Homeschool & Building A Life With Intention
Did you see my post about our upcoming road trip? If so, you know that our family is embarking on new adventures and that we are opening up to some radical changes in our lifestyle. We are putting a lot of focus on our hopes and dreams for our family and are taking some big steps to build a life with intention.
One of these family dreams is to offer our kids an education that is full of incredible life experiences and uninhibited exploration. We don’t know exactly what that looks like or how to achieve it, but we know we are ready to try something new to get there.
Last year, we began to notice that our older daughter, Karuna, was slowly disengaging from school. In 2nd grade, she was already complaining of boredom in the classroom and dragging her feet through homework. Her general attitude began to sour and I could see her pulling away from her relationship with her sister. She and Ora used to play imaginative games for hours, but soon she became only interested in being with friends, or being alone- reading or playing Minecraft. I figured that at 7 years old, she was in a transition time of discovering her passions and letting go of things she was no longer interested in. But something still felt off.
I imagined how her next few years would be if we continued on this path. And I realized it began to look a lot like my early-adolescence. That terrified me. My 4th-8th grade years were consumed with social anxieties and pressures, I pulled away from my family and cared more about fitting in with my peers than anything else in the world. I still have journals I wrote during that time and feel sad for that girl. Karuna is a lot like me and I want to do what I can to broaden her worldview and show her that life is full of options and diverse experiences.
We are incredibly lucky to have access to so much of this world- to adventures, diversity, beauty, service, and love. If it is at all possible for us to offer her something beyond her recent school experience- which was slowly chipping away at her enthusiasm and love of learning- then I felt I had to give it a shot. I knew in our decision to homeschool, I’d be giving up a lot of my own free time and taking on a role that might be extremely hard. But something was telling me I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. That no matter where we end up in the years ahead, I would never regret giving up this time for myself in order build a stronger relationship with Karuna and explore the world together.
We have been homeschooling (unschooling, actually) Karuna for a little under 2 months and her energy has completely shifted. She is a smiling, joyful delight (most of the time!) and once again, happily plays imaginative games with her sister. She is curious and inquisitive and is opening up to new ways of thinking about her role in this world.
And at times, homeschooling has been even harder than I thought it might be. There have been days where I question everything we are doing, where I worry that Karuna will get bored and lonely outside of school. That she’ll fall behind her peers academically and resent us for this decision…
But then I see her joy. I see how much she’s learning and growing from this experience. I see her reading voraciously. I see her face light up when she illustrates a book or creates stop-motion animation. I see her expressively recount word-for-word a long campfire story from nature class. I see her going on weekly adventures with her Aunt. I see her laughing with her friends. I see her making new friends. I see our relationship as mother and daughter growing stronger. I see our connection as a family growing deeper. I see her light and it is only getting brighter.
We don’t know what our educational choices will look like in the future. We are open to all options for next year and are taking it one day at a time. We know that we are not stuck in any decision and that if we wait until tomorrow to follow our dreams, then we will blink and years will have gone by. We know that however unconventional our path may seem, we have decided to put ourselves out there and consciously create the lives of our dreams.