the ordinary day

There’s a part of me that reads about the Classical education most of us never had, and then wants that, to give that kind of education to my children.  My children and I would be sophisticated and learned (pronounced ler’-ned).  We’d be well-versed in Shakespeare, Latin, Homer, and be easily able to narrate a brief 1,000 word history and explanation of the Renaissance.  None of those things are me.  None of those are my children.

I’ve had a lot of personal moments wondering quietly to myself, “How did I even graduate high school?”  Why didn’t I put in more effort when I could have?  Why did I make a habit of skipping the essays and sticking close to the multiple choice?  Why is it so hard for me to articulate my thoughts and put them into intelligent sounding words?  It’s like a major gap exists between the two hemispheres of my brain.  I need a bridge.

How many vocabulary lessons did I complete, and why can I not think of even five remembered vocabulary words?  Aloof.  I remember writing the word “aloof”.

Aloof: 1) removed or distant, either physically or emotionally  2) at a distance, but in sight 3) not friendly or forth-coming, cool and distant 4) reserved or reticent; indifferent

Indifferent: 1) having no particular interest or sympathy; unconcerned 2) having no interest, choice, or feeling on a matter 3) neither good nor bad; mediocre

Mediocre: 1) of only moderate quality; not very good 2) of medium excellence; ordinary

Ordinary: 1) with no special or distinctive features; normal 2) usual, customary, according to general rule or common experience 3) commonplace

“Although we often use the adjective ordinary to mean “ho-hum, nothing special,” it actually comes from the Latin root for “rule.” You could think of ordinary things as almost like rules in your life.” (

Today was basically an ordinary day. After being away from home much of yesterday, and having somewhere else to be tomorrow morning, I was looking forward to this ordinary Thursday at home.  We lit a fire in the schoolroom, which remains to me almost another house to keep on top of.  Everywhere I look there are items out of order, and it is so easy for me to get discouraged in this decades-long task of rearing children into adults, knowing in so many ways they are merely my mirrors, that I am, too, in need of learning.

Learn:  1) to gain or acquire knowledge of or skill in something by study, experience, or being taught 2) to become informed or acquainted with

“Old English leornian “to get knowledge, be cultivated; study, read, think about,” from Proto-Germanic*lisnojanan (cognates: Old Frisian lernia, Middle Dutch leeren, Dutch leren, Old High German lernen, German lernen “to learn,” Gothic lais “I know”), with a base sense of “to follow or find the track,” from PIE root *lois- “furrow, track.” (

I’ve heard it said before that the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference.  As a homeschooling mother, as a fellow human being on this gifted planet earth, I wish to instill a love of learning in my children.  This means we get to pass through many ordinary days of following the rules laid out for us in reading, writing, and cleaning up after ourselves.  A part of me has always been resistant to “the rules”, for to follow the rules is to be content, patient with, and accepting of mediocrity.  To “follow the rules” is to follow the ordinary.  Lest we find ourselves walking aloof through our lives, the ordinary remains there to lead us to something-to the flower beside the furrow of an ordinary grasp.

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