Saturday, March 22, 2014

First of Spring and Reconnection

So you have probably heard me fussing about this past winter. It was very hard on our family. For the first time my winter blues skyrocketed to the point I was concerned. I think John was starting to be concerned as well. Since I set the mood for the family, in general, it made this season hard on everyone. But we made it through and we are okay.

With that in mind, our thoughts have been on the beginning of spring. Hannah was fascinated with the idea of the first day of spring. We talked all about it. We discussed the spring equinox and signs of spring we would start seeing.  It is a time of renewal and excitement as the long days of playing outside for hours on end rapidly approach.

In general I don't "do crafts" with my kids. Crafts are too finite for us and we all tend to chafe at the restrictions of what it is supposed to be or look like. I provide a ton of art supplies and tell them to just go to town. Art is huge here, crafting, not so much. But Hannah asked to do something to commemorate the First Day of Spring. I painted up a few trees, laid out a ton of tissue paper, scissors, and glue and let them just have it.  It was a huge hit and they both enjoyed exploring their own interpretations.

Hannah is finally coming to be okay with her lack of perfection with scissor skills. Of course, since she has released herself from those demands, she has greatly improved.

Logan doesn't care as long as he can do art every day. I am surprised there wasn't a pound of glitter dumped on top of this at one point.

The truth was this day had not been going well. We had all been fussing and sniping at each other. Sitting down together to do this turned our moods around. My children are very generous with their praise and encouragement with each other and me. I love that about them. It is such a fabulous character trait.

I think one of the main reasons there has been so much discord is the lack of harmony between Hannah and me. Let me tell you, 6.5 has hit us HARD. My normally easy going girl is well, not so much anymore. It didn't help at all when I checked out over the winter fighting with depression. Cracks had appeared in a relationship normally tight and secure. I think it is easy to let those cracks become chasms. I don't want to let that happen. So it was time for me and my kitten girl to reconnect. What better than to get out in nature?

Yesterday, we left Logan with daddy and headed out to discover the first signs of spring and our devotion and love for each other. Hannah is such my girl, nature calms and centers her. Out there with the sun warming our faces, the birds greeting each other, and wind finally warm and gentle, we mended some of the fractures.

She loves to climb so much and has little fear. I love it.

She is getting shy for the camera but will let me take her picture if I ask.

My eagle-eyed girl found the first sign of spring.

I found the second.

Momma might be a wood nymph but she is all water sprite.

It was simply an amazing day. We needed this, she and I. This convinced me we need to slow our lives down even more. I need to focus on the relationships with my children even more than I do. It is important. I think relationship is what truly matters in the end.

So we found spring and we found each other. All in all, a very good day.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Free Play and Exploration

Tomorrow is predicted to be 70 degrees. After a long, hard winter that particular sentence sounds like heaven. I cannot wait to feel the sun on my face and the warm breeze playing with my hair. The thought relaxes my soul. It also brings me great happiness and joy because it is a major reason we chose to home school. We wanted our children to have hours upon hours to play outside and explore their world and how they relate to it in an unstructured and unfettered way.

I am not a fan of over scheduled, over managed childhood. I think children need the freedom to play and dream without the imposition of an adult telling them what to play and what to dream. We wanted to provide a life of running through the woods like wild children, coming home with more dirt on their clothes then left in the wood, and hours upon hours of tromping through creeks befriending, examining, and sometimes running away from the local denizens. In these times I step back and become an adviser when then need me.  I keep record of the questions and queries they will later explore on the computer and books. But mainly I simply stand a quiet witness as they start the path to unfurl this thing that is their own lives and thoughts. It isn't about me, and yes it is sometimes hard to realize my rather lack of importance in it all, but what a wonderful joy it is to watch it all happen at the very beginning.

We do keep up with our minimal curriculum year round. It works for us. Then we aren't reviewing after months of inactivity nor trying to "get back on schedule". We really aren't into schedules so we just sort of maintain the same flow all year round, enjoying and experiencing what life brings to us.

This really is my favorite time of year. I have started putting our favorite festivals on the calendar. Days out at amazing natural locations are being written on the calendar with friends.Special days of programs and education at the local bird and wolf sanctuaries are being noted. The children, and their parents, are excited with our coming adventures.

But my absolutely most longed for days will be the ones where we just take off in a piece of nature, near or far, to explore at our whim. Adventures will emerge, battles defying the wildest adult imagination will be fought, and memories will be made. I will curl up on a grassy bank on a sun warmed blanket and read tales of beauty and intrigue to my beloved children as they rest in the dappled light with the sound of water dancing over the rocks in stream as our backdrop. Thoughts of long, slow days rambling about wherever the fancy takes us entices my soul and beguiles my heart.

What an amazingly beautiful opportunity I have to experience this life and savor its wonder. It is a very good thing. May harmony find you my friends.