Our human family has come together to protect our health by staying apart. This gesture, while mandated and serious, has a rather important unintended consequence: more time at home with those who are most important to us.
Our life at Wilderplay headquarters has not changed much; as a homeschooling family and a home-based program provider, the biggest change around here is seeing my darling 16-year-old's face more often than I have since she started middle school! But, as we shift into a more somber practice of the rural introvert's lifestyle, I recognize that not every mama and papa is comfortable in a managing a full-time daily routine that suddenly includes new educational responsibilities.
In this moment of global pandemic, our community may be held at a distance. Our family may feel isolated. And the world outside our door may appear to hold risk. Our stress and concern may be weighted by the daily expectations of managing a full-time household. With those realities stretching into the long-term, I hope to share one very small seed of advice.
Keep. It. Simple.
Keep expectations of yourself and others simple: be well, be kind, be helpful. Keep daily routines simple, using the words first, then, and after instead of precise times on the clock. Keep academic aspirations simple, knowing that you can't recreate the school experience your child would be having. Instead, keep embracing the opportunity to teach in ways they could never experience while at school all day- in the backyard, kitchen, garden, garage, barn, or in your lap.
Cut off from the library, and perhaps facing a delay in deliveries of books from online vendors, we might have to make due with resources we can print from the internet or find at home. To me, there's an even more exciting proposition: using what we already HAVE to ignite the learning spark.
And I propose taking that challenge to a more elemental level. What can we observe using our only our senses? What can we express using only our singing voice? What can we create using only our imagination? This is the kind of simplicity that leaves space for independent thought, invention, and wonder. It's not an entire educational model, it's an exercise in a moment of opportunity.
Over the next few weeks, watch for me to share some Wilderplay-style prompts under #familynaturegoals. I'll share suggestions for learning at home through a connection to nature that keeps things simple.
Hope to see you out there again soon, LL
When not working with children and their caregivers, "Lady" Lisa and her family enjoy exploring the woods, lakes, and beaches that surround their northern Michigan home. She holds a masters degree in early childhood studies, a graduate certificate in teaching adults in the early childhood field, and accreditation in wilderness safety and the forest school ethos.