As I sat down to write this, the kids ran into my bedroom and resumed the Pokémon card game laid out on the floor at my feet. It’s the same game they’d played during the breaks between our George Müller read-aloud and Life of Fred: Butterflies and learning about kangaroos. When I sat down, I had no intention of writing about this scene, but as I watched them, suddenly it hit me:

In a different reality, I could count Pokémon the collectible card game as actual school time.

I mean, they practice reading skills with each new card, mental math with each dice roll, and subtraction skills every time their active Pokemon receives damage. If I could figure out a way to add in science and writing, the lessons would be complete.

After all, if homeschool were as easy and joyful as a Pokémon card game, my kids would be excited each morning, right? They wouldn’t moan when I pull out the handwriting sheet–as if it’s a surprise–or sigh when I ask them to cut out and glue a picture into their science notebook. If school made them this happy, I would look forward to it as much as they do!

pokemon the card game, pokemon, homeschool

But because I’m not a mom who will ever count playing a card game as a replacement for a full school day…

…I need to find a different way to access that ease and joy.

How can I make homeschooling just as inviting and engaging? In what ways can I build in more fun and more joy? Without it feeling burdensome or clunky. With an ease that isn’t forced or faked. Is that even possible? Could I be that mom?

After just six weeks of homeschooling, I’ve already changed my approach, adapting it to my kids’ needs and to my own. I’m trying to be more relaxed within the structure of our routine. Because mama needs structure, and I genuinely believe my kids do too. But I want that ease and joy. Ease and joy.

This week, I’m starting a 3-part series on how I’m learning to find ease and joy in our school day. Emphasis on learning.

Part One will be up by the end of the week — Breaking Free from the Tyranny of the Table. That’s right. I said ‘tyranny.’ And not just for the alliteration. Because does anyone else feel like we’re supposed to sit down at a table to do official school? Or is it just me?

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