Tuesday 4 July 2017

The Summer 2017 Mountain Series Episode 2: Take Time to Acclimatise

This summer series about homeschooling was inspired by my recent family trip to the mountains, and will be added to weekly. Be sure to subscribe by leaving your email in the right-hand menu bar, or “like” our Facebook page to get updates posted directly to your timeline.

Whether you're brand new to educating your children at home, or finding yourself at a transition phase such as secondary school, there is a period where you'll be tempted to rush when actually you need to take it slowly and ease into it

I think this period is like our mountain trip when we arrived at our condo and found that it was over 10,000 feet.

High Condo - Waiting for Adventure

For native Texans who live at at 496 feet above sea level, this was a real challenge to our systems. We felt like all the descriptions of acclimatising for Everest - sinuses dry out, tummies get rumbly, headaches abound, breathless, listless.

These are warning signs that we were now in a place that are bodies were struggling to maintain normal function.

After a terrible night's sleep (another effect of altitude), we decided to see how far we could climb up the mountain in view of our balcony - Kuchina Peak.

Kuchina in our sights

Long story short, we ran into two problems: first was our unfamiliarity with the terrain (this will be the subject of the next blog post!), and the other was, no matter how fit and experienced we were with hill-climbing at sea level, we just weren't ready to tackle the exertion at 12,000 feet higher.

Some of us had headaches, malaise, nausea: all symptoms of altitude sickness! They told us that we needed to get back down a little lower and wait till our bodies were more accustomed to the thinner air.

Not ready for prime-time mountain climbing!

However, by the end of the week, we were able to climb not only it but its higher valley-mate, Wheeler Peak: New Mexico's highest mountain at over 13,000 feet. That was because we waited to get used to the elevation, and meanwhile, made sure we prepared a little at a time.

So as you're hitting transition periods in your home-educating journey, just keep in mind that rushing it is probably a poor idea. You'll find yourself ill-prepared and perhaps even in danger - if not in terms of your health, then probably in terms of your purse!

What am I suggesting instead? Take your time. Research. Read through Rainbow Resources detailed catalogue with lots of reviews by homeschoolers for any curriculum you're thinking of buying. Have a look at last year's Series 1  about starting out home-ed where I encourage you to take a look at your values and your aims, and above all remember this: if you are starting home-ed from scratch and have removed a child from school, you both need to deschool first.

The reason you deschool is this: going to school is putting yourself under an institution and there are rules and requirements and expectations that have become second-nature to you, most of which have nothing to do with one's real desire and aptitude for learning. Motivation often needs rediscovering; self-directed exploration of interests has almost certainly been dampened down; realising that one can find curiosity and something intriguing to delve into further 24/7, 365, and yet, it rarely requires 6 hours a day of sitting at a desk.

There is a big world out there, but if you're transitioning, then I would suggest putting your feet up and getting used to the new, rarefied air.

Take Time to Contemplate the View

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Suggestions, ideas, tweaks, or maybe you're just a happy Dreaming Spires student who wants to leave some encouraging words! Thanks for posting! Kat