Friday, February 20, 2015

we homeschool because we can't homestead

I complain all the time that we can't be farmers. It would be good for the kids, I say. They need more chores, I say. My dad got up at four every morning to milk cows . . . 

I am a broken record. I know we will never be farmers. A garden. Maybe chickens. Maybe.

One of the biggest reasons I think we and the whole world ought to return to an agrarian lifestyle, is for the rhythm. Our bodies are meant to adapt with the seasons. We were never meant to function at a consistent, forty-hour pace. 

Jim is an engineer. He gets up at five and catches the six-thirty train and returns home at five, every single day. This is the way most jobs function. 

Consider the days of my grandparents, who were dairy farmers. There were very early mornings, every single day. There were no vacations or weekends or holidays. Spring and Fall were intense seasons when they worked until long after dark. But these seasons are naturally invigorating. Our bodies want to move in spring.

Then, there was winter. There was a natural season of rest, while the earth rests. This was a time for working with your hands.

Our bodies are meant to live according to the seasons, and my kids prove to me this is true. I have experienced it enough now to see that every year this happens: they naturally want to hibernate.

This time of year we become so still and quiet and small. It may take a few weeks, there is some resistance, a little boredom at first. But by now, deep into winter, we have established this deep, slow rhythm which feels so restorative and natural and good.

We didn't leave the house all week. It was a break week for our co-op. And below zero. And then the car wouldn't start. And it was lovely. 

We did our lessons, we sipped tea, we baked. There was a lot of playing and reading. We didn't hurry. I asked the girls if they'd like to have friends over to play and this week, they said no. Their friendship with each other is forged in these cold months. We are in a rhythm of quiet and creativity and play, an underwater place, and that is enough for now. 

Soon we will begin to grow restless. Spring will awaken in our bodies before we feel it in the air. Our schedule will pick up again. 

This is what I love about homeschool- freedom to live in the seasons. We work we play we rest. In winter, we hibernate.

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