We made it! Halfway through the year, at least!
Needless to say the last few months have been incredibly odd and discomforting for a lot of us. I am grateful to slow down our little bubble and stay put for an extended while. It’s been almost a year or more now since we’ve seen some family members. I am grateful that our homeschool routine helped keep a sense of normalcy throughout this tumultuous time.
The kids inevitably felt the stress of it all too. They went from very focused and excited to needing a bit of coaxing to do schoolwork. That’s when I remembered that this is supposed to be a fun, exploratory time for them. We cut down the workbooks and amped up the activities. Preschool games from our kits, and mega decoration-making days with seasonal music helped us change pace and cheered us all up too.
In November we learned about the US election. We took advantage of the last few days of warm weather to tidy up our new succulent plants and hunt frogs in the evenings. We made Thanksgiving and fall decorations and before we knew it, it was time to put up the Christmas tree.
For December we counted down to holidays and watched the weather change from summery warm to fall, then marked the first day of winter. We also welcomed a new furry family member, Rex! We kept up our pen pals and have even received a few letters back! We spent this month writing Christmas cards, making gingerbread houses, and ended the “semester” with a fun astronomy lesson as Saturn and Jupiter conjoined in the sky just before the holiday.
We’ve taken a step back for the holidays, and just do a workbook or ABC Mouse each day. This has given me some much needed down time as well. These last 4 months I have also learned a lot. I gained more patience and understanding, and I feel like I’ve bonded with my kids in ways I’ve always wanted to. I really enjoy the process, finding and planning new activities, watching the kids grow and most days it feels more like I’m just spending fun time with them. It’s a lot of work, no doubt, but seeing my kids demonstrate a new skill confidently with a big smile is worth it, and the opportunity to be here for that right now is invaluable to me, even with the unfortunate circumstances that have brought us to homeschooling in the first place. There is a duality to everything in life, I’ve found, and this is no different. Silver linings are always there if you can learn to look for and appreciate them.
One of my favorite activities with the kids was making Christmas gifts for grandparents out of our craft kits. In a year when spending time together is impossible for most of us, being able to share a small token of our thoughts and love meant a lot to the kids and the recipients alike. You don’t have to be homeschooling to order a craft kit and have your kids make handmade Valentine’s gifts for family and friends you’re loving from a distance this year. Budgets are tight, and this is an economical and heartfelt way to share some warmth in a generally cold and lonely time of year.
My hope is that the lessons we’ve learned in 2020 will lead to a better 2021 for all of us. There are many things to consider as we turn a page into this new year, especially how different our lives looks this year compared to last. But I reflect not to mope, but more so on the opportunities we’ve had and continue to make so that we can move forward. I wish everyone a safe and healthy holiday and a much better new year.