Because we're always on the lookout for ways to increase focus, decrease stress, and encourage positive interactions in our home we encourage doing things with intention. Working daily on the habit of mindfulness supports this goal.
As a homeschooling family, we're busy enough. No need to add to our already full plates. Together, we strive to incorporate mindfulness practices into the framework of things we are already doing.
Accomplishing Mindfulness Each Day
So how do we accomplish this daily? Well, the truth is we don't. At least not every day. We do trust that each time we can bring ourselves and the children to a more mindful state, we are developing brain connections. Perfection is unrealistic and striving for it will only serve to disappoint. Rather, we seek to be present and appreciate each success along the way. Our goal? Make a positive change in their emotional intelligence.
Are you wondering what mindfulness looks like in our homeschooling family? Here are a few ideas that we were able to incorporate yesterday.
1. Mindfulness at Breakfast With a Side of History
We have been reading the book Twenty and Ten from our Level K BookShark package.This book talks about food insecurity and the use of rations during World War II. As the story unfolds, the children share a piece of chocolate. They know that it may be their last for months to come.
During our own breakfast, we talked about expressing gratitude for the food we eat. We contemplated what it would be like if we had to divide one of our breakfast plates between the whole family. Taking this time to pause and reflect brought the lesson from Twenty and Ten to life.
2. Mindfulness During Science Lessons
Later in the day, our science lesson focused on organs of the human body. As we talked about the role of the lungs, we took a few seconds to focus on our breathing. This was a natural fit in our discussion. We paused to feel the difference between taking in deep breaths through our mouths or taking a deep breath through our noses. Then, we compared the difference between exhaling through our noses versus our mouths.
3. Mindfulness for the Homeschool Mom
The last example is personal work for myself. We live in Wisconsin and are smack in the middle of our notoriously long winter. The cold weather isn't my favorite time of the year.
Since my children need to be outdoors, I want to honor and encourage them in this. The cold air does not seem to slow them down one bit.
I, on the other hand, often find myself counting down the minutes until I can go back inside my warm house. While playing outside with my children last night, I could feel my toes and cheeks growing cold. I knew that focusing on this was not serving the children or me in that moment.
I stopped the thought and chose instead to take a visual picture of the experience the children were having at that moment. My daughter was building a sculpture from pieces of hard snow. My son was shooting himself down a pile of snow in pure delight.
I brought myself to a place of full presence in the moment. This included both the emotions of joy and the sensations of the cold. Our last minutes outside together were spent much more positively.
Mindfulness in Our Homeschool Isn't a Burden
The various ways I've shared that we've used mindfulness in our home didn't increase our homeschooling workload. Rather, they offered a new way to experience the moment while we were in it. My goal is to continue to offer these opportunities for emotional intelligence growth for my own family. As you journey through your homeschool day, are there moments you can seize to increase the skill of mindfulness in your own home?
About the Author
Jennie Arcand-Johnston is deep in the throes of having very little figured out and embracing the journey. Her children, ages 6 and 2, are wonderful little creatures with an infinite amount of patience for her. Jennie started homeschooling her daughter using BookShark PreK and is now using BookShark Level K. Jennie says, “How very easy it was for me to go into other families' homes and provide support, direction, and encouragement on their parenting as an in-home therapist. How quickly I realized upon having my own children all of the support, direction, and encouragement I needed of my own. Every day! This parenting life is a daily splash in the face of the constant need to re-evaluate what works, what is making people happy, and what to let go.”