Monday, September 30, 2013

Homeschool Chronicles: Make Something Better

Homeschool  ChroniclesI'm frozen in front of a blank page, my mind swirling.  What to share?  Where to start?  There's been so much...

And this is what rises to the surface:  don't settle.  Don't settle.  Don't settle.  With our children, with their education, with our lives, with our creativity - don't settle for less than the better you can imagine.  It's easier to accept the status quo, what we had planned, what we've already paid for (darn it!).  The fabric's already cut.  The children are enrolled.  The textbooks bought.  But, don't.  Don't settle.

If it's not working, change it.  Re-imagine what you have to create something better.  Mess around on the design wall.  Cut in a new color.  Cut out what's not working, even when it costs you.  Because why would you choose the lesser path, even just this season, even just this year?  Isn't life more precious than that?  Isn't it (your precious creative time, your children, insert what matters here) worth your best efforts, now, today?  If you can't be proud of what you have in front of you, make something different.  Or, better yet, re-make what's in front of you... Better.

good things -  fabric pull

Right now we're in the process of withdrawing Aria from the homeschool co-op program she's enrolled in.  It's a two-day program that was such a great fit for us last year. But this year... it's not.  It's intrusive, distracting.  I thought to finish the year in the program, starting fresh next year, and then wondered why the heck I would accept anything less than our best year possible?  Don't settle.  We can do better, now.

Don't settle

Now my friends and I are plotting and planning our own co-op program for next year.  Because if you have the courage to cut out what disappoints, you create space for something so much better!  I'm fairly bursting with ideas and trying to reign it in.  I love designing systems.  I'd love to orchestrate the whole thing!  But, well, I have this other job (hi, StitchedinColor!) and I'm loyal.  So, we'll keep it small and simple.  But, oh, the possibilities are exciting when you set yourself free!

Don't settle

I had the same sort of experience in the past week with my triangle quilt work-in-progress.  From the beginning, I struggled with the colors.  After putting up the triangles on a temporary design wall (batting push-pinned to the wall) I had to face facts - it wasn't something I'd be proud of making.  So, what the heck?  Remake it!  There's not only one way to layout triangles.  I tried them as diamonds, as zigzags and as hexagons.  Yay for design walls!  The morning after my brainstorm, the hexagons suddenly felt like the only true idea.  So there we are.  And now, I like it!  I really love it!  I think I'll be showing off the finished top tomorrow!

Which is all to say, we're all tempted to give less than our all, to settle for what's easy and obvious.  And sometimes that works just fine.  But..... but, if you're not happy, don't settle.  There's something better for you.  Be brave enough to cut it out.  Reimagine your life, better.


15 comments:

  1. Great post! And so very true! Settling is the easiest and sometimes easy works. Creativity isn't something you can force. It happens. Sometimes it takes time...but it happens. I'm excited to see your finished top!

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    1. So true - you can't force it! I think it's having the faith to keep looking that gets you there.

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  2. So true Rachel. I experienced something like this last year with my then 8yr.old. Struggling to learn to read, he just wasn't interested (amazing coming from our household!). But I got tired of fighting and realized that many, many children don't take to reading till 9 or 10. So I let it go for 4 or 5 months. And you know what, now he WANTS to learn :) Thanks for the great thoughts.

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    1. And that's the beauty of homeschooling, that we get to create our own path. I'm glad you found your groove in that situation! I have a budding writer whose least-favorite school subject is grammar/writing. I'm still searching for our "better" along those lines. As someone else said, it can't be forced and it does take time. But, when you find it.... Jump!

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  3. I hear you ... thanks for the nudge I needed :)

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  4. Thanks for the pep talk! You are sew right! And I love your quilt top, too!

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  5. This post is wonderful. I have a lot of conflicting thoughts involving continued progress versus stagnation from trying to make everything perfect. BUT, when I'm honest with myself, I know I sometimes let myself compromise when I should do more! I've bookmarked this post as a reminder not to let excuses get in my way. It'll also be nice to revisit your triangle quilt when I come back to this!

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    1. I let myself compromise sometimes too, Daisy. And it doesn't feel good. This post is as much a pep talk to myself to remember.

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  6. Thank you. I'm not sure why I feel like crying, but I'm sure it's a good thing:-)
    E xx

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  7. I could not agree with you more ! We are now entering our 4th year of home schooling our 14 year old son. We decided as a family, Jonathan included, that public school just was NOT working for him. They wanted to send him off to 5th grade, when he could not even understand 2nd grade math or read anything over a 3rd grade level book, not to mention his stress levels were so high that he was having thoughts that NO 4th grader should ever have. EVER. We chose something better. It was hard. He missed his friends. He missed lunch in the cafeteria, He missed recess. We had days that I cried , he cried, there was some yelling involved in the beginning. But guess what ? He learned that he LOVES reading ! He learned that he LOVES electronics and mechanics. I learned that unless we do math FIRST, before anything else, his brain has a melt down. I learned that my son is hysterical ! We, as a family, learned so much more.

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  8. So true!! We recently were moved to a new area for my husbands career and our son was miserable in the local school district. He would cry when I picked him up and the school was just dreadful! So I decided not to settle and searched and searched and found a wonderful Christian school. He is living it!! The down side is we have to drive him 40 minutes one way and have to now pay tuition but it's worth it! He's so happy now and he lives going to school. I'm so glad we decided not to settle!!

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  9. Thank you! I needed to hear that today. I've got blocks of a quilt sitting on my desk ready to be put together, but they just feel busy. I was going to do it anyway - just be done. Instead I think I'll cut some plain blocks and mix them in :)

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  10. I needed to be reminded of that this week, in more than one area. Thank you Rachel for being open and honest with us :)

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