Another year of homeschool has ended. The state of the school room closets, well, one look inside and there's no denying it was a whirlwind year of science experiments, number puzzles, monarch metamorphosis, medieval history, U.S. History, grammar (lots and lots of grammar), and various arts & craft projects (some still unfinished). It's a good feeling to see so many opened boxes, contents spilling out and plastic drawers half askew, papers and rulers sticking out. However, I'd be lying if I didn't say those same opened boxes and askew drawers drive me insane just as equally. On the one hand they show the fullness of our homeschooling, but they also show that maybe we've done too much. Maybe in my quest for experiences, I failed to teach the skill and manners of cleaning up after oneself. We'll tackle the cleanup this summer and I'll request politely (nag) for some help.
I always find myself reflecting on the year, wondering what went well, what was missed, and what will be changed for next year. In the #1 position on the what went well list is leisure conversation. Not auto-graded Teaching Textbooks, not Joseph reading the first 6 stories in All About Reading level 1, not Student Writing Intensive. Though they all make the list, none of them can compare to the leisure conversation homeschooling affords us.
What is leisure conversation? It's being close (in vicinity) to my children most of the day so that natural conversation can lead to closer relationships and be used as a learning tool. I think back to conversations about maps and music and religion. What started as a silly diversion quickly led to a long conversation with everyone chiming in. Before long we were conversing about important topics, sharing our opinions, genuinely interested in what each other had to say.
What is leisure conversation? It's sitting down at the lunch table at 12:10 and finding ourselves still laughing, talking, sharing, discussing issues (personal & political) at 1:15. "Oh my gosh, we need to clean things up and get back to our day," I'd say. But that was the day. The most important part of the day.
What is leisure conversation? It's including kids in my work. They might begrudgingly help with cutting vegetables for soup, but after a little bit of working silence they start talking and talking and talking. I learn about sassy horses and BMX bike tires and nutrition plans for "getting big". I learn about cell phone problems, pinterest projects, and movies wanted to see.
What is leisure conversation? It's when I learn my child's heart. It is truly the most important part of our homeschool day.