Nadine Dyer and her two kids are living a big, juicy homeschool life above a rowan tree in Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Up Above the Rowan Tree, she talks all about her journey as a homeschooler, especially her experience using the Secular Charlotte Mason method.
“There are moments of joy that definitely outweigh the difficulty, but I was completely unprepared for how hard it was. I don’t feel that enough people mention that part.”
When Nadine first started homeschooling, she wishes she knew how difficult it would be – and how rewarding those hard days would be when her children overcome an obstacle.
When we see our homeschooling communities on social media, we are often looking at the bright red berry moments in a dark winter. We sometimes forget that, behind those bright moments, there are days, weeks or even months of challenges.
“One of the scariest things that I’ve done as a homeschooler is saying I need to back off. That didn’t feel intuitive to me. That didn’t feel natural to me. It made me feel like somehow I was neglectful if I didn’t just keep pushing and prodding.”
We also forget that children can offer us a lot of insight into their experience, if we’re willing to act on what they say and not just talk them out of it.
Nadine has tackled her biggest home education challenges by giving herself permission to slow down, offering her kids the control and trusting in that process.
One of the things I love to advocate when we talk about the Brave Writer lifestyle is imagining what would nourish a sense of commitment to education. Is it freedom, is it one-on-one time, is it eye contact, is it a treat, is it feeling like this space is intended for a specific purpose?
Too often we’re juggling 12 balls at once and we want our kids to exclude all the distractions or just get it done so we can move on with our day, and we don’t consider what it is that we’re asking them to do. We don’t set the context.
To add context to a difficult subject, Nadine really embraced Teatime. It became something that she wasn’t forcing because there were no worksheets or quizzes. It was just sitting, enjoying, reading and talking together. It became such a positive connection for her kids that she started putting down tea and snacks right before their math lessons.
“[Teatime] became this thing that they connected with calmness and safety and there was not a lot of pressure. Anytime I need them to do something difficult or challenging I make a pot of tea or a pot of hot chocolate and we will do whatever it is that’s hard, while we sip tea, because everything's better when you’re sipping on tea.”
Nadine was first introduced to Charlotte Mason while reading The Writer’s Jungle. She saw pushback to the Charlotte Mason ideology, but those ideas were also what worked for her kids and brought peace to her home.
It works for her family and, ultimately, the goal of homeschooling is for a tailor-made education directed by a real human being.
Nadine has a wonderful blog and Instagram account. Follow her to learn more about how she is using the Charlotte Mason methodology to craft a unique homeschool experience for her family and how the Brave Writer lifestyle has helped her overcome family challenges.
You can download show notes for the podcast here: http://blog.bravewriter.com/category/podcasts/