Last Friday, we were having a rough homeschool day. Caleb was not being focused, and I was getting frustrated with him not “trying.” We both were getting edgy and not at all acting out “a gentle answer turns away rath,” but rather had hearts of “harsh words stir(ing) up anger.” We needed a time out. We needed to go camping.
We had said for weeks that we were going to go camping that weekend, but now that the day was here we had cold feet. I think the cold feet was the defense of NOT WANTING cold feet. As Caleb and I got more and more exhausted by each other and ultimately frustrated, Matt pulled me out of it. I don’t know what I would do with out him. He calmed me down and helped me to see the big picture perspective that I needed in that moment. I have a smart boy in Caleb, and he knows his stuff. He just needed a “break.”
The further and further we get into our school year, the more and more I am learning about my son. He loves school, and that was one of the many reasons why I wanted to keep him home to homeschool. I wanted to be a part of that and see his excitement. Although he does love to learn and do school, he also loves surprises and adventures. He needs a certain amount of routine with knowing what to expect, but he also loves for days to be switched up and “out of the norm.”
Matt and I knew we needed to go through with our plans to go camping, so right there in the middle of kid break downs all around us (and a mama on verge of losing it), we packed up our whole herd and headed north.
As we slowly decompressed on the drive and processed more about what matters in life and the important things to learn, I knew we made the right decision. Caleb was on cloud nine. He talked endlessly all 45 minutes to our camp site at Red Top Mountain. His attitude was a 180 degrees different, and he was my sweet boy once again.
We had plans to do math by counting sticks and throwing rocks, etc. I was going to draw words in the dirt for him to “read.” They were good ideas and intentions, but once we were there, we just played.
My kids can play, imagine, create, and dream. Those are equally important things to instill. Instead of talking about the ABC and 123 of school, we talked about the trees, nature, team work (that is so needed to set up/break down camp), God’s creation in the beauty around us, how to build a fire, the patience needed to fish, and the presence of love and humbleness needed in a family.
Caleb quickly learned how to fan the fire as it started to die down. I know there were countless other things we talked/demonstrated on this adventure, and it was so worth the change of routine.
My struggle with homeschooling is the temptation to compare what we do to what happens in normal school (the ways/routines and things that are taught). Every once in a while, I start to question and beat myself up that I am not doing enough. Those are lies I know Satan wants me to believe and leave me discouraged.
Unplugging and getting away does so much to set my heart at peace. The reason we are not doing traditional school is to be able to do different things and have different ways to learn and experience life. Why do I beat myself up for the very things I believe are right for my kids?
Life is so confusing and yet so beautiful. There are so many lessons to learn beyond sitting in a seat at a desk. It’s ok to be different at times and to do what is needed for your heart.
Experiencing nature by walking through the woods, skipping rocks in the lake, and freezing our tails off in a tent was so good for my family’s souls. We had a lot of fun laughing and being together. We were also so physically reminded how thankful we are to have a warm house to go home to!
Matt and I have joked several times since we have been home about how so many miserable moments (like freezing in a sleeping bag with like three layers on each and trying to get a baby to settle down in a tent) also have so many incredible moments intertwined. We decided that is the definition of camping.
So, although we had a blast and are so thankful we got away and camped, we will probably enjoy the rest of the fall and coming winter from home. Next year, we’ll probably find ourselves needing another moment of escape and pump ourselves up to do it again. I’ll re-read this post and remember how good it was to pull away for a night.
I am thankful for routines and also for spontaneity and the beauty of life when the two are paired together. This week we have been back doing our “traditional” school methods with reading, writing, mathematics, and everything in between. Caleb is nailing it. Everything that I knew he could do and so much more. It’s as if the weekend helped him to reset.
He has caused me to giggle to myself because he has been doing “harder” things than I was asking him to do on Friday, and in some situations showing me things on his own. He is so smart, and he is teaching me so much about myself through trying to teach him. Humility is at the top of that list.
What sort of ways does your family unplug and regroup? Do you have any secret tips on how to not find yourself “comparing”? I’d love the insight!!