The back of our home is still a canvas. From the deluge of knocking down a single wall, we are left with an open space and an overwhelm of renovation ‘to do’s.
Apt to this situation, my daughter wrote Kandinsky’s dot philosophy on our unpainted, unfinished wall last week, and I have spent the weekend with this wonderful ten year old, happily reminded that one dot of paint and construction will lead to another, and we will improvise our way to completing the space we have created.
A child has reminded me that this part built room is a lucky adventure, not a burden. The process of completing it together is more important than the product, and for the love of gods, let’s have some laughs along the way.
The trouble is, I have so many dots to begin that I sometimes forget Kandinsky’s anti-ode to the state of overwhelm. Working full time from home, and home educating two children, while trying to keep a renovation site liveable, leaves me constantly wondering where I begin to deconstruct the huge pile of tasks and ‘want to dos’ that accumulate daily. I wondered this before the renovations began, and before my home business became full time, when we first began home education. Homeschooling just seems so BIG. There is so much that you want to do for your children. So many resources that you want to collect. So many outings and experiences to give them. So many things you think you should be doing, or that you aren’t doing enough. Or that they aren’t doing enough.
Last week we did a bit of reading about Kandinsky and viewing his art in books and online. My daughter immediately commented that Kandinsky’s work reminded her a little of Picasso’s cubism, because of the shapes used. Not a bad theoretical leap for a then nine year old.
As I watched my daughter carefully construct curved and zig zagged lines last week, I spent the time worrying about all of the other things she should be doing. And lost sight of the bigger picture.
My daughter was constructing those lines with care, with focus, and with theoretical, historical and personal contexts in mind. She was connecting with her work. She was learning willingly, joyfully and independently. Her knowledge of the world was broadening as she developed her thinking and practiced her skills. I couldn’t see it at the time, but all of those things added up to one pretty good big picture.
The picture we had in mind when we chose to go school free in the first place. As important as I love to feel as a home educating parent, my children will learn on my best days, and on my worst. No matter how much I try to design the days, my children are capable of making their own designs, and they will add their own colour and shade. That is actually the point. To set them free to learn in their own ways.
Every little thing we do counts towards their bigger picture and I must remember and celebrate that with them, so that the big pictures they are forming remain healthy, and thrive.
“You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.” Alvin Toffler.
Trust in the process, in the reasons for the choice of seeking exemption from schooling in the first place, and most of all, trust in the child.
On a Sunday evening when he had the choice of television, playing games on his tablet or any of his favourite past times, my son chose to explore art.He had fun with his leaning. He shared it with his family.There was no homework requirement or list that needed a tick of approval, and our twelve year old wasn’t looking for approval. His intention was to pursue his interest in learning and guess what? He did this without any help from an adult in choosing or completing the task.
Why am I homeschooling?
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” Alvin Toffler.
I am not trying to raise children who can regurgitate lots of facts, or perform pages of equations, grammatical gymnastics, or calculations.
I am raising two people who know how to learn. Who have the inclination to develop their knowledge, skills and philosophies, and to contribute to their life and contexts. Who know how to put a dot on any road of learning or adventure they choose to pursue, and get started; joining the dots as they go.
I can’t wait to see the pictures they each create.
The open pages in this post are from the book ‘The Children’s Book of Art’ by Rosie Dickens (Usborne).