Yesterday I gave an overview of my plan for this homeschooling year.
Today I am going to go a little deeper into why I have chosen to focus on world travel for the first third of our year.
As a family (and as a couple), we have been fortunate enough to travel quite a bit this year. Our daughter has just come home from an amazing experience abroad. Travel is a way to rejuvenate and to gain new perspective – a new perspective literally and a new perspective of home. Our senses are completely on overdrive. Whenever I am away, I feel both my creativity and curiosity surge. One of the most beautiful side effects of travelling is re-establishing “the beginner’s mind.” In Zen practice, this is shoshin. It is the childlike sense of anticipation and awe brought to all of life’s experiences.
This is what I want my children to always carry with them.
How do we bring shoshin into our everyday life here at home?
During my Taproot teacher training, we did this powerful yet simple exercise. We drew a map freehand. No tracing. No drawing grids. Just total freehand. As I drew the state of Texas freehand, I had a different feeling of the land, its rivers, and its terrain in relation to its cities and the gulf. Drawing a freehand map made me see and feel this piece of land for the first time. I had never drawn the state of Texas before but after drawing it once, I can still tell you where Austin, Dallas, Houston and the Canadian River are located (yes, CANADIAN River!). Before that, I couldn’t tell you where anything was located on this state.
Drawing the world map above, I was able to feel the land as a whole not divided by geographical region or politics. The land and water. A physical place where all of our history has taken place. In this map, the land is just land and I can look at it for the first time with awe how the land shaped civilization and how civilization continues to shape the land.
When we are able to drop down anywhere on this map, and pick a time period, there is a story. One of our stories of humanity. This was a great point driven home by Alison Manzer at the Taproot training. You can drop down anywhere at anytime and just take a look around. You don’t have to go wide and cover an immense timeline of events. You can just go deeper in that one spot. As the kids grow and continue to drop down at various times and places and look around, they will see a little bit of what came before and can see a little bit ahead of them. Then they can put the puzzle pieces together. It’s like a mystery.
There are stories and myths that contain similar components all over the world. There are stories that breathe the time and mood of the civilization. There are people, biographies, that can paint the entire picture of a specific time and place. There are clues throughout history that answer the big questions: How did we get here? Are we inherently good? When did civilization begin and are we in fact civilized? Do we all want the same things? Why is history only told through the vantage point of war? Can we see the light in every event?
By having the children drop down and just look around, we can re-acquaint ourselves with the land, the time, and our collective story. We can see the world’s story as a part of who we are and feel connected to the past in order to sort out where we are headed without getting lost in dates and events.
Whether we travel afar physically or transport ourselves through story, I want them to return home maintaining this heightened awareness of who they are in relation to the world. I want them to see how different life can be but more importantly, I want them to see that we are all connected by a single story – the story of us – and in the end, we all have the same needs, fears, and the desire to love and be loved.
Tomorrow I will talk more about our second part of the year: the heart. (And I promise I will have a blog post with a list of resources at the end of these planning posts!)
100 scribbles…hurriedly writing the here and now.