giving up on doing a freewrite when I realized we simply didn’t have time for that).
- This was our second week to participate in the Mystery Class from Journey North. This real-time learning has been such a breath of fresh air this winter, and it’s one of the ways I’ve felt the most engagement and enchantment. This picture is from our first week; now we have another bar on our graphs. (This is an admitted un-enchanted wall, isn’t it? It used to be a kitchenette area in our basement.)
- Reading aloud is almost always enchanted for me, though lately I’ll admit that due to stress and fatigue, I haven’t always felt it. It came back in bushels this week with the reading of Fair Weather. I don’t know when I have enjoyed a read-aloud more! Also, we finished Anne of Green Gables this week, and we decided to continue with the series. I hope to blog more about this soon, but right now I’ll just say that I’ve christened this The Year of Anne.
- Last but certainly not least, we got out of the house this week two times more than the we usually do. For my girls, especially my eldest, this is pretty big. They enjoyed a bookclub with a gaggle of their friends at a local bookstore (which certainly made them feel grown-up) one afternoon, and then the very next afternoon we headed out to play laser tag with a some of those same friends and a bunch of others. Enchantment.
Our schedule isn’t nice and regular (like I used to like it 😉 ) in this season of life, and honestly, with the age span of children we have, it probably won’t ever be again. I’m realizing I have to let go of what I think it should look like and go with it, taking the moments of enchantment and letting them be. What a gift.