Friday, April 28, 2017

Resting and Creating Margins in Homeschooling & Life - Friday Foto Friends

Today I'm joining Deb for Friday Foto Friends. Come join us and share your photos!


This week I'm looking at resting and creating margins in one's life and in homeschooling. This one was of the themes that came up in a couple of workshops that I attended last week at a homeschool conference.

When I think of rest, I think of our dogs and cats.

Aspen coming home after being adopted
from Northwoods Humane Society.
(Taken on May 12, 2014.)

They know when to rest and do so throughout the day and night.

Eenie hugging Lucy while he is sleeping.
(Taken on November 14, 2007.)

Children, too, will easily fall asleep after a full day of activity and learning.

Sophia sleeping after spending a day exploring Duluth.
(Taken on September 2, 2008.)

Sometimes just short periods of rest are all that are needed to feel more alert and ready to tackle the day.

Olivia sleeping in the car.
(Taken on February 26, 2014.)

This week we had an unexpected emergency on Monday. While I was bringing back Olivia from gymnastics on Monday, I called Sophia to let her know we were on the way home. She said that Eenie had jumped down off the window ledge and was yowling like she's never heard him before.

To make a long story short, we had to take him to the emergency vet about 40 minutes away where they gave him pain medication and did x-rays. He has a broken scapula.

Eenie resting at home after breaking his scapula and
being treated for it.
(Taken on April 25, 2017.)

After some very serious options proposed by one doctor (including amputation), he emailed the x-rays to a surgeon who recommended a less invasive procedure: wrap the shoulder area; let Eenie rest for a month and restrict his movement; and the scapula should heal on its own.

Rest and heal.

It's essentially the same diagnosis I got a few weeks ago after falling down some stairs and having all the toes on my left foot turn underneath themselves. One of the toes is particularly sore and the foot still swells after being on it...and this is 1 1/2 months later.

Nothing is broken or dislocated. It's a soft-tissue injury. What the doctor essentially told me to do: rest, stay off the foot, and let it heal on its own. It can take 2-3 months.

So, this theme of resting...slowing down...creating margins in one's life for unexpected issues is very relevant this week.

Simple Homeschool said, "It can be particularly tempting for homeschoolers to fill up the empty spaces in our days. We feel like we have more time, so we should be doing more. We want to participate in every worthy endeavor, to squeeze the last drop out of every learning opportunity.

"Yet I know something now that I didn’t know back [then]...clean margins are essential to making a legible document, and also to creating a nurturing home life."

Cleaning the pasture.
(Taken on September 25, 2011.)

"We need unhurried free time built into our family lives in order to foster true connection."

The girls at my parents' home on Halloween.
(Taken on October 31, 2008.)

"We need margins in our schooling–unhindered time to wonder and explore and ask. That time gives our young learners the space to span the gap between book knowledge and real, internalized understanding."

The girls by a replica sod house in Walnut Grove, Minnesota,
where Laura Ingalls Wilder lived.
(Taken on June 12, 2012.)

In creating a life that has margins - that extra space to develop stronger relationships, to learn more deeply, and to rest - we have to hold tight onto the things that we value and let go of the things that don't support these goals.

What does that look like in practice? For our family, similar to those mentioned on Simple Homeschool, these are some of the things that matter:

Family Meals

Sometimes breakfast and lunch are eaten at different times now that the girls are older and appetites vary. However, dinner is one meal where we all eat together.

Having a Sunday Dinner with extended family to
celebrate Mother's Day and my sister's birthday.
(Taken on May 12, 2013.)

When I was growing up we had a "Sunday Dinner" which usually was a more substantial meal eaten in the middle of the afternoon - around 2 or 3 p.m. Sometimes we would have a snack in the evening, but often times we weren't hungry. I'd like to get back to doing that during these final years of the girls' education.


When my parents were living, we would make time to visit them regularly. Even now that both have died, gathering with my sister and brother, and their families for holidays is very important.

Celebrating Christmas with extended family.
(Taken on December 25, 2016.)

Family should come first. It is a priority.

Free Time

After homeschooling is done for the day, the girls are free to explore their own interests - through play, reading, baking, quilting, needlework, painting, music, or even watching movies.

The girls swinging on the swing set.
(Taken on September 29, 2007.)

This changes each year. It's been fun to watch how their interests have changed and developed.

Real-Life Learning

For our family, this has meant volunteering - short-term and long-term commitments. Our two main focuses for long-term volunteering are at the nursing home and at the humane society.

We also take field trips either on our own or with our 4-H club.

Olivia and Sophia at the Weismann Art Museum.
(Taken on January 12, 2017.)

Taking vacations also has been a wonderful way to learn.

Family Traditions

We try to make holidays - both small and big ones - memorable times for each of us.

St. Patrick's Day dinner.
(Taken on March 17, 2009.)

There also are things we do each year that aren't tied into a holiday, like going to the apple orchard each Fall.

Olivia feeding one the goats at the apple orchard.
(Taken on September 17, 2015.)

Planting a vegetable garden each Spring and harvesting produce from it through the Summer and Fall.


Having predictable, dependable times that we spend as a family strengthens relationships and provides comfort.

It also allows for time to handle emergencies or unexpected activities that present themselves in our lives.

This past week was unusual for us. We had days that had nothing scheduled outside of the home. Seeing these free days where we could spend the day at home doing homeschooling and catching up on projects we've wanted to do was something we were looking forward to.

With Eenie's injury, rush to the emergency vet, and medical management at home (essentially meaning round-the-clock oversight of him) - it's different than what we anticipated. However, had we had our week so booked that there was no margin it - we would have found it quite challenging to deal with Eenie.

Eenie sleeping on Tuesday after coming back
from the emergency vet.
He broken his scapula on Monday when
he jumped down from a window ledge.
(Taken on April 25, 2017.)

So, as I look to planning the summer and upcoming year, intentionally blocking out these margins of time is a goal. Before adding activities to our schedule, I will be asking two questions:
=> Does this activity support our family and deepen relationships?
=> Does this activity help the girls' educational goals and eventual future college and career plans?

If I can answer "yes" to either one or both of these questions, then it will be a worthwhile activity to add to the calendar.

1 comment:

Rita said...

So true. You need time to catch your breath and relax or you never really learn what you are drawn to repeatedly in your down time. Was a great post with all the pics of the girls over the years. I pray Eenie will be resting and healing well. :)