A Home-School Lesson and Important Advice

By Annette Walters February 4, 2021

We kicked off Black History Month by watching A Ballerina’s Tale, a documentary about Misty Copeland. She was the first African American woman to become principal dancer at New York’s American Ballet theater. My daughter is obsessed with ballet so she was especially interested in her story but even the boys seemed fascinated by her. We paused the documentary several times for discussion and towards the end, the younger kids drifted off to play but they all seemed to really enjoy learning about her. Misty Copeland also wrote a children’s book called Bunheads, which we plan to order for our quiet/bedtime read aloud. Some other books on our list this month are When Marian Sings, Searching for Sarah Rector, and Mae Among the Stars. I believe the library has at least two of these. 

Because we’ve just spent several days hiking in Tennessee, we haven’t done a lot of book work but our bond is growing stronger and we’ve really enjoyed an unusual slowness in our days. This is just as important, more so even, than any intended educational activity. The most important part of homeschooling is our relationship. Without a good connection, the work we do turns into a struggle. I’ve had to learn that whenever it seems we can’t get along or the kids aren’t interested in working with me, I have to put everything aside and work on our emotional bond. I check in with them, figure out if something we do is no longer working for them or for me and we adjust accordingly. My son is a tween now and bonding with him now looks different than it did when he was small. I keep a journal that only he and I write in with prompts to help us reconnect. I listen actively when he goes on and on about a computer game he’s playing or is describing a lego creation he built. I use the time when he wants to do his own thing to focus on connecting with my daughter. And when neither of them needs my attention much, I focus on my own education. After some rest and leisure time, we eventually start naturally gathering together again for group learning. Accepting that a schedule never has to be strictly followed and our routines should have a rhythm but also be adaptable for the changes in our mental and emotional states has been the best part of homeschooling for us. 

About Annette: 

I’m a homeschool mom of two, ages 11 and 5. We’ve been homeschooling from the beginning for 6 years and our preferred method is unschooling with a Charlotte Mason twist. I love homeschooling for the freedom it gives us and because I enjoy learning alongside my kids. Our favorite ways to indulge our interests are by exploring the world around us, doing experiments and activities, talking to people who are passionate about their fields, and reading well written books. I believe so much in what we do, I’ve kept it through divorce and now working full time from home. It’s my hope to continue our journey until college or whatever next step my kids choose to take. 

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