Maybe it's part of my emotional and feeling nature but I love for things in my life to be as gradual and organic as possible. The sudden change of plans and the brand new experiences - that life is stocked full of - are hard on my sensitive nervous system. So, whenever I can I work hard to provide an environment that can naturally produce certain outcomes. This act of self-preservation has provided some insight, especially in regards to my children and their development that I just LOVE!
It isn't rocket science or anything, but I think it bears notice in our cookie cutter world. When you surround someone with certain things, there will be a response. The nature and quality of things you surround them with will dictate the quality and nature of their response. Hang out with complainers and you'll find yourself complaining and unhappy. Work in a place with windows and a great view, you'll have a little better outlook on life. When it comes to kids and education, there are so many factors that can influence for good or bad that it behooves us to incorporate as much good as we can squeeze in!
No parent, relationship or educational journey is perfect and our family certainly has its weaknesses. Still, there are a few things that have had a really good effect on our family's development and education that I think are worth sharing.
Nature - Being outside, having the freedom to move outside, gardening, hiking, climbing trees, seeing mountains and waterfalls - all of this is so good for your body and soul. Besides the obvious vitamin D that is desperately needed for a healthy immune system, children are hard-wired to move and boxing them up for too long really does them a disservice. The great outdoors help us balance out where we get stuck. Can't focus? Go outside for a while. Difficult relating to other people? Go outside for a while. Whenever possible, there is always an outside element to whatever we are doing. From school to vacation, we plan to go outside and probably get dirty! That is definitely one of the perks of homeschooling.
Books - This might seem like a no-brainer to some, but I feel it is best when taken a step further. My kids have been doubly blessed because they have access to books and also have parents (namely their father) who read and appreciate books themselves. I have always loved to read, but it takes more diligence to fit it in these days. Mr. Butler though, always has his head in a book or listening to something on his commute to work. His relationship with books has nothing to do with the rest of us and speaks volumes to his kids. So far, the kids both consume books like their daily meals - just can't get enough! I know for some that reading a book for fun is like exercising for fun - it just doesn't compute. Still, both are incredibly healthy examples to set for our families AND to keep our brains young and active!
Learning - This is an extension of the last one. Mr. Butler is very abnormal (at least in my circles) in that he loves learning new things and loves to consume information. The more data the better! Add that to home being the location of school and learning anyway, the kids are constantly surrounded by various aspects of learning. When learning new things is a natural state of living, our brains, our relationships, even our moods can be enhanced. Sometimes the DIY or how-to videos the kids beg to watch get annoying, but it is evidence of their love of learning (and their nerdy father!).
Educating and raising kids is difficult at best. My conservative nature loves to find ways to cushion my path and I guess building these life aspects into our routines so that they aren't even options most days helps me relax! Plus, now that J is really diving into school, I can see the benefits all around me! I love that!