lessons in folding


As I lay down on the bed one afternoon amid the unfolded laundry, my little Johanna came in. "Can I help?"

She made herself comfortable on the bed and began what seemed to me as a "clothes-folding reality show" where she described in fine detail what she was doing with each piece of clothing.  It was quite cute and amusing.  And just when I thought she had "helped" enough and was bored, she would turn and start a new pile.

This was a beautiful moment that went on and on and on.

I watched her over and over delicately fold and pile.  She, with no help from me, decided to pile the clothes by size.  If she had just finished folding a mommy shirt, she would look down at her pile, pick up the items that appeared smaller in size, place the mommy shirt down on the pile, and top with the remaining smaller clothing.  Her piles were absolutely perfect.

It was fascinating for me to watch her four year old mind work.  She freely moved, gaining greater confidence with each item she carefully placed.

I've had quite a few questions lately about why and how we homeschool from interested parents.  To you I would say for these exact moments.

I struggle with the word homeschooling because it connotes a transplanting of the public school--the pencil, paper, textbook, and desk--to the home .  We chose homeschooling because we wanted a different lifestyle.  I see glowing moments of our decision throughout our day.  The concept of learning is in everything my children touch.  We talk and read and get in the car and go places and explain and draw and write and observe.  There is a freedom my children have that allows learning to flow, with or without a book, in the real world.

It has taken some time (and stills does at times) to think outside of the public school mentality.  I see what I want my children to become well beyond academics.  The kind of citizens I want them to be, the kind of heart I want them to have, the kind of mothering skills I want them to love, and on and on the list goes.  The thirty minutes of a four year old folding was priceless.  I saw her focused attention on the task and her ability growing.  I saw her learning a new skill she is ready for.  I saw her radiate when Daddy was brought in to witness her beautiful handiwork.

Our days aren't perfect.  But we move and flow as a family, based on our different needs and desires.  I have come a long way from fearing being different in choosing homeschooling to feeling more solid in what is working for our particular family.  We change as we need it, adding structure at times or letting go of too much of it when we are overwhelmed.  The happy balance is always the goal and the peacefulness in our days is the biggest indicator of how well we've arrived.

And so our days go, carrying the trust and peace we feel inside as we move forward leading four little girls into the big, wonderful world.

the sleepy time gal