Letting go of Perfection

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Everyone has a day like that. Everyone gets frustrated. Everyone gets angry. Everyone has a day where they just want to quit!

I used to have more of those days than good ones and I didn’t know why. I was struggling with my identity, struggling with my roles in life, struggling with selfishness and pride. I am a planner but not very good at executing the plan.

Not because I was lazy or unorganized but rather because something always seemed to come up. I would make lists. Organize materials. Prepare the kids, carve out time and then when the time came to do what was planned … Nothing! The kids would choose that moment to throw a fit, make a mess, get sick, fight and scream. You name it we’ve been there!

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It used to get to me, annoy me, anger me, depress me. But I’m learning and growing more comfortable with the art of letting go. It is after all an art and not a science. Knowing when something is worth the fight and when it just needs to be let go.

Some parenting gurus call it choosing your battle but its more then a battle. It’s a war with yourself. A war of expectations. A war between reality and fantasy. The fantasy or misunderstanding that there is such a thing as perfection. Or that there is only one way to do something.

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This is what school looks like in our family and it is not what I had planned. When I first started thinking about homeschooling I had this image in my mind of the children all sitting at the dining room table thinking great thoughts and discussing literature and science as an experiment bubbled in the kitchen. Where the house was cleaned, laundry finished or at least washing and we were all dressed. Then I started reading other homeschool blogs and realized that just doesn’t happen. So I began to think up a radically different school where my kids would spend hours everyday exploring the outdoors, digging in mud, creating collections as we read under trees.

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Somehow as wonderful as both of those sound they just are not us. Neither idea fits well with our family dynamic. My children love to play outside, they love to listen to stories but they also love to pretend and build. They are not great outdoors kinds of kids, they love to explore but don’t like to do it for extended periods of time… Unless its cold out, for some reason they love cold weather and dislike warm! So instead our days have become a hodgepodge mixtures of pjs, blocks, puzzles, and stories… or of computer games, field trips, outdoor observations and storytelling. We never really know what the day holds so we live each day looking for learning opportunities.

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I am trying to light the fires of curiosity and that requires an insane amount of creativity tailored to the learning styles and needs of each of my kids. So far this first month has had me scrambling to learn more about my kids. Some thrive in real world learning, some through exploration, some through reading, some through hands on activities and then next week it changes again! This is definitely a lifestyle choice. It’s not something that can be confined into a few hours of the day (although we only do structured school for about 2 hours a day). So here I am slowly learning the art of letting go. Living each day as its own. Carpe Diem.

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