What is Today For?Sep 26, 2022
Do you ever have those homeschool days? You know, those days, the ones that don't go as planned or end up in disaster! We all have them, and really, they happen more often than not in some cases. So what do you do with those days? They certainly can make you question yourself and homeschooling in general, but you can get meaning and learning out of every experience by asking yourself, what is today for?
Consider what your perfect homeschool day looks like. From waking up to bedtime, what is everyone doing? What are the attitudes? Are there smiles and laughter? Where are the transitions and rabbit trails? What are the relationships like? What gets accomplished? What kind of learning is happening?
Now consider, how often do those days occur? If you're like most of us, probably not many! I would say an average of 10-15% is common. So what happens during the other days? They probably range from ok to disaster. But that's totally normal! If all our days were the Disneyland equivalent of homeschooling (even though we secretly wish they could be), the amazing days wouldn't be as special. Nor would there be any variety. But don't fret, because...
"Learning happens everywhere, all the time."-Kami Wanous, The Freedom Scholar
If learning happens everywhere, all the time in homeschooling (and life!), then the question really is, "What is today for?" This concept was clarified for me in a presentation by Rachel and Emma DeMille in the Thomas Jefferson Education (TJEd) Convention this year. I found this idea so comforting, inspirational and true! There is learning in every experience if you ask the right questions. There is purpose in every day.
So What IS Today For?
Some days are for saying goodbye.
Then what are some purposes for a homeschool day whose ducks got knocked out of their row? When everyone is sick, some days are just for healing and rest. When there's relationship conflicts, some days are just for rebuilding. Some days are just for laundry! When you have nothing for dinner, some days are just for grocery shopping, or cooking. Some days, like one we just had, are for dealing with the emotions of letting go of a car you've had for 18 years and watching the tow truck haul it away. Some days are for emptying the fridge for the repair guy to come, then learning that now is a good time to clean it before restocking. And then there's some days that are for deep talks about who you want to be and how to reach your goals after failing a martial arts promotion pre-test. And some days are "play outside so mommy can have a sanity day!"
Then, there are other days, like ones for just reading. I used to do that a couple times a year in the classroom with my high schoolers and now it's a special homeschool day. Just a reading day. Some days are for deep study, discussion and writing. Some days are for nature play, fun field trips or picnics in the park.
It's easy to identify what today is for in the good days and the Disneyland-type days, but it takes some real thinking and intentionality to see it in the bad ones. But it's always there! These last few weeks, we have had our ducks get knocked out of row, out of the pond and into the street! It has been tough to find the learning in many of these moments, but we keep looking. They have definitely been times to remind us of the impermanence of things, testing our resilience and perspective that we are all healthy and all else can be fixed.
The key is to step out of the frustration of your ducks getting knocked out of row and ask yourself, "What is today for?" Not an easy thing to do. Maybe begin by considering it after the emotion of the moment has passed. Then, as you practice, you can work toward surrendering to the purpose of the moment, in that moment, and save yourself, and your family ;), the stress.
And above all, remember that...
You got this! Have grace with yourself, your family and the purpose of the day.