NEVER WOULD I HAVE EVER...
The Most Unexpected Adventure
It’s funny how more often than not, life takes you to unexpected places. My 15-year-old introverted, peace-making, everything has to be planned, middle child self would have never been open to them. Never did I think I would spend my law career as a courtroom litigator. Never would I have imagined marrying a Viking-blooded adventurer who pushes my natural ‘safe’ limits almost daily. And never, ever, would I have thought I would adopt these beautiful twin babes, and then immediately discover I was pregnant. But God had other plans, and obviously a sense of humor! So no, never did I ever think I would have three babies in a year!
And yet, without all of these chance happenings—or maybe not by chance—my life would be, well, rather dull, and I certainly wouldn’t be open to the beautiful mysteries that lie ahead.
So here we are, embarking on the next very unexpected adventure—homeschooling! Did I mention ‘never would I have ever?’
My previous quiet opinion was, ‘Admire that you can do that, but it’s not for us.’ But again, our plans are not our own. After spending a year on the Board of our children’s school, I discovered a part of me that truly, deeply, believes in education that is not “in the box”, but one that is both rigorous and tailored, meeting children where they are without being labeled “behind” or “ahead” or even just “average.” One that immerses children in cultures through travel to the places we are learning about, through art, and movement, and absorbing history through good books—and even learning things for myself that, God bless my rural Southern Ohio High School, didn’t teach me as a young person.
This new venture has even led to other Aal Adventures. We’re diving deep into researching the Aal Norwegian heritage: genealogies, books about Norway and Sweden, cooking traditional Scandinavian meals, and learning the practice of cold plunges and family sauna sessions. (Little did we know that purchase would be deemed educational!)
Hidden Lessons in Design and Hospitality!
Most surprisingly, never would I have thought homeschooling would further my love of great design and hospitality, but cue the opportunity! (No, homeschooling rooms don’t have to look like Ikea playrooms to be engaging). We “school” in an artfully designed dining room with freshly picked flowers from our garden, bringing nature and color together to fuel our imagination. We say the pledge of allegiance to the stunning American flag hung in view just outside—a signature design choice in all of my projects. We mountain bike and stop off at a turn to paint the mountains, visit our favorite coffee shop and use donut pieces to study fractions, and study out of books with beautifully-crafted book covers we design ourselves. I’ve discovered grammar and science instruction through moments of hospitality by writing a thoughtful note to a friend in need, or making solar system bookmarks for grandparents. Lest this all sound too magical, rest assured that messes still abound and the teacher imbibes in lots of wine during school hours. :)
For this moment in our lives, this most unexpected choice has proven again that my passions can be fulfilled—and nurtured—through sharing them with the ones I love the most! If you're home, or your homeschool, or just you, need a change or inspiration, let’s talk!