When we first started homeschooling I felt that I had to get everything in for the day. Scheduled times, planned assignments, you name it. We only did “school” for the morning but I wanted to make sure that we covered everything we could in that time. We were living in Jamaica then and I think the laid back beach lifestyle and the fact that homeschooling was new to us kept everyone fresh and excited each day to begin. We really enjoyed our days there.
Then we moved to Seoul, South Korea and things shifted. The world that my kids had gotten used to completely changed.
We moved from a very large house with an ocean view to a tiny, old, 3 bedroom apartment right in the big city. We went from mixes of English and Jamaican Patois to a new language and alphabet. We went from beach life to big city life. Food changed, people changed, culture changed.
I wanted to keep our old routine so the kids could adjust into our new life better. It seemed everything around us was changing so quickly. Everything was changing except me.
Sadly, homeschool became more of a fight. Tempers flared, tears were shed. Some days were magnificent, some days were a struggle. The city had so much to see and offer. We had fun when we were out but at home it was another story. This was not what I had imagined and planned things out to be. What was I doing wrong?
Meeting new friends and joining new activities helped. (Thank you to Facebook Groups!) The real change happened though when I realized that I needed to just “let go”. Things did not have to go as planned. So what if we didn’t complete a lesson? We were learning so many more lessons in daily life in Seoul. A walk out of our front door was an adventure in itself. Eating a new dish that we had never tried, learning how to use the public transportation, buying vegetables at the market and just asking for directions were all lessons.
As I let go, the family seemed to relax. Fights were less, communication improved and life became fun again. I had forgotten the reason why we chose to live a life off the beaten path in the first place. To experience the world, not be stressed by the “rush” of life, and to just have fun. To enjoy and be in each of these moments with my family.
Our year in Seoul was not always easy, but it was one of the best life lessons I have had. My kids grew to love their life there. I loved our life there. My biggest shift was realizing that homeschool was a lifestyle, not a structured activity. A lifestyle that we freely chose. In our homeschool I am not the teacher, I am the student. My children are my teachers. We approach each day with an excitement to learn and to see where the day will take us.
When we said “see you later” to our life in Korea and our wonderful friends there, we were able to return to Canada with a new appreciation of our life and what was still yet to come.
My daily reminder and practice is still “letting go”, but that is becoming easier. It brings so many blessings when I do. Yesterday was a great day for our practice. Inside on a foggy, cold day we carved pumpkins, researched the history of jack o lanterns (Zahra’s question on where do jack o lanterns come from?) made halloween costumes, watched a documentary on Halloween and went for a trail walk after feeding the pigs. No structure, and there was an abundance of learning that went on.
What areas of your life have you learned to step back, let go and enjoy? Has it changed things for you and your family?