One of my favorite jdrama is Long Vacation.  The main lead is an aspiring pianist who is in a rut.  There is a scene in the drama the main characters are talking about how he is no longer entering in piano competitions and contemplates giving up altogether.  Rather, he’s just floating by giving piano lessons to kids.  The female lead suggests, maybe, he is just in a long vacation.

I’ve always loved that concept of long vacation.  Maybe you’ve falling off the exercise bandwagon, or the eating well bandwagon, or the homeschooling well bandwagon.  But you haven’t failed, just taking a long vacation.

Or as I like to tell my children when I’m feeling lazy, 休息是為了走更遠的路。

This year, we’re staying with my parents for 6 weeks while I help my sister with her sitting month.  The kids stayed with their other grandma the first two weeks.  I spent my kids-free time doing mostly brainless activities, waiting for my 3 meals to be served, not tidying or tackling the huge list of things I’d wanted to accomplish during my time here.

Finally I got bored enough to get off my butt and do some stuff.  Stuff like:

Reading Raising an Emotional Intelligent Child.  The author, John Gottman, is a researcher who studies marriages and his conclusion is that we all need to be emotionally intelligent and learning this skill starts in childhood.

We all know the drill of acknowledging children’s feelings, but he goes a step further.    How do you guide them when they’re having a moment, be it a tantrum or being sad or angry, and help them during those moments to be aware of and to process their emotions.

Even more so than Positive Discipline or Raising an Emotional Intelligent Child, I love Life-Enriching Education: Non-Violent Communication…. by Marshall Rosenberg.  To me, non-violent communication provides me with a simple and yet very powerful script in how to talk to the children when you’re trying to positive discipline or raise your emotionally intelligent child.  And just like Alfie Kohn or Maria Montessori, reading Rosenberg’s philosophy really makes you feel inspired about viewing your relationship with your child, with education, in a different way.

 

I feel in love with Montessori philosophy again reading The Deep Well of Time.  It aligns so very well with the Charlotte Mason podcast I’d just been listening on Your Morning Basket about story telling.  The book talks about how children love listening to stories and why story telling should be part of every classroom as really a way to invoke children’s imagination and interest.

Of course, the best part is that there are stories you can tell on Geometry!  I have been trying to figure out why it’s important for me to teach it, because angles, lines, points are very irrelevant to my daily life and I don’t see the point.  But now I’ve found a new in to teaching geometry and am re-inspired by Montessori’s philosophy that elementary is about invoking the children’s interest, and not memorizing and learning all the facts there is.

 

Your Morning Basket is a Charlotte Mason based podcast on implementing morning time.  My interpretation of it is that it’s basically (sometimes very long) circle time; a way for a homeschool teacher to get in the stuff they want to teach but otherwise never get to.

What’s great about the podcast is that they interview different people for each podcast and you hear different ways people implement this.  You get down to the nitty gritty details of how people homeschool, what works for them, what doesn’t, and how they get around the issues that inevitably crop up, like how to teach science or math or organizing your homeschool day when you have 6 kids from 11 to 6 months old.

 

The Schole Sisters is where I learned about using Myers Briggs to help me understand why I homeschool the way I do and how I can customize my curriculum by understanding the kids’ personality.  The three hosts talk in a very conversational format and the focus is on Charlotte Mason and Classical homeschooling (I think).  Sometimes it’s hard to wade through the talk to get to the info.  In general, more philosophy than practical sometimes.  When the mood strikes me, I enjoy learning more about these two educational philosophies, like the one titled The Lowdown on Narration.  It’s also nice to hear that other people have struggles in their homeschooling.

 

Interview after interview from Your Morning Basket talk about how important it is to just read to the children and other things will fall into place.   Montessori’s philosophy has lots in common with other educational philosophies out there.  But reading her approach always inspires me.  It’s all about respecting the child and observing them, providing them with what they need at specific stages of development; not imposing your idea of what and how to educate onto them.

Reading and listening to all these books have reminded me of how I want to homeschool.  Although this year I got a better idea of how to teach the children, I realized I miss just spending time with them reading a book or talking to them and the resulting great conversations and spontaneous learning we end up having.   Looking back, apparently I spent the year hurrying them to finish one task or another and learning our daily routine.  I’ve lost sight of what gives me joy in homeschooling.

Now I feel re-energized.  Hoping the feeling will last and carry me forward once we return from our long vacation!

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