At the end of each year, I like to take a moment to reflect on what I did over the last twelve months and what changes the year brought to me and my family. As I look back on this past year, I realize that 2018 was a huge year for me. I am going to take a moment here to toot my own horn. Sometimes, we need to do that. We all need to take time to admire ourselves and our accomplishments.
I had an idea that bloomed into a business.
In March, with the help of my best friend, Melanie, I launched Five Senses Literature Lessons. At the time, I thought I just wanted to create a single curriculum. I wanted to write something that was a developmentally appropriate kindergarten choice for parents who didn’t have an education degree. Something for parents who want to support their child’s development without the pressures of the modern school system. Something that didn’t see educating children as having a “right” way or a “wrong” way. A system that gave parents freedom from those unreasonable expectations.
I got mad that there are people upset their 5-year-olds aren’t reading books, writing paragraphs and doing higher order math, when none of that is something a 5-year-old SHOULD be doing. Five-year-olds need to get messy, use their hands and bodies to explore the world. They need to make up stories, play with friends, sing songs, consider new ideas, and listen to picture books. I was just so upset that people were skipping this stuff to push kids who weren’t ready to do school work meant for older kids. So I sat down and wrote them another choice.
I thought that was it. I was done.
But I wasn’t done. Not by a long shot.
Almost as soon as I finished the first curriculum I felt inspired to write more. I worked on writing a curriculum about Native Americans because it was a part of history education that I felt was lacking. Even though I had used several homeschool resources to teach my kids about Native American tribes and history, nothing went into much depth or tied those lessons to the obvious science lessons I saw as going together with them. So I wrote those too.
Next up, I am working on writing a US history curriculum that tells the stories of the diverse and interesting people that have made up American history. My kids are once again my guinea pigs as I test out stories and lessons.
Putting myself out there more.
I spoke at the Virginia Homeschoolers conference in March last year. This year I plan to speak there again and hope to add at least a second conference to my itinerary. I LOVE speaking to homeschoolers. I love sharing tips and tricks that make life easier and giving them ideas they can take home and use on Monday.
I’ve had a blog in the past, but this year I blogged a ton. I blogged about my family, my homeschooling, my occupational therapy knowledge and that space where all of those things come together. My previous blogs were focused on just one aspect of my life. But I found that my stride is in that space where it all comes together. I’m a complex person with a lot to share with the world. I am done with trying to make myself fit into a single box. I’ve decided that I’m going to just check all the boxes.
I learned to use Instagram this year. It has been a weird new hobby, learning to not just take a picture, but pose one. To zoom in on that tiny thing I found beautiful today or pick one thing from my life to share each day. On Instagram, you set up this one perfect picture and use it as the basis of a story that you share. Many of my pictures are not perfect, but it is an interesting way to view my life. Through the lens of my Instagram account, my life looks beautiful and fabulous. Looking back through my own pictures posted there is a fun walk down memory lane and makes me grateful for many small moments I got to have this year.
Meanwhile, life kept moving forward.
In 2018, I turned 40, celebrated my 18th wedding anniversary and saw my oldest child get a learner’s permit to drive a car. I thought these milestones would make me feel old, but instead, they make me feel mature. I feel like I am once again working on becoming more me than I’ve ever been. This feeling reminds me of how I felt at 21. Life was all possibility. The world was wide open for me to explore. Somehow, I see possibilities again in a way that I haven’t in many years.
Looking to the future!
Right now, I am working on becoming the me of here and now. This me has a lot to do in 2019, but I’m excited about it. I have kids to parent and life goals to meet. I also have ideas and goals for Five Senses Literature Lessons and I am excited to see where that takes me.
Happy New Year 2019! Let’s do this!
About the Author
Laura Sowdon, OTR/L is an occupational therapist, writer, speaker, educator and creator of the Five Senses Literature Lessons homeschool curriculum. She has worked as an occupational therapist with children in public and private schools, as well as private practice. Laura has taught and managed homeschool co-ops as well as homeschooling her own three children. Laura is dedicated to the idea of educating children at a pace that aligns with brain and physical development milestones and respects neurodiversity in all its forms.