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Will You Let Your Kids Out to Play?

Will You Let Your Kids Out to Play?

Yesterday I took the dog for a walk in a small wood near our house. The path was barely there—overgrown with brambles that tore at my jeans and green hand-me-down vest. I breathed in the cold air, glad to finally be walking on something besides manicured lawn or asphalt.

Everything seemed to be sleeping under the dusting of snow. The twigs snapping under my boots nearly echoed. After a few steps, a big, brown owl took flight in front of us and glided further up and further in to the trees.

Piper, a novice at hiking, hesitated to make his way through the thorns, but bounded forward once I called him. I could see that this dog, who shakes with anxiety when we travel, was morphing into the puppy whose senses are bombarded with everything that’s new and exciting. He wanted to sniff it all.

Piper’s not busy like that inside. In our old house, he’d silently sleep the days away upstairs in a dark corner of a deserted room. Up there, it was warm and lonely, with little sensory input.

Sometimes our kids are like that. We want them to have tidy, full resumés for college. We want them to achieve and not make a scene. So we sign them up for every organized activity under the sun, planning their days, and tucking them away in safety until they turn 18.

In pursuit of these goals, we subordinate their senses, their creativity, their very freedom.

We still have a lot to do today: things to unpack, things to organize, and things to clean. Like my friend Sally said, it’s enough to make me want to BURN ALL THE THINGS. So yes, my girls are currently cleaning their room, and my son will help unpack garage boxes later, but right now he’s building a snow fort with the neighbor kids who have trickled out of doors.

Sometimes vitality is easy to facilitate: like saying “Yes,” or venturing off the asphalt. Sometimes it takes more effort, like the hour it’ll take to put gloves and boots on the girls this afternoon. But every second of joy in the snow will be worth the effort.

How can you help your kids awaken their senses today? What can you say “Yes!” to? What doors can you open? What mess can you allow? What freedom can you give? Won’t you let your kids come out and play?

Rhiannon Kutzer

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Nice to meet you!

I’m Rhiannon.

You can call me Rhi for short (as in “rejoice”). I’m a fiercely independent homeschooling mom of five, a Navy wife of 13 years, and a creator of various things: articles, a semi-regular newsletter, quilts, furniture, and the occasional knitted scarf. This is the site where I write about our homeschool journey and news and happenings in the homeschool world. more about me.

Rhiannon

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Need a shot in the arm for your homeschool? Get Thrive Together, a monthly email that brings you:

--the best of the homeschool blogosphere,
--current homeschool news,
--and great quotes that will refresh your homeschool mama mind.

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  • Morning Time Details! E. (12), S. (almost 8), and L. (6). Our Morning Time morphs as the kids grow and change. It usually includes a combination of memory work and reading aloud. We try to cover a WHOLE LOT of things: Shakespeare, Bible, poetry, catechism, hymns, timeline, art study, composer study, and Ambleside selections for nature study, tales, and church history. This term I’m adding Plutarch.
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The hard part is figuring out where I want to aim, with the 5-year gap between E. and S., and then L. being a newbie to full-on school. Having moved twice in 2019, I nixed MT and just focused on individual work. That came with costs. Shakespeare, Plutarch, art study, and composer study suffered. Memory work barely happened at all. I was BUSY. We missed out on discussing things together. Now that we’re settled, it’s time to restart MT.
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This term I’ve decided to aim Shakespeare and Plutarch at the oldest, while the girls listen in and do handwriting/drawing/fine motor. I won’t ask them for much narration. Our reading schedule for these is AMBITIOUS. Maybe crazy. Then we’ll do all the memory & read aloud stuff that suits everyone. These lessons are SHORT. Then E. will go do his individual work while I read aloud w/ just the girls.
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Also, “Morning Time” is a misnomer, considering we break it up throughout the day. It should really be called Morning/Lunch/Nap Time. I need a new name. Circle Time? Except we don’t sit in a circle. Together school? Except we’re together doing school all day. I don’t think English has the word I’m looking for. Maybe Tertulia or Salon?
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Our actual coursework is: the Scottish Play, Plutarch is Alexander the Great’s life, our artist is Gustave Courbet, composer is Paganini, Bible memory is Psalm 46, Hymn is Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me, read alouds will rotate from Burgess Bird Book, Trial and Triumph, Blue Fairy Book, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Vanderbeekers, & picture books. Timeline is from Classical Conversations. Poems are Charge of the Light Brigade, Winter Night by Teasdale, and The Land of Nod.
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Whew! It’s gonna be a fun term! What do you guys do for Morning Time?
  • #homeschool #family #weekend projects. Oldest got through a CPR course, curtains are hung, first batch ever of hard apple cider is bottled (a big learning experience!), and Morning Time for the next term is planned. 👊🏻 Time to call Dominos so these people can get fed 😂
  • Oh Halloween. That day when I pull costumes out of thin air at T-minus one hour ‘till trick-or-treating. Then one kid melts down in the middle of the fun, and is carried screaming to the car, with me hoping all the while that no one thinks I’m abducting a child. And, my favorite non-PC thought: one kid suggests we should have dressed as hobos, since we’re going around asking people to give us free candy. Phoned it in this year, Kutzers. 🤦🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️ #gladitsover For the record, we had a soccer player, an archer, Spider Girl, a princess, a tiny farmer, a witchy mom (Is that even a costume or just a Thursday?), and Bat Dad.
  • We may not get school started until 8 or 9, but we eat well while we read. “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life.” I think the house smelling like bacon counts as atmosphere. 😂🥰
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#homeschool #charlottemasonirl #homecookedmeals #livingbooks
  • A husband out to sea. A solo drive to and from MT. A freak snowstorm in September. Unpacking, appointments, and homeschooling, cooking and cleaning, laundry and loneliness without my better half and my biggest helper. All so that a grandson can learn from and adventure with his grandpa. I call it a RAGING SUCCESS.💛🥰 #family #navywifelife #homeschool #worldschool #bravewriterlifestyle
  • #pcs day 5 = #HOME (hallelujah!) 😊 and delicious homemade chili from the amazing @mythirdacrelife It was a long 3000 miles, but everyone made it here alive, if a little less sane than when we drove out of CT. #navyfamily #navywife #roadschooling #homeschool

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