Much like the girl's riding lessons, where legs bounce a little too much, aren't sure yet how to tap at just the right speed or pressure, and where holding reins while tapping takes a sort of head patting, tummy rubbing type of maturity she has yet to come into, there are always challenges.
I choose to see a challenge as something to work on, to help me grow. It's an invitation to learn, not a roadblock, not a never going to happen.
I didn't always see challenges this way. In fact, as a child, I was a quitter as soon as anything got even the little bit hard. I think this was mostly because I never found a passion early on other than babysitting and hanging out (both things I was good at). It took me wanting to be a teacher, having to pass two tests I feared, having to overcome my fear of public speaking, having to learn how to unlearn my experience in education so I could give my students a different story.
I am again at a place where there are many daily challenges. Homeschooling is not like teaching. After ten years, I faced teaching challenges with a lot of confidence. I'm not there yet with homeschooling.
Yesterday was so full of challenges (yes, the day I posted about Gifts- haha Universe) I was able to come up with a good list:
- Transitions- no matter the part of our day, transitions are a challenge
- Technology- T.V. my nemesis- to use or not to use and how much
- Interest Learning vs my own worries about what they'll miss
- Letting Go of my worries
- Keeping to Routine and Being Flexible
- Breaks for me
- Making sure I'm awake, centered, have had time to do so, but it can't be too much, because that means a lot of unstructured time for kids where they want to just watch tv. This then turns into issues where they can't transition or think. I see a huge difference in their personalities when they watch tv (and eat crap) hence why I am so very much a hater of food crap and tv...in other words all of this means I have to get up early and therefore go to bed early.
- Keeping any focus time with Sophie flexible
* Blending any time we are doing Oak Meadow or Story of the World into our day. I want to get rid of the idea of school time vs free time. I want learning to just be a part of our day, not seen as an interruption or have to do. This (why there is a *) is one of my greatest challenges. I foresee it being one the entire time we homeschool (and I'm okay with that!)
**Rushing- this one was the ah ha challenge I realized on my clear my head walk last night. I rush everyone in our family. I rush myself to hurry, get up, you have to walk, write, work, center yourself, hurry- GO. I rush my husband to do whatever task I've asked him to do. Can you take care of the X? One minute later- did you take are of the X. And I rush my children to hurry up and focus and learn because we have to do x and x and x.
I can blame societies push for more and faster, my teaching years where time was always too short (and my years in public school had to be rigid or we wouldn't finish X by the time the six weeks was over), but the truth is, I can UNLEARN anything I learn.
We don't have to rush anymore.
I need to repeat this like a mantra to myself.
I often write about slowing down, but it's always been about not filling our days with too much, instead of what it clearly needs to also focus on, letting the things we do fill our days with HAVE THE TIME THEY NEED!
So what if we only read one day because we are so in love with the story we want to keep going.
So what if we paint a million pictures because we realized how fun watercolor paints are and how great making fish can be.
And this one challenge (which is mine to hold) I have a feeling might start to dissolve many of the other challenges we're facing.
This feels like a huge deep breath to me!
Sophie smiles the entire time she is on a horse, even when her legs aren't doing what they are being told to do, or she makes Big Boy canter instead of walk. She is learning to take on challenges as a gift.
Clark spent a month riding back and forth in a line to learn to keep his balance on his skateboard. He spent two hours riding off a curb and falling, until suddenly, he wasn't. He is starting to see challenges as a gift.
In my writing circles, where I learned the term Gifts and Challenges, we always ask our writers to offer both if they can. Gifts and Challenges go hand in hand. One is not good and one is not bad.
Just like my early days in the classroom where I had so much to learn, I am just as excited and thankful for the challenges I have been given. They are the gifts that will make this life we're building full.