ryan youngThis is how I started my morning yesterday, at the Nook on a nature walk led by Ryan Young. It was a gloriously beautiful day, and I was so thankful that I got to welcome it outside. The day continued, with me checking in with Noah about Stop Motion Animation, jumping in the car with a bunch of kids to participate in Sports Hour at the park, coming back to the Nook for a quick lunch followed by teaching Beginner French with Cindy, keeping tabs on Noah while Zahra did Math Riddles and then Drama, picking up Leila and Elise at school, getting back in time to throw Leila into Capoeira and then chase some kids around the farm, before the evening drama class. Beautiful, busy day.

Today is also a gorgeous day. But I’m spending it in the city…and I’m responsible for no one. It’s scarily exhilarating. I got Leila into the bus this morning and then drove the older two downtown to a city sports complex for their Journée sportive. This homeschoolers’ sports day takes place once a month, from 10:00 to 4:00, and the kids participate in a variety of activities, from swimming to gymnastics to boxing and more. We did one last year, and the kids came out of that one just gushing with excited chatter, and so this year, I signed them up for the whole series.

percy jacksonMeanwhile, I’m wandering. Turning a blind eye to the ridiculous amount of parking fees I’m paying today, I’ve sat in a cafe for an hour and a half, sipping a coffee and having a Skype meeting with a client whose website text I’m writing. I’ve hauled the van through narrow streets on the Plateau to pop into La Grande Ourse and pick up some beautifully dyed wool for Wool Workshop on Thursday. And now I’m at the Grande Bibliothèque. After a quick dash to the children’ floor to pick up a few requests from Zahra, I wandered around the upper floors. Forget the elevator—I have time. And did I mention that I’m responsible for no one? All these people around, and yet I don’t have to haul their stuff or supply food and drink upon request! I’m in a giant library, with free wifi, comfy chairs and nothing but time!

As you may have started to suspect, this could be quite the lengthy blog article…

library

Last year, I set as my project to blog every day during our first year of homeschooling. That was tedious at times, but I am so, so happy to have that record. And the exercise of forcing myself to write daily was very good for me. We’re a month into the “school year”, and I’ve only blogged a couple times—mostly because this year’s projects are very time-consuming. There’s the Nook, and the fact that I have one child in school now in addition to the two at home (this means setting aside time to volunteer at the school and be active in the school social life). There’s also my personal project, which is to learn more about botany. I’ve folded Zahra and Noah into this one, too, and we spend about two hours a week on an online class (videos and in-the-field activities), plus I supplement with a Basic Life Science curriculum, Wilderness Workshops and the occasional nature walks at the Nook.

We have more appointments this year: Noah had speech therapy, and Zahra is soon to start orthodontics. We vowed to go rock climbing more often (although we’ve started to slip…gotta get back on that), and Zahra has a Monday evening drama class. Our first year of homeschooling was relatively chill. This year, everything seems to have been kicked up a notch. Or perhaps it’s because fall has just begun and we came off of an extended summer break of…well, glorious nothing.

This will be my challenge moving forward: to focus and hone in on what’s REALLY. IMPORTANT. To not over-schedule us. To make sure that we still have lots of that free time that I do know (despite what the calendar is telling me) is of the utmost importance. Each of the things that we do is wonderful (the Nook, rock climbing, drama, Wilderness Workshops, OSM concerts and museum field trips). None of it is free time.

And whereas last year there were moments when I felt shaky on the academics, this year I’m feeling really good. With Noah’s reading taking off and Zahra’s love of logic problems (along with the fact that the kid who spent her days sticking art supplies up her nose is now happily occupied at school), the skills-learning part of the day seems to go seamlessly. The fact that Minecraft time gets taken away for complaining about work might also play a part. Just maybe.

And so now I’m in the library…just being. Gazing out the big windows, planning a little city walk on Boulevard St-Laurent, thinking I need to have lunch in a place that serves wine. Maybe with a terrace.