homeschool philosophies (part 2)

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To continue on with what I was saying, I’m starting to wonder, that if I keep with my goal of the kids keeping up, I might actually end up holding us back.  I have no regrets with how we’ve done things, but as I evaluate the past and look ahead to the future, I feel ready to move in us a different direction.

I want to pour over books and unit studies on states.  I want more class discussion and less class distraction (the LEGOS are everywhere).  I want to take our read-alouds to new and higher levels, incorporating oral and written narrations as a given.  I want to sweat through the complicated work of communicating.

What makes homeschooling so incredibly attractive to me is the great flexibility we have in what we can learn and all the ways we can learn it.  So much of my school life I cannot remember.  Once I got into junior high and high school, school was just the hoop you needed to jump through in order to get to the social experiences.  I put forth minimal effort into learning, retaining, or applying myself to giving back the gifts offered.

In many ways it feels like I’ve been given back the time.  I’ve been given another chance at learning.   Mere Motherhood, a memoir I read by a homeschooling mother of thirty-plus years put it this way which I thought was absolutely perfect, “Joseph Pieper tells us that leisure is the basis of culture.  Most homeschool moms would laugh at the idea of leisure, but that is essentially the gift homeschooling gave us–the leisure to learn”.

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homeschool philosophies

We’re wrapping up our 2017-2018 school year.  We’ve all reached that point where we’re ready to be done, not in a negative sense, but more because the sun is shining, the grass is green, and the fresh morning energy begs to be channeled toward something else.

I’m happy with how the year went.  I’m naming this school year “the year of the lake” because of how much time we spent on the ice.  It was absolutely amazing to watch the lake transform throughout the winter, from frozen solid, to still thick enough to walk on, to weak and unworthy of trust.  I had no idea how many forms water could take, or how a lake groans beneath the surface when the winter doesn’t let him make a move.

My biggest frustration has been the waiting in the slowness.  We have not been able to keep up the pace I imagined us keeping.  It’s not that we haven’t been learning, or that we haven’t been day after day having school.   We have.  But certain things like reading and memorizing of multiplication facts, which I happen to believe are extremely important and useful for life, are not happening at the speed I had hoped.

When I started homeschooling, I was aware this might happen, but things start to feel different when something goes from a likely possibility that I feel totally fine with in theory–to an actual reality.  I am not typically one to compare my kids to other children.  But now that their six-year old cousin can read (the daughter of two Lutheran school teachers), and my homeschooled seven-year old boy is not at her level, I have started to question the way I’ve been traveling.  If I was to hold up my kids to the academic standard for their appropriate grade levels, four out of five would be falling behind.

They say the biggest mistake homeschool newbies make is trying to make school happen the way it happened for you (in my case, public school).  You often hear the phrase, “The goal of homeschooling is not to recreate public school at home”.  I totally get that, and for the most part, I agree with that.  I, however, have wanted, at least in part, to keep that familiar school/classroom experience my oldest children knew and thrived in during their years of Lutheran grade school.  I have actually wanted to walk as closely as possible to the present-day culture and various methods of education, as well as wanted to keep my children “up-to-date” by keeping up with the workbooks and grade levels.

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As time goes on, however, I’m finding it harder to do it this way.  I am itching to be able to cover more ground.  I have an entire bookshelf of resources, most of them gifted to me, just waiting to be used.  And yet, at the same time, I am happy with the pace we are keeping.  Experienced homeschool moms warned me about this.  They said that I would struggle with doubts.  I felt very confident when starting out, not in the sense that I felt like I knew what I was doing, but confident in the fact that homeschooling was right for this moment in time.   I still feel that it is right, and it has been working, but I’m thinking next year is the year I’m going to have to commit to my visions and take more risks.

I’m gonna have to be okay with being different.

 

catching up

March 4, 2018…I’ve been inspired by Ruth Bell Graham and her life.  I’m surprised I’ve never heard looked into her more.  She seems like a fun lady, and a woman who genuinely sought after God.

So love
without clinging
cry if you must
but privately cry
the heart will adjust
~Ruth Bell Graham~

March 6, 2018…Billy Graham says if he could go back and do life over he’d spend more time in study and prayer.  It’s amazing to me to think about how much he’s seen in his life.  Wow.  What’s also amazing is how much the world didn’t change.  The world got worse.  I wonder if that was hard for him at all, growing old and watching things only get worse.  My sister says he’s been a “has been” for a while.  For me he’s an “always will be.”

March 7, 2018…The boys and I had fun tonight.  The three big kids are with Dad at a church service.  I felt like the luckiest girl in the world being snuggled up on the couch, reading books with them.  They came in tonight just as I was writing because they were scared in the living room.  I told them they could come sleep in my bed with me until Dad and the big kids got home.  Thank you, Lord, for my children.

March 10,2018…”Remove vexation from your heart, and put away the pain from your body, for youth and the dawn of life are vanity.” ~Ecclesiastes 11:10

My life has been spent, far too long, in a state of vexation.  I get easily frustrated with every little thing that “goes wrong”.  This verse tells me I can remove vexation from my heart.  I t doesn’t need to be there!  There will always be things going wrong.  Such is life! “The days of darkness will be many”, but let it be so!  There is no sense fretting over the inevitable.  Rather, let your heart be glad.  Rejoice in the darkness and in the light.

I’ve been aware, the last several years, of my transitioning age.  I’ve known nothing but youth my entire life, from childhood, to teens, to twenties, to even early thirties.  But where I am now is different.  It isn’t youth and isn’t heading that way.  Time travels not backwards.  I’m entering places I am unfamiliar with, stages I have never been in.

The lines on my face have bothered me.  My weakening body has bothered me.  The loss of “beauty” and “youth” has been bothering me for a while.  I don’t want to “let myself go”, but I don’t want to dwell so heavily or fix my mind or efforts on trying to “preserve” what is already on its way out.  Let me focus instead–this is my prayer now–on cultivating qualities that can only continue to develop and deepen, and grow in their loveliness.  Let me be delightful, full of delight.

The friendship of the LORD
is worth more
to me
than a thousand friends
I miss them–
but I am okay
knowing,
He loves me back.

March 23, 2018…I’m losing my sentimentality with age.   This morning I walked into the schoolroom and was greeted by the smell of cat urine.  I do not think for one minute that I will miss living in a chronically disgusting house.  I will miss the LEGOS, the blankets, the maddening messes that come with daily living, but I will not miss the hopeless feeling of a house that’s never clean and unfit for any other human beings to live and be at peace and ease, or feeling like I’m the  only one who can do anything about it.

April 1, 2018…On Friday I told the kids I was dreaming of a white Easter.

It snowed today!

I had hoped in my heart
that before winter left
She might sing for me
once more

The Spring doesn’t know
what she’s missed
these long months

Winter is my friend.
Spring only pretends to be.

I thank you, my Heavenly Father
for sending this, the snow
for You, You only did know
how I’d hoped in my heart

April 15, 2018…The boys are getting so big.  I tucked them in tonight and sang to them, hoping to calm their energetic demeanor.  I do not feel yet that motherhood has passed by fast, but I do see now how it, indeed, is passing by.

on gender reconciliation

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Supposedly when C.S. Lewis became a Christian, he quit keeping a journal.  He thought it was too self-centered.

C.S. Lewis wasn’t a woman.

And journal or no journal, the man wrote down his thoughts.  There’re a lot of men out there, who over the course of thousands of years, have done the same thing.

I’m not gonna hold it against them.

Let the men become famous.  The women will carry on, without fame or glory, bearing witness to the fire of the holy human lifespan.  We’ll gain wisdom with our silence.

We’ll find healing in the hidden words.

 

 

 

Lord, I believe

Sometimes it feels like I was born into the wrong civilization.  I don’t relate with Western culture and the functional lack of spirituality. Even Christianity, a religion to which I am deeply loyal, seems insufficient, at least at times, at least for me, maybe not in matters of the human heart, but in the suffering of the human psyche.

The ancients seemed to have a much higher grasp on what it meant to be human.  The sophistication of the Western world has completely neutered its humanity.  Christians assault each other with the endless diagnostics of sin.  Humans are idolatrous.  Humans are selfish.  Humans are corrupt.  Even the good we do is sinful.

I can’t take it anymore.

It’s like a walking death.  We are the walking dead.

I want to see the good in people.  I want to believe that there are two sides to every person, not just the unavoidable one.

How can we stand to live so disconnected from our bodies and souls?

In Eastern religions they fear evil spirits and worship the trees.  As Christians we worship the Maker of the trees, the God of the spirits, the Ruler of even the underworld.

The Spirit of God breaths life into people.  The apostle Paul is the perfect example of a man who creates his own reality by seeing the worst, but believing the best.

“Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who submit to or perform homosexual acts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor verbal abusers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.”

And such were some of you.  It was me who was that person.

I don’t want to be that person.  I am not that person anymore.

Stop telling me that’s who I am.

“But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”