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  • Writer's pictureElyse Marie

Life: Not Meant To Live In A Box




As summer approaches, along with decisions for next school year... there's many questions to answer for so many families. What am I going to do with my kids all summer? How am I going to school them next year? Homeschool or no homeschool? While my opinions are just my own opinions, I wanted to offer some insight. Don't worry, I won't keep you long.


As we've chosen to return to the wonderful world of homeschooling, I wanted to share with you what our deciding factor was. That is, that we are simply not meant to live in a box. We don't train our whole life to sit in a cubical. We're not designed to be sedentary. While the majority of Americans do have more traditional jobs and traditional living habits, that doesn't make traditional necessarily right. It just makes that lifestyle socially acceptable. Many of those Americans may make decent money, but are they living life? My opinion and experience says no.

When I owned a thriving dance studio, which I let go of due to COVID-19 shutting our business down, I realized one thing. As hard and honestly humiliating it was to walk away from the life I knew, I was thankful for a new opportunity with my children. I will be the first to admit my faults... as the owner of the studio, I constantly put other peoples children above my own. If there were disciplinary issues, I would discipline my children to be sure I was not playing favorites. When it came time for shows, my children wouldn't have lead parts again to show I was not playing favorites. The town I grew up in was not the easiest politically to run a dance studio in. Many (not all) entitlements had opinions that their money put them ahead of the line of those who worked extraordinarily hard or continuously showed up every day. That stress wore on me. That stress made my children feel inadequate. That stress made me realize how wrong it was for me to not put my children first in everything I do. Money is not worth it if you're barreling through relationships to obtain it...

Again, this is my opinion.


This past year, I decided to put my youngest in school with his sisters at a private Christian school which I was teaching at. I want to start by saying, the school is filled with WONDERFUL people. However, the traditional approach just never has been our style... and that's ok. My 4 year old... my last child and my first to be shuffled off to school. As a fellow teacher, I felt this was a great choice for all 3 children and even myself, to make a little money while being involved in all three of my children's education and sharing my ability to teach with other students. I love teaching, yet here we are with 3.5 weeks left and here I am once again with the sinking feeling I let my kids down. I've let them be shuffled in to a life that teaches them their life is to be lived in a chair, at a desk, always working to be better than the person next to them. That our paperwork defines who we are and if we're not at the top, then we're not important. That movement is not encouraged (no they don't say that specifically, but life in a desk does.) That getting lost in a book too long isn't ok... we have a schedule to keep. (Yes schedules ARE important but a little bend is encouraged when it comes to learning. Learning is learning, let them thrive where they thrive. Let them master something.) A rounded education does not necessarily mean equivalent time directed to 10 subjects. If something is a complete waste of time, find another way to teach it. If there's a disconnect, stop, slow down, break the 'schedule' and teach it. Saying 'well you're on your own, figure it out' isn't teaching. Teaching to take the bad grades and move through, isn't a positive approach to building the confidence our kids need. Don't fluff them, don't fake it... but take time and teach them until they truly understand.


The truth is, the human race has always been in a state of constant movement and survival (historically). We migrated, hunted, walked, foraged, built shelter, and MOVED for most of the day. The elders sat when they could no longer work. In most places, life has changed. We are now more sedentary than active. And when we are active, it's in extreme bursts for sports. We go from sedentary all day to an explosion of work. We don't know how to move all day, be on our feet, walk, be outdoors. I know on days I try to do that, I'm exhausted because I have adapted to my chair based lifestyle. We're shortening our life time to sit. To stay. To work. To surf the internet. To shuffle our kids off into a quiet space. Don't worry I'm not judging, I fall victim to this too.


But I'm trying to change. Trying to embrace movement, getting outside, going on tours to learn, traveling and seeing to write reports instead of looking at a screen.


This summer, we will do like we do most summers. We will purchase our annual memberships for the zoo and zoo splash pads, we will purchase another for the nature preserve, another for the science museum, and we've purchased a new bounce house water slide for the days we are home. This summer we will create a zoology course for the kids to follow to see a different set of animals every time we visit the zoo, or for a study presented at the science museum. We will do the same with the nature center. This summer we will sprinkle in a few worksheets a day and one learning report a week, more than likely on the animals and nature we're learning about. Switching back to homeschool gives us TIME once again. Why cram it all into 9.5 months when we have 12 to learn? I promise you can still learn and structure learning around movement, around interactive activities, and around something OTHER than a desk and chair.


If you're nervous about the switch, reach out. Ask me... I'm always happy to help structure a learning path based on your local area, budget, and likes. But I encourage you, step out of the norm. Social standards will make you feel like a failure when you start... let that go. Take it slow. and SHOW UP... the key to success with any goal or habit is showing up every day.


I'll be here if you have questions or need help planning, just message me.


Best Wishes,

-Ellie

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