Home as a Sacred Space of Learning

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learning

Turning my home into a preschool and a space of learning was not on my radar in any way shape or form before March.

In fact, I’ve spent most of my time figuring out how to get consistent help with the kids, so that I could run my budding holistic health practice. You know, the practice where I coach OTHER people how to reduce stressors, increase resilience and practice self-care. All the while, it is perfectly acceptable for MY family to be running around on the brink of over-stimulation.

I love when life gives humbling lessons. And then gives opportunities to reflect on such lessons.

Covid-19 has offered this for my family.

My practice has been minimized, but the love of learning, self-care, integrating with and being stewards for our environment has been maximized.

Here is how I have used this time and turned our home into a space of sacred learning, in just two months.

Create Space + Organize Space

I turned our family room into our homeschool room. This means I took a desktop computer, used for educational videos, set up tables and stations. I created easy access shelves for the free play toys, and organized the toys that needed more structured supervision out of reach.

I wanted the kids to feel free to explore and that they had a space that was all their own. From my background in yoga and Ayurveda, the first 5 years of children’s lives is when their subconscious programming is being created. The ability to feel safe, free and welcome is such an important value I have for them.

Routine

I have spent the last year working at the girls’ preschool a few hours a week. I have learned SO MUCH from these dear early childhood educators and from the children themselves.

Mostly, it’s that children thrive when they have a general understanding of the layout of the day. They love freedom, with boundaries.

Structure Through Workbooks

I think that penmanship is such an important skill, even with computers. There is also a meditative aspect to writing and I aim to increase my child’s attention span with these rote activities (hello, neuroplasticity!).

The books we’re using for this are from Learning Without Tears. We literally spend 10 minutes a day on this. Just enough for practice.

At this age, my two year old likes to just scribble on everything. I get her books from the dollar store and she feels like she’s learning right along with my four year old.

We stick to the habit, from the preschool, of a ‘letter of the week’ and work on phonics based reading. My grandmother and mother have ALL the tools for this from their years of tutoring dyslexia, so this part came naturally and both children learn. We use AlphaBlocks on YouTube to help reinforce (and to give me a break).

We build on the reading using these simple black and white booklets from Reading for All Learners. I let my 4 year old take the lead, my only rule is we must read three each night. Sometimes we read on the couch, front porch, trampoline. All that matters is that we try.

While my oldest and I read at night, my husband takes the two year old and she chooses a couple of books. They both get one-on-one time and it only takes a few minutes.

Lastly, we use Horizons Math workbook. Honestly, in some ways it’s silly. But I like knowing we are discussing these concepts each day. We use props like dominoes, the abacus and a learning clock. Each of which I’ve acquired, one by one, from Amazon or other families (thank you, Facebook Marketplace!). Again, this is just a few minutes of our day.

Loving Our Environment

I like to include environmental lessons as part of daily life. So we’ve created, and continue to improve upon, a garden. We have chickens which give us our daily eggs, provide composting material and LOVE to eat our food scraps. We also have a compost bin.

Partaking in the care of each of these naturally instills in the children lessons of being good stewards of the earth and understanding the circle of life.

Following Their Lead

So often, the learning that is going on in our home doesn’t feel like learning. The other day we were discussing sheep. Which led to the conversation of clothing. So we watched YouTube videos of how to sheer sheep, make wool, and where cotton came from.

Kids are naturally curious. Fostering this has been one of the greatest joys of the past couple of months.

I want my kids see the sacred aspect of asking questions, investigating and discovering. All the while maintaining values of being your brother’s keeper, keeping the body healthy and acting with loving kindness.

While these have all been values before, it has been this crash course in creating a space of learning that has allowed us take actionable steps into letting our values guide how we act in the world.

Being a parent isn’t easy. Being a parent who has gone through Covid-19… I’d like to think the challenge is building character in all of us.

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