Tuesday, February 04, 2014

I just might need a blue bike now. (and a giveaway!)

This post is part of the Blue Bike Blog Tour, which I’m thrilled to be part of. To learn more and join us, head here.

Several years ago, I chose the word "purposeful" as my word for the year. Living with purpose or intention is something I desire...but it does demand discipline. 

So when I heard Tsh Oxenreider begin to mention her new book (via her website and podcast), I grew quite excited about it. The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World? Count me in. When an opportunity arose to be a part of her blog tour, I jumped at the chance to read this book. I had a feeling it would resonate with me. 

And it did.

I have loved reading each short chapter, as Tsh focuses in on living intentionally memoir-style in these five areas: Food, Work, Education, Travel, and Entertainment.  I've loved it all. But in reading through the book, Part IV: Education really caught hold of me. 

We began our homeschooling journey before our oldest could even talk...I pored over homeschool catalogs and got excited about this high school curriculum or that one. Seriously. We knew we wanted to homeschool. One child at a time, one year at a time. That's what we said.

My homeschool ideals and vision for what our days would look like were lofty and beautiful.

To name just a few...I knew that homeschooling would provide a consistency in our life of military moving. I longed to spend quality and quantity time with my children. I looked forward to the ease we would have to travel anytime we chose to go.  I saw gaps in my own education and desired to fill those in that of my children. I wanted them to see how all of learning was integrated...a part of the whole and not compartmentalized by subjects and separate classrooms. I wanted them to learn about their world in the context of our faith. 

We are now five years and three children into this homeschooling journey.

Sometimes, there are moments when I look around our homeschool table as we work on grammar or while we're snuggled up on the couch reading a really good book and it's a perfectly dreamy instagram filtered moment. But those moments are still a part of the jumble of everyday real life.

In the midst of daily word problems and errands to the store and language delays and history timelines and dishes and laundry and cobwebs and meals and story time and pick-up football, all of a sudden those ideals and reasons seem lost or at least very far away.

I find that in the hard moments, quite often I'm trying to make our schooling choices match the beat of other drums. That, and I lose sight of the forest for the trees. 

Reading Tsh's book was a good reminder to me to not let go of the details but to keep my larger hopes and goals in better focus. I'm trying to journal more about school...and to be mindful of the "seasons" of schooling at home that can be heavy ones where I'm prone to feeling burned out. (Funny, those seasons are quite similar to the ones I experienced when teaching in the public schools!)

I'm also trying to keep in mind the freedoms for living intentionally that homeschool provides us. The other sections Tsh writes on only encouraged me more because of this!

Here are a few passages from Notes From a Blue Bike that I loved...that reminded me of why we began this journey and appealed to me not to forget it:

Ultimately, there was a magnetic appeal to having the freedom in my day to really listen to my kids instead of rushing them out the door to school. We'd have the time and space to learn together, talk together, and listen to each other. It was pretty ideal, in fact.

I'm convinced that parents are the most essential key to unlocking the next generation's curiousity, creativity, and innovation. So much can be said for porviding a home full of books, art supplies, open-ended toys, and freedom to wander outdoors. Being stingy with screen time and generous with our attention to a child's natural interests can translate the message to him or her that learning matters better than any standardized test.

Our home will be the most significant place during out kids' childhood. I can't ignore its influence.

I think that this book will be one that I read often. Tsh has such a great voice...when I read, I feel like I'm sharing a cup of coffee and chatting with an old friend. I hope you might enjoy it too! I'd like to give away a copy, so leave a comment, letting me know which of the five sections of the book you're most excited about! I'll draw a winner next Tuesday!

Notes From a Blue Bike is written by Tsh Oxenreider, founder and main voice of The Art of Simple. It doesn't always feel like it, but we DO have the freedom to creatively change the everyday little things in our lives so that our path better aligns with our values and passions. Grab your copy here.

I received a review copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers. This review reflects my own opinion. 
I am providing the giveaway copy because I really think you'll love Tsh's book too!


chambanachik said...

Both education and entertainment would be great to read. This book sounds awesome.

Anna Stover said...

Food and Travel. Curious about this book. And this year, am embracing the moments as they look right now. Can't imagine homeschooling, mostly my own fears- and my super extroverted oldest seems tough to keep home...

Stephanie said...

Not sure if I'm too late, but food and entertainment for me. Though they all sound good!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure why I didn't read this when you posted it, but apparently I'm just now getting around to it. I liked your thoughts on the book. It seems like at the beginning of every school year I go in with lofty hopes and dreams and goals and at the end of every year I just am hoping to survive.


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