Posted by: Tracy Barsamian Ventola | February 4, 2016

A Reminder of Why We Homeschool…

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Pretty regularly, I hear myself proclaiming (to myself and anyone who’ll listen), “it’s a great day to be a homeschooler!”.  And I believe this mantra from the bottom of my heart.  Everyday I feel lucky to be able to homeschool my children.  And the two 50 plus degree February days we’ve enjoyed in Boston this week were sweet little reminders of our great fortune!  While most people spent the days at their desks, we basked in the sunshine.  We spent Monday at the park with our homeschool friends and Tuesday the girls rode their bikes through the streets of our (deserted in the daytime) neighborhood.  These two beautiful days we experienced the palpable sweetness of homeschooling.  But I also received a harsh reminder this week of why we chose homeschooling three and half years ago.

Last week was really busy – beginning with a blizzardy weekend in Brooklyn, NY with family and ending with a farewell party for our dear friends who moved to North Carolina.  And then on Monday, we went to a SIXTY DEGREE homeschool park day (which was magical), and then we rushed home to pick up supplies for a 3pm appointment at the Lydian Center (which was wonderful).  And because we’d been out all day, I didn’t have time to make dinner, so we stopped at our favorite taqueria to pick up burriotos (which were delicious).  And since the taqueria is next door to our local used book store, we *had* to pop in there for a book or two (neither of which we’ve had a chance read, yet!).

We didn’t get home ’til after 5.  …And then all hell broke lose.  The little one lost her sh*t in a way that she rarely does.  She was screaming and crying, lamenting, “you wasted my time!  I didn’t get to play all day!”  I mean true, unbridled hysteria.  She crossed the line of sanity screaming things like “I don’t want to take a bath!” (umm…who said anything about a bath?).  And, “you don’t love me!” and “you never snuggle me!” (umm….what?  This kid is on my lap 50% of the day!).

My little girl had soul fever.  Soul Fever is what Kim John Payne describes as “the emotional equivalent of a physical fever.  When small (or large) stresses accumulate, you may find your child with a soul fever…They are ‘out of sorts’,  not at their best (and quite possibly at their worst) – and they may seem stuck in that frustrated state.  Kim suggests that we notice this and take it as seriously as a physical fever – slowing down, drawing the child near, suspending normal routine in order to give the child the calm and safe space to untangle their ’emotional knot’ – to return to their best, most balanced self.”  Simplicity Parenting Website

In hindsight, it’s clear that my big girl had soul fever for about four years (two years of preschool and two years of kindergarten).  And do you know what?  I’m equally sure that I had soul fever, too!  As Payne states, children need a calm and safe space to untangle their emotional knot.  But how can a mother with soul fever create that space?  Simple answer:  she can’t!  And so, soul fever became a way of life for my family.  Unattended, our soul fever grew more and more intense.  And that, my friends is why we homeschool.  We chose homeschooling as the ultimate simplification.  We chose homeschooling in order to slow things down, to draw our children near, and end the race we’d been running – and ultimately to create a calm and safe home in which our children can be their best, most balanced selves.

The other night, during my little girl’s meltdown, I felt that all too familiar knot starting to form in my stomach.  I remembered that when my big girl went to school I used to feel this knot every. single. day.  And I realized that my big girl experienced this same emotional pain and physical discomfort every. single. day.  She exploded daily in an attempt to release the tight knot in her belly.  At the tender age of three…four…five…six, my oldest child suffered from soul fever.  My heart aches at the memory.

And so, I am grateful every. single. day that we opted out of school.  And I’ll continue to shout my truth from the rooftops to anyone who’ll listen, “everyday is a great day to be a homeschooler!”.

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