3 and a half weeks ago my family moved to a small town on an island in Alaska. Its beautiful and remote. We spent the previous six months in motion (fixing, finishing, selling, and packing a house) and in limbo (8 weeks in hotels and eating out). It feels incredible to be settled into our home and to know that we'll be here a while.
We were unpacked and settled in record time. It had something to do with being unstable for so long (and probably not being connected to the internet). As I looked around the house at bookshelves and cabinets full of games, books, kits, potential projects and art supplies, I was ready for school to begin.
But somewhere along the line I forgot the 7 keys to great teaching. No, that's not true. I didn't forget them, I just forgot how great it can be when they are applied. It all just slipped my mind. Thoughts (conveyor belt thoughts) have been sneaking into my head during quiet moments. Thoughts about testing, assignments, grade levels and requirements. Just enough to make me stress inwardly. My mind has been racing with all the things that should be done.
And all the while my life is moving slower than it has ever done before. I belong to no book clubs, math clubs, TJEd clubs. No church obligations, volunteer obligations and the phone doesn't ring. It's just me and my family.
Although my mind has been racing, my environment has been healing me. Slowly I'm coming out of the marathon my mind has been participating in and I'm realizing that it's time to stop and enjoy the journey.
This is Life. This is Family. This is Wonderful. I'm going to Enjoy it.
I don't need to recreate the life I just left. That will come in time and we'll be ready for it when it does.
So here's my A-HA moment: Remember the Six Month Purge and the Six Month No? Those had never been at the top of my list. I've always put more importance on the 6 Month Inventory. And maybe that was what I needed at the time. But this move may possibly be the biggest Six Month No and Six Month Purge ever.
And it has given our family exactly what we needed. More time together. A lot more. We all get up and have breakfast together before Dad leaves for work. He gets to come home for lunch most days. And our evenings and weekends are free to be together. Hiking, sledding, games, reading, cooking, talking, laughing, and bonding.
At this point you may think I'm suggesting you move to a remote island. And while that may be a good idea (and I'd love the company) ... it's probably not feasible. But think about trying a "No" and a "Purge". It may change your life.
You know what brought me around to this? I have another blog. A family blog. I've been writing about all of our adventures and the great time we were having as a family and I contrasted that with how I was feeling about education and our school life. It became strikingly evident that I was missing something. My family's education needn't be tied to testing, assignments, grade levels and requirements. I was worrying needlessly.
We've been given a gift. And I'm going to accept it.