Why Homeschool – Embracing Slow: Life Lessons From The Tortoise

Why Homeschool – Embracing Slow: Life Lessons From The Tortoise
Welcome to Inspiration Monday: ideas and discussion to greet your home learning week. This week, I’m starting a new series, celebrating the many and varied reasons to homeschool.  First off, a look at slowing down.

Last night, I began reading a new book, In Praise of Slowness, by Carl Honore.  Having only read the introduction, and the first chapter (attempting to take it slow – one chapter a day), I already find myself nodding along.  Slowing down the pace of life is one of the critical reasons we chose to homeschool.  In his book, Honore talks about a concept called, “time-sickness.”  That time is going too fast, and we’re always in a hurry to catch up.  The idea that there is never enough time, creates a sense of urgency and hurry that surrounds (and seeps into) one’s every day.

The counter suggestion Honore (and the growing Slow Movement) offer, is a conscious decision to slow down, and step out of the fast lane.  By allowing life’s little moments to embrace us, by becoming more aware of what is happening around us, by cherishing the small moments in our daily lives, we can learn to fully live.

I have this vision of the global slow movement, being led by homeschoolers around the world. Teaching others by their example, what it means to embrace life.  Because, I’m starting to realize that, at its core, homeschooling is a slow movement.  Now, anyone who has tried to homeschool multiple children on any given day, may think I am crazy or naive for saying this.  But, hear me out.

In his book, Honore speaks to Carl Petrini, originator of the Italian slow food movement.  This is the definition Petrini gives:

Being slow means that you control the rhythms of your own life.  You decide how fast you have to go in any given context.  If today,  I want to go fast, I go fast;  If tomorrow, I want to go slow,  I go slow. What we are fighting for is the right to determine our own tempos.

This rang out loud and clear to me.  As homeschooling families this is exactly what we are striving for.  Control of our own time.  Deciding when, and what we learn, and how we learn it.  But, also, and more critically, how we spend our time.

So, embracing slow, or simply filling our days differently?  However you look at it, homeschoolers are choosing how to spend their own time.  And choosing who to spend it with.  It is liberating, freeing and life-changing.

In our family, we embrace slow in many ways.  We limit our scheduled activities.  We rarely plan too far in advance.  We light a candle at dinner (which we share together).  I bring my camera everywhere; because I love photography, but also to remind me to notice the little moments and wonders of our days.  We’re starting to make more of our own food (yogurt, bread, granola).  My kids always help me cook.  We paint.  We read.  We listen to the wind in the trees.

Many days, I still feel overwhelmed.  And, I struggle to find a balance between too many activities, and finding things to keep us occupied (that sentence is telling – I am still a product of the times).  But, I am learning how to just “be” with my children.  To watch them initiate, and marvel at what they come up with.  To notice the moments – large and small.  To stop and smell the roses.

How about you?  How do you embrace slow?  Do you think it fits with the homeschooling lifestyle?  Any “slow-it-down” goals?

As for me – I think I’ll start by reading more poetry and riding more bicycle. 😉

We’re linking up with:








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  1. I love this post! I completely agree with you that homeschooling is a slow movement. Every day it becomes more and more clear to me how important it is to slow down and enjoy life. I strive to have as many days as possible be completely our own, we also make much of our own food (“convenience foods” are a rarity in our house), we love to make all sorts of things ourselves, and the best thing to me is spending time together as family.

    • Thanks, Susan. Even today, as I considered “slowness,” I was more content with my day, and more okay with getting less done, and enjoying the moments. Being home with my kids is truly such a blessing.

  2. Thanks for this – a good reminder that our success isn’t determined by how much we can “accomplish” on any given day. I tend to think that boredom is actually good for kids (and adults), as it frees the mind up to create and explore. It is definetely difficult in an overstimulated and overschedulted society to allow myself to slow down, but when I do I usually am much more content and in tune with my child’s rythyms.

    • So true. My “bored” child is doing experiments in the kitchen right now. I’m a bit scared to look and see what he’s creating… I agree with the contentment factor. I am always much more content when I let myself slow down. Sometimes, I can feel the weight lift, almost immediately. Thanks for your comments! =)

  3. A big part of our decision to home-learn next year is connected to the busyness of our lives. Why did we have children if we aren’t going to live with them? Rushing them around all of the time sucks. I find more & more that I am happy to just stay at home with them & our big goal is to go outside for at least 1 hour per day. I feel like the peace that will come with a home-based rhythm will be far better than the disconnection we now experience.

    • We’ve been aiming for that, too (1 hr a day outside – at least). We don’t always make it, but it ALWAYS makes our day better when we do. I know what you mean about the run-around. We had a fantastic home day today, and it made me remember why we’re doing it, too. When we get too busy, the drop-off, pick-up thing gets us so disconnected, so fast. And we don’t even do preschool or school! You should read “In Praise of Slow.” I got tons of inspiration from today’s chapter! =)

  4. I think you’re right about the homeschooling community being the forerunners of the slow movement. It also goes along really well with voluntary simplicity.

    The quote from Honore rang so true for me. It’s about taking control of your own schedule. We have cycles of going out a lot and doing a lot of things. Then we have long cycles of spending time at home and just spending hours talking. I think knowing you have that choice and not giving in to the pressures around you is key to living a full, rich life.

    • Yes, I know we’ve been moving towards simplicity in conjunction with our homeschooling adventure. I loved the quote, too. It made so much sense to me. The idea of taking control of our days, lives, and time. Today, we were slow, by choice. It was brilliant.


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