Some challenges and a victory

“Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory”… don’t you think these are such wise words… wish I could say they were mine but you can thank Mahatma Gandhi. Basically the hard work or commitment to get to the goal (the victory) is more important than actually even reaching that goal at the end of the day.

It has been a weird few weeks, yet again I was tempted to throw in the towel with homeschooling (and general life) but you know what, I had many days like this too when Leah went to school. Life is not easy, there aren’t endless days of everything going to plan in all our decisions and activities we do and definitely very little goals met on a day to day basis (look at my laundry basket for argument sake). Life whether you choose to homeschool or not is hard work either way and requires effort. But remembering that hard toil beforehand when that day does come (and it does eventually come) is so worth it. The victory is so much sweeter really.

I had a day like that this week. I met up with an old teaching colleague (well she’s more than just an old colleague she is a dear friend) to chat about how I could go about encouraging Leah’s thirst and want to read in a way that would be beneficial and helpful. I am intermediate and senior phase trained, so by the time the lovelies got to me they could “usually” read … so I needed some guidance now. I’d been feeling quite low on all fronts, feeling like I wasn’t “doing” enough with Leah, that I wasn’t engaging her enough, that we weren’t going on enough outings and then what about handwriting and manners and… and.. just generally crappy feelings all around. Anyway we met at Cafe Roux (lovely place if you ever in Noordhoek) and I thought I’d be clever and get Leah to do some basic written maths and phonics written work. She’s not overly keen but she does it anyway and I can see this is as boring as heck and way too basic but anyway she’s doing written work that has to count for something right? … Wrong… What she needs to be doing is playing on the beautiful jungle gym, counting the monkey bars as she goes, skipping and hopping, picking up leaves and sequencing from biggest to smallest, playing with feathers and stones and working out what sinks and floats, coming up with imaginative stories as she weaves and sings under the jungle gym and trees. Ah-ha moment… I know this is the way children learn best with concrete things yet here I was making her do these “colouring in” activities as my friend politely pointed out to me and that it wasn’t really teaching her anything! Flip man, obviously that makes total sense but that teacher person in me needed to tick boxes again. I needed to have something on paper to show progression and attainment of knowledge…

After a good chat with my friend and chatting about all these concrete ways children learn, I left the playground less burdened, happier and more determined to focused on the important things in life, like playing and finding opportunities in those moments to engage, stretch and challenge her little mind. Yes, Mahatma Gandhi, satisfaction lies in the effort – the hard slog of learning through playing in Leah terms and the hard effort for me to allow these natural learning moments to occur and see opportunity and use it – not in whether we have ticked the box for the day, week or month. I am starting to understand the process of homeschooling that it is just that, a process that looks different for everyone as each person is unique… this was my little victory this week.

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