Tidal Schooling and My Plan for the Boys this Year

Due to my physical and mental health, homeschooling has been somewhat of a challenge, as you can imagine.  

I have had many ups and downs over the past 10 years for a variety of reasons, but I committed to homeschooling in February of last year (after being back and forth), and I decided that I would just get through the hard days and work hard on the days when I feel well.  

When I’m really struggling, my anxiety lies to me to make me feel like I’m not good enough, I’m not doing enough, and that my kids will struggle because of me.  

It has also been a bit harder since Karis decided to go to school.  Did I do enough?  Will she be okay?  Will she thrive or struggle?  If she struggles, is it all my fault?  What if the boys want to go back to school, too?  Will they struggle and be behind?  Maybe I need to “hit it hard” just in case.  Maybe I need to do more, be more, and focus more on certain subjects.  Maybe I need to make homeschooling more like “school at home.”

As you can imagine, this has been hard for someone with Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  And sometimes my mind goes down this rabbit trail and has a hard time making my way out.  

I was sharing some of my thoughts in a Brave Writer group, and I learned about something that I had never heard of before, but apparently has been around for a while: Tidal Schooling.  

The gist of it is simple.  

From Hide the Chocolate: Our Charlotte Mason Tidal School

“You see “high tide” is that time when you’re feeling great as a homeschooler. The days are structured. The work is quantifiable. Subjects and activities define the days.

But, “low tide” is the time when there isn’t a lot of structure. It is a time when the kids are pursuing their interests and “mom” is an enabler… a facilitator. The house is covered in messy, creative projects. These days are harder to quantify and to me always seemed like jello — slippery and hard to manage.”

Only, for me it looks a bit different.  

When I’m in high tide, I am alll about the Brave Writer lifestyle and doing all of the rich learning things.  Arrows and Boomerangs, writing projects, Poetry teatime, nature walks/studies, fine arts, etc.  I will focus on digging deep into things that they are interested in *in addition* to what I have chosen to learn about.  I also focus pretty heavily on a “modernized” Charlotte Mason method.  I trust the process.  I do a whole lot with my kids when I’m in high tide.  

In low tide, I tend to fall back on more “independent” work.  I pull out things like The Good and the Beautiful workbooks, Daily Grams, Masterbooks General Science, etc.  This just takes a little bit of time, then the rest of the day is not very structured.  This is hard for someone like me.  

I am slowly learning that all of this is okay.  

I still have to ignore the yelling in my ear that I’m going to screw my kids up, but one day at a time.

Also from Hide the Chocolate:

Charlotte let down your bun.

“…I was excited when Julie Bogart started speaking to me about Updating Charlotte Mason to the 21st Century at the retreat. She so eloquently brought Charlotte out of the 20th century and let her hair down.”

I completely agreed with her that while I LOVE most of the Charlotte Mason philosophy and the methods, I do get hung up on how old school it all is.  No technology, being outside for 5-6 hours a day, vintage books only, no “twaddle,” etc.  

So I’m realizing that it is truly okay to focus on what I love about the CM philosophy and throw out the rest!  Being a purist in this method causes me anxiety, and why do something that causes me anxiety?  Plus, I don’t feel it’s best for my boys.  They need the option to read “twaddle” because they aren’t fans of reading, so I want them to be able to choose what they read.  But I also read really high quality literature aloud to them, and we use living books for science and history as well (mostly… sometimes I’ll throw in a textbook).  I want the option to do writing a little differently… include narration AND other methods.  I like to do nature study and fine arts, but it’s totally fine if I don’t do it allll the time.  

All this said, here are my curriculum/book picks for this year.


Brave Writer Arrows and Boomerangs, a few BW writing projects, IEW grammar, US map drills, Blossom and Root US history study (half of it), some reading out of Story of the World, The Story for Kids, some science living books (and Masterbooks General Science as a back up), nature study using a variety of methods, and not pictured is Teaching Textbooks level 6.  The novels we are reading are Esperanza Rising, Elijah of Buxton, Brown Girl Dreaming, Ida B, Walk Two Moons, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, and Sign of the Beaver. 

All kinds of poetry and art resources plus Shakespeare and Greek Mythology. This isn’t all of them but my faves. And this will kinda be sprinkled through the year.

This is going to be my writing focus. First I will spend a lot of time helping them to become more fluent narrators. Know and Tell is fantastic for helping me understand the importance of narrating and how to implement it. Writer’s Inc was suggested by the author so I picked it up used for $10. The funny thing is that it’s a Writesource book which is what I’ve used as a resource for grammar and writing when I taught in public school. It’s a fantastic resource and will help me put into practice what I already know about writing. I’m feeling at peace about writing for the first time ever.

Every day is a learning experience between parenting and marriage and mental health and physical health and homeschooling and and and…

I’m grateful to not have to figure these things out on my own!

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