“All joy reminds. It is never a possession, always a desire for something longer ago or further away or still ‘about to be'”.
~C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy~
The first year we homeschooled, I was more interested in the curriculum. Not the content inside, as I figured all of that was more or less the same, but rather the covers. The boy language arts books with the baseball player in mid-swing. The girl language arts book with the bright teal butterfly. The idea or ideal was to know each one of them, consider their interests, and provide an education they would never be able to find anywhere else.
It’s getting to be crunch time in terms of getting ready for school. I set a date to start, God-willing, next Monday. The kids spent the whole day with grandma yesterday, and before they left, I told them any special lego guys or old creations they didn’t want me messing with they’d better move them into the story corner. The rest of it was open for me to deal with as I pleased. I spent pieces of yesterday picking legos out of the carpet creases along the edges of the fireplace and making sense of the schoolroom table.
I dusted the mantle, vacuumed along the carpet creases, and wiped down the bricks where the ash and wood chips collect around the fireplace. Work with a purpose is the work I love most, and getting in there to transform the room before school starts is definitely the kind of work I love. One year we made a tree that still covers the wall. Another year, at the last minute, I decided something needed to be done to give the fireplace a makeover.
This year I’m merely getting it back into order, to let it be more of a familiar place to come back to. I love my students, even though I don’t do as much of the direct kind of teaching I would have liked to with my big kids. Once they can read they are able to work fairly independently on the basics. They have their own books for their own subjects and their own grade levels, and rather than being the one teaching each and every lesson, I mostly float from person to person depending on who needs help or explanation.
Even though I’m pretty much set now in my mostly CLE curriculum ways, I still enjoy looking through curriculum books, because in my heart, I love to learn. It doesn’t matter as much to me now if it has baseballs or butterflies, just that it is simple, straightforward, and easy to follow, both for me, and for the kids. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Like my husband said when we first agreed to do this, “Okay, but just as long as you know that you are actually going to have to do school with them”. He meant we couldn’t just play and have fun the whole time. “Yes”, I said, “I understand.”