Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The blessing of adaptation

Since we got back from our big roadtrip, I spend my days mostly at home, helping little girls with their awesome projects or practice their instruments, cooking fall food, sewing, knitting, felting, all the while wondering what is around the corner for us... What if they all want to stay? Are we going to be able to travel again? I feel stretched... and blessed... and once again questioning what is our mission on this earth. Is it to simply provide our girls with the experiences they seem to be needing at every stage of their growth? What about me? Can I be happy while wearing the traveler AND the stay-at-home mom hat at the same time or do I feel like I need to pick one and run with it? Maybe I can just hang the traveler's hat for a while and put the apron back on!

But I feel a bit done with that part of me. My girls are looking forward to our old Fall and Winter celebrations (from our Waldorf days). In all honesty, I don't. I thought it was all behind us. Great memories from their early childhood days. But I can bring that alive again for them and find delight in it simply because I love to see their eyes twinkle. However, I also know they were twinkling on top of a mountain in Glacier NP or at the bottom of a canyon in Utah...

I feel like I should be changing my blog tagline to : an unschooler who is using a Waldorf curriculum, a vegan that just had fish for dinner while wondering if traveling as a way of life is really what suits her family best...!

I know that in our society (and especially in some of my circles...), that kind of back-and-forth (I like to call it flexibility and adaptation...) is not always valued and well perceived. It looks much better if you stick to your guns even if something tells you it would be time to reassess your choices. 

:: Igloo water color ::
:: By sprinkling table salt when the painting is still wet, we create an impression of snow. ::
:: We are exploring fibers right now ::
:: We made a birthday fairy for a dear friend ::
:: Sunday morning family run/hike in the beautiful National Park in our backyard ::

:: Looking at the beaver's hut and talking with the naturalist about frogs, lizards and snakes ::
:: In our homeschooling group, we talked about the pioneers who came to North America. Here the children are role playing the people rowing on their boat across the Atlantic Ocean ::
:: Role playing the Native Americans preparing their camp and fire ::
:: In the afternoon, we explored the wisdom and spirituality of the Native Americans.  The children got to experience a smudge and some beautiful singing. ::
:: Even the little ones got to participate! ::

:: They then made a medicine pouch, made some bead ornaments for a talking stick and drew their totem animal ::

Since we came back (and even a couple of months prior), our girls clearly indicated to us that they needed more structure in their days and weeks (it could be because this is what they were used to as younger children or simply a temperament thing). When we moved back home, I resisted creating a schedule. It was summer and who wanted to have a schedule anyways. Not me! But even with the vast amount of projects I brought forwards, the new board games and library cards, something was off (of course, the "re-entry" as it's called in traveler's lingo was hard on all of us... ). Mathilde kept asking to "do school" and I thought that all the artsy projects and games I was offering "should" have been enough...

A bit reluctantly, I picked up the second grade curriculum we never finished two years ago and started using it, doing more formal school periods during the week as per the girls requests. They loved it. They were disappointed when we were not having a lesson in the morning... I was flabbergasted! I kept thinking it was the newness of it, but so far, they are truly loving it (and needing this very strong rythm or so it seems). Maybe it is simply a transition thing, maybe it is just what they need right now.

I am trying to go with it. One day at a time. Realizing even more everyday how impossible it is to draw a line and follow it forever. It is easy to feel like we have failed where we truly only adjusted instead of going against what seemed obvious. I am still an unschooler at heart, as for me it means partnering with my girls to listen to what they feel is best for them at every given moment. When I remember that, the internal conflict dies down and I feel peace and harmony filling my soul and heart. Because in the end, this is all that matters. Peace, harmony, love and joy, not the labels we think describe us best.


Penny said...

I applaud you Catherine. Truly. I hope joy abounds in unexpected places - - -

I. said...

Bises Catherine!
Bcp est pareil ici, j'aimerais developper ms je n'ai pas le temps. alors je t'embrasse juste.

isabelle said...

Bonjour Catherine,
j'admire tjrs ton don pour écrire et livrer ici une partie de ton intimité!
Courage ! Tu n'es pas seule...

Sarah-Our Island Home said...

Thank you Catherine for writing with such honesty. It is easy to get to caught up with labels.

Joanna said...

Quel beau post mon amie. que c,est touchant de lire tous tes "back and forth".
en fait j'adore ta proposition de nouveau ss-titre de ton blog!!!
je me souviens quand tu l'as changé de waldorf pour unschooling... et pourquoi pas rechanger encore.
comme tu dis, s'adapter, écouter tes enfants (ton chum et toi aussi bien sûr et trouver un équilibre entre toutes ces voix là) et nourrir le lien et leurs intérêts au lieu de sticker rigidement sur des principes.
je me souviens d un vieux post où tu énumérais toutes les différentes diètes que tu as déjà faites, tjrs intensément à fond 100% passionnément. je pense qu en éducation tu es un peu comme ca aussi. avant c'était waldorf à fond, puis unschooling-travelling à fond et puis mtn, c'est encore en mvmt, on dirait que tu trouves votre truc à vous, qui fit pr mtn, et peut être que ce "truc" conviendra plus ds 2 ans.

je comprends les filles d'avoir envie des fêtes de l'automne et de l'hiver, elles sont si magiques et oui il y a bcp de vertus aux rythmes et à la simplicité des petites choses magiques du quotidien. moi j'aime voyager, que dis-je j'ADORE. mais perso, j'aime aps ca tout le temps. j,aime préparer un voyage, le méditer, le mûrir comme qd je suis enceinte, porter un projet de voyage et puis le vivre et puis revenir à la maison. perso, j'aime le fait d'avoir une maison un chez moi et d'avoir un quotidien "banal" qui est entrecoupé tous les 3 ou 4 ans d'un grand voyage.
voilà, je te trouve bien courageuse car je sais que pr qqn de ton genre (et je suis pas mal pareil :O) c'est pas tjrs facile "la flexibilité" (moi aussi c est ce que je travaille le plus).
et franchement, je ne vois pas le problème existentiel que les filles veuillent faire l'école. je trouve ca même très "évident" puisqu'elles n'y sont pas forcé, elles ont soif de certaines connaissances et apprentissages qui se font "à l'école" ou chez vous. la lecture, les maths, etc etc. c'est sûr que c,est un besoin et qu'elles trippent autant là dessus que sur une rando ds un parc national des E-U!
c est le fun de voir tout ce que vous faites de hot avec le groupe d'école maison, vraiment chouette!
gros gros becs et j'espère que tu ne penses pas que je te juge, au contraire je vs admire bcppp de tout le chemin que vous parcourez.
g hâte à début octobre :O)

Francesca said...

as far as I understand it, unschooling means getting the cues from your kids as to what their specific needs are. they told you: they need more structure. so, you're effectively "structurally unschooling" :)

Catherine said...

Thank you sweet friends for your words and support!

Merci à vous pour vos bons mots de soutien!

Joanna, merci de ce partage. C'est bon d'entendre la version des autres!

serena said...

That's so interesting. I remember reading a post a couple years back when your girls resisted the same curriculum so much. But you are right. Joy, harmony and peace trumps any pedagogy!