2021 Homeschool Week 20 | May 17

With a little bit of intention added back in, this was a rewarding week! 

I mentioned last week that I was going to put in the work to create something enjoyable, doing the things I know we will appreciate spending our time on if we have the focus to remember to do them!  

When something isn’t a part of my routine, I may forget altogether that it exists – or just not think to think about it. I also know I work best when life is allowed to flow forward and there isn’t any great force or demand on my executive functioning. 

I’ve spent years trying to find a good balance between getting things done and letting things be. Eventually I figured out that it wasn’t which system I tried to put into place, but my expectations of myself and understanding how I best operate that needed to be mastered. 

I’ve made a point to simplify and keep things simple as the default. 

If I have goals or intentions, I’ll write them on a sheet of paper attached to my clipboard so I can release my brain from trying to hold the information while having the reminder to help with recall and something to check back on if I happen to flow with something else first. 

I used to come up with a new goal and think or write down a million steps for how to achieve it, excitedly planning out my new life…and then, I’d use up all my energy planning and never want to get to actually accomplishing it – or if I did try, it would feel like an uphill battle. 

Now I set intentions and let them flow, choosing to put my focus into the area that needs attention without forcing outcomes or a checklist that may or may not fit into energy or time availability. 

I accomplish so much more, and I feel good most steps along the way instead of only feeling successful at the end of a long journey that I likely stopped and started multiple times while beating myself up with guilt for not being linear. Not anymore.  

Last weekend, I realized I was going to have to reset our routine to intentionally create the life I want to participate in, knowing it would take extra energy again too. Quite a few things have changed in our life since our routine was easily flowing, and lately it had become more haphazard avoidance of anything that felt too overwhelming (a needed break) than pursuing resources we have already chosen out of interest.  

I made a list of some things we could give our focus as they fit into our day, and we happily fit them in this week. As I said above, it was rewarding. I was concerned it would be exhausting in the short term, but I was pleasantly surprised at how smoothly we incorporated our goals.  

Having chosen which things I wanted to make a priority made it easy to feel out in a free moment which thing felt good to pursue then, without having to plan and then do. I like having possibilities. I don’t love having a list of demands, a schedule, or an exact way things are supposed to take place. 

Fortunately, some things I want to continue are already routine, so they get to continue to flow while I figure out how to incorporate the rest. Myles continued classes, we listened to our audiobooks, he played games on his computer, and we worked on our puzzle some more.  

Myles initiated a Pokemon battle with his pokeballs and figures, and while it wasn’t on my intentions list, it’s exactly the kind of thing I love to have happen spontaneously. This is why I like the list to be flexible. I don’t want to say no to the things that just come up. I also don’t always have the creativity to just come up with something. Knowing this means having resources and setting myself up for success while letting it flow in the moment.  

When he got up that morning, Myles saw that I was working at my computer, so he jumped straight into Prodigy math game and then played a game of chess online. When he was looking for something new to start, I suggested maybe grabbing a book, and we both remembered he had been reading the Amulet series on his own. He went to get The Last Council (Amulet 4)* to finish, and I mentioned it would be cool if he read them to me at some point.  

The next day, we started reading book one, The Stonekeeper (Amulet 1)* together, him reading most of the dialogue and watching for my reactions since he knew what was coming. It was lovely having him read to me. He said he guessed he owed me after I read the entire Death Note series to him. Fair point. From manga to graphic novels, I love that we can share these stories together.  

We had finished the last bit of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Book 6* by Monday, and we decided to jump right into Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Book 7* the next day. Once we’re done with the Harry Potter series, we can go back and catch up on our other books, but we’re really into this story right now! Did anyone else feel like Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Book 5* was much slower to get through, or did it just happen to be our lifestyle at the time that slowed us down getting through that one?

We continued our puzzle while listening, the Harry Potter Marauder’s Map 1000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle* taking quite a bit more effort than the Hedwig (1000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle)* did. We have one left, Magic Academy Jigsaw Puzzle* and I wonder if we will do it right away or wait until puzzle inspiration hits again in the future.  

*This is not a trap; it is an affiliate link, and I may earn a commission from its use. Thank you for supporting the time and effort I put into providing this content. I only recommend products I have used.

It was nice enough to swim one afternoon before we got days and days of rain that turned our pool green. Now it’s sunny…and still green, sigh. (Yes, I’m still overall grateful to have a pool to need to keep clean)

When the rain kicked in, we got to some of our intentions, mostly going back to finish things we had already started but left undone. We pulled out our D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths* again, refreshing our memory, and continuing through the section on the minor gods, nymphs, satyrs, and centaurs.

Then we opened our Atlas Crate, reviewing the introduction and looking over the people and places described. Myles had built the binoculars about a month before, and this week we looked at the second part of that craft, which was constructing the animals of “The Big Five” to observe with the binoculars.

Since we had just gotten our Animals: A Visual Encyclopedia (Second Edition)* (we have the first edition) a couple weeks before and hadn’t used it just yet, I suggested looking up the “five” for more info. We found all but the buffalo and learned facts about them.  

I’ve been looking forward to the mancala game since we first opened the crate. I played when I was a kid, and our school had a local carpenter make us wooden boards that we sanded and painted. I remember spending hours working on mine and then playing the game with friends. The Atlas Crate version suggested using an egg carton for the trays, and we improvised until I can hopefully find the one from my childhood.  We had so much fun playing that we pulled our game out a couple times a day in between other activities.  

Who else loves an easy transition between expectations?  

*This is not a trap; it is an affiliate link, and I may earn a commission from its use. Thank you for supporting the time and effort I put into providing this content. I only recommend products I have used.

We took a few new one session webinar style classes with Varsity Tutors this week: Exploring the Night Sky, Butterflies in Our Backyard, and Swimming with Sea Turtles. I believe you can find the replays on YouTube on the Varsity Tutors channel.  

Myles also continued his Coding Games: Computer Science for Elementary School, Magical Potions, and Big Cats classes throughout the week.  Each of these was a free, large group class. You can check out which classes they offer at Varsity Tutors, and if you choose any paid classes, using our link will give you 3 free hours (we get 3 hours too, thanks!).

It was well worth the personal pep talk to get out of survival mode and make something happen that I could enjoy and appreciate. Myles has been entertained, but I’ve been more checked out for the last few weeks while he does his thing. I’m grateful for that rest, and I’m grateful that I was able to identify it was time to get on top of it again. I love that one of the new things we incorporated is Myles reading a graphic novel series to me – that’s something I’m going to be looking forward to over and over again!

How’s your homeschool going? Do you take a summer break?

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