10 Days till Spring
Heading out for three weeks of homeschool in Costa Rica, a read aloud, closing thoughts on winter.
We’re packing up to spend three weeks homeschooling in Costa Rica. We’re very excited. Remote work for Joe, leaning on the fact that Costa Rica boasts flawless fiber internet in many remote areas. Joe and I have a little experience with this type of work-and-travel and the majority of the adjustment load is definitely carried by the one who sets up to work in a smaller, hotter living space with much less buffer for noise during meetings!
And just general homeschool for the girls, though by that I really mean the ten yr old, because the eight & six yr old will not be doing all that much beyond the natural learning that comes with living in a new place. I plan for us to have different focuses for those few weeks—Spanish of course, nature studies about Costa Rican animals, significantly less book work: no typing, no app-guided piano, no grammar, spelling, handwriting (mostly because I don’t want to pack those curriculums).
Still plenty of reading and reading aloud, and any online classes they are enrolled in will continue as usual, if with a more attractive zoom background. I will bring enough paper for the eight yr old to keep taking the drawing classes on outschool that she is really enjoying right now, the fashion & figure drawing classes run by Young Art. Referral link for $20 credit toward a class.
I am loading up a kindle for the oldest who will miss her stacks of books. We are giving kindle unlimited a try; I have yet to be impressed, but I’ll let you know if we find many gems on there.
I’m also packing a new deck of sleeping queens and a bag of scrabble tiles, small things that can induce lots of play when needed.
A Book Lately...
I’ve been reading Treasures of the Snow aloud to the ten and six year old. It’s such a sweet meandering story, with just enough plot to balance out the extensive descriptions of life and the seasons in Switzerland. At one point one of the girls said “What is this about?” which made me laugh because it is definitely written from a different time. A time when not every sentence was meant to propel a character or plot forward, but instead some sentences were written to describe and cheer one’s spirit with words. Imagine that!
The secret that my listeners haven’t suspected yet is that book is about forgiveness. We’ve gotten to the point in the book where something terribly sad has happened and the girls have basically written off one of the characters as a horrible human who is not worth a penny of their care. Something about the read aloud experience made me realize how harsh and abrupt their judgement was; I’m glad we can keep reading to discover that even this human is worth God’s love.
Closing Thoughts on Winter
So I can bid goodbye to winter a bit early, after over four months of it. It’s been bright, and cozy, and restful and long. There have been many days when I longed to rest outdoors and missed the grass and the sun and the sound of leaves in the wind. At the end of four months of summer, we have to say goodbye to summer full stop. But at the end of four months of winter, it still lingers, and reaches. Even today we had enough warmth to melt off most of the snow revealing from beneath its clear icy nethers—fields of brown smashed grass.
But it’s a nice time to say we did a good job at winter this year. Those of us who could sleep-in, did. I wore my pair of bright blue thrifted snow overalls a lot and bought really warm boots and found myself to be warm enough outside for hours at a time. I read books and instigated a book exchange amongst my instagram followers, giving one stranger’s address to another, all from a pool of about sixty willing participants. For whatever reason I took great pleasure in learning these human’s addresses. As if—yes! They are real people, look, here’s their address. It felt very intimate.
I’m very thankful to a friend who spent the time needed to organize a homeschool ski day at a ski hill nearby. One of those things that sounds so simple but it took a lot of back and forth on her part, and then she had to convince us all to do it, answer emails, connect the dots, etc. It ended up being really fun, all the kids got better at skiing and the parents had a little time to talk together and we were outside for hours every Friday.
I share this to say: if you have the instinct to plan something like this, anything seasonal really, for your community, do it.
a Substack App
The service I use to write this newsletter now has an app! So, if you subscribe to many substack newsletters, you can now read them all in one place, when you feel like it. Pretty fun. Longer posts will never cut-off by your email app. Comments and rich media will all work seamlessly. Overall, it’s a big upgrade to the reading experience.
I subscribe to Design Mom, David Leibowitz, Younga Park, Yolo Travel, Bridget Hunt…the app is going to be convenient for those times when I’m ready to curl up!
And a quote for you…
Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives. Such striving may seem admirable, but it is the way of foolishness. Help them instead to find the wonder and the marvel of an ordinary life. Show them the joy of tasting tomatoes, apples and pears. Show them how to cry when pets and people die. Show them the infinite pleasure in the touch of a hand. And make the ordinary come alive for them. The extraordinary will take care of itself.
-William Martin, Do not ask your children to strive
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Header photo of a Korean coffeeshop from this blog.
Have a fabulous time remote homeschooling in Costa Rica! The ability to just up and relocate for a bit is one of the things I love about homeschooling. Also, the poem you shared is beautiful.
I would love to read your thoughts about your Costa Rica stay after you have processed them! Challenges and lovely parts of taking four to another country. Be well!