NOTE: This is Part 6 of a 10 day series on Accidental Unschooling. If you are OCD and want to start from the introduction or Part 1, hop to the bottom of this post and use the conveniently provided links!
Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
~ Psalm 34:7-9
FINDING REASONS TO CELEBRATE
During difficult times - like adapting to a new baby, moving, teenage angst, pregnancy, health issues, or whatever problem life throws at you, it pays to have some rose colored glasses. Looking for the silver lining might seem hard when your hopes and plans have been tossed to the wind, but God is in the storm with you. He wants you to have peace that passes understanding and joy in the midst of whatever circumstance you are in. You also need to remember that you are educating your kids on how to handle future difficulties in their own lives by watching you weather the hardships.
For me to let go of the perfectionism and be OK with myself when the lists were not checked off and I felt left-behind on my lesson plans, I devised a plan to CELEBRATE ANYWAY. I chose to give thanks for the learning I saw happening around me: the child-led accidental unschooling... or the God-led moments that happened despite any of us trying to go in our own direction unsuccessfully.
Getting a pat on the back is a great feeling, and I knew we needed more of it. I read in a book (can't remember now where) that success breeds success... and I wanted my kids to know that I loved them, appreciated them, and thought they were smart and wonderful. Our lists had been too long for too long, if you know what I mean. Kind of makes a mama and kid feel hopeless. That's the last thing I wanted them feeling. SO... I started adding "assignments" in to my lesson planner for things that we learned and did which weren't planned. I also started making a DID list - instead of just a TO DO list.
SHOW AND TELL
One thing that happens when kids direct themselves is creativity increases. This little clay adventure was one of my daughter's new-found talents after her mouth surgery last year. Totally accidental, totally wonderful.
My 13 year old has had time to really hone her drawing skills because of our new relaxed schedule. This is one that I framed and put on my wall in the entry way. She can pretty much just look at anything and sketch it. Her Cartoon phase became an Anime phase, and that morphed in to a Manga phase. Now she's doing more realistic drawings because of her own passion to grow herself in that area. She has purchased books, gone online and researched, and practiced like crazy. Sometimes I thought it would make ME crazy when she chose to practice drawing instead of getting an assignment done that I wanted her to do... but how can you NOT celebrate the beauty of her art?
I should have included HEAR in the title of this post, too. Both of my kids decided to pick out music that was way above their skill level and learn it in two months for a recital. My son picked his song out by ear from a Japanese CD that he purchased with his own money because he loved the score so much. He learned the song so well that he didn't even make a mistake at the recital this month. His sister was working on three different songs and couldn't decide which one to play for the recital. My mom (their piano teacher) was blown away by how pretty their music selections were and is really impressed by their willingness and delight with learning piano. If it had have been for us getting all of MY list checked off, there would have been far less time for practicing - and music is something to celebrate for sure!
The taste part is one of my favorites of our accidental unschooling. I am a food lover. Please don't try and tell me it shows. I already know it. A couple of nights ago, I asked my daughter if she could make us enchiladas for dinner. I didn't even have to tell her how, where the recipes were, what to make to go along with it - nothing. I simply asked her to cook - something she likes to do anyway - and dinner magically appeared a little over an hour later: home made Spanish Rice, home made cheese enchiladas with her special chili sauce, and black beans. It's easy celebrating TexMex. Perfectionism has a hard time preventing me from relishing the fact that my kids can cook and bake - and I don't care what on the list doesn't get checked off. A family has to eat!
You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them. ~Desmond Tutu
Not only does accidental unschooling promote creativity, but it also creates a relationship between the student and the learning that is much deeper than any teacher-directed activity could foster. Relationship is what moves us. There's joy in the learning when the children are connected to it through their own inborn passions. There's joy in the learning and joy in the HOME. It leaves room for the joy to translate in to sibling relationships, too.
Big kid loves science = big kid loves to read science to little brothers = big kid and little brothers engaged in relationship building = mama's heart is happy, too!
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR ACCIDENTAL UNSCHOOL SUCCESSES?
Have you been showing grace to your homeschooled kids? Have you been smiling more, relaxing more, hurrying less, encouraging them to follow their God-given talents and passions, scolding less, praying more, and celebrating their growth? I'd love to hear about it.
We need to spur one another on to being better moms and educators - and hearing success stories is one way we can do this. Make a list! Share it with me in the comments - share it with your kids - your co-op friends (who would probably benefit from a positive kid-bragging email as much as your kids would benefit from knowing you sent it) - and with other homeschool moms you know who might be struggling with perfectionism or feelings of defeat because of their life circumstances.
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Tomorrow we're going to talk about fast food. Because I like to keep you guessing.
A smile is a curve that sets everything straight. ~Phyllis Diller
Introduction to this series
Day 1: Not So Super
Day 2: Morphing Methods
Day 3: Out of the Box
Day 4: Learning From Life
Day 5: Grace is for Homeschoolers
Day 6: Taste and See
Day 7: Grease and Sugar
Day 8: Carschooling and Fieldtripping
Day 9: Reading to Succeed
Be sure to join me each day. I'll be giving away a prize to a random winner in my comments section on these posts. Each comment counts as one entry. I love comments! Even if I don't have time to answer every comment or email, I cherish them and enjoy getting to know my fellow homeschooling moms.
This post is a part of the 10 Days of... Series at iHomeschoolNetwork. Check out the other amazing homeschool bloggers who are participating in the writing challenge by visiting the landing page there.
Thanks for joining me!
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Other Good Reads:
Order of Operations Series
If I Can Homeschool, Anyone Can
Rising From the Ashes of Homeschool Burnout (at the Homeschool Post)