finding my choice

The upstairs floor is done and I’m extremely happy with it. The floor man was able to put in while we were in Florida, which at first disappointed me, but in the end worked out. We came home to a beautiful upstairs floor that looks like it belongs.

The first full week of school went well for everybody. I feel like I’ve got some percolating thoughts when it comes to school, homeschooling, and the different philosophies. The words coming out haven’t felt completely right, but I know they’re also stepping stones to the settled place I’m hoping to get to. Even good changes can shake you up a little.

I’m really thankful for this blog. It gives me a consistent place to show up to.  Church is one thing. The grocery store is another.  But I like having something I can choose and make time for, that’s just a moment for yourself to know, “This is good, too.”

in all honesty

img_5050

I’ve been sticking closer to home these days. One of the weird things about living on 225 acres of property you don’t own is that you never really know who’s here. You can be out for a walk, or in my case today, nervously searching for the daughter you can’t find since she went upstairs after finishing school. I thought she might have gone down to check on the baby birds that had been tipped out of their canoe during the last Outdoor Ed group. When I came upon the beach there was a black truck parked by the “Beach is Closed” garage door sign. I thought, “Oh God”, as my mind, as a woman, imagined the worst.

I either read or heard on the radio recently that anxiety has replaced depression as the leading mental illness in American women. The female wiring to nurture and care comes now with the broken ability to sense danger. It doesn’t know how to properly shut off.

It’s hard to know how much freedom to give my kids. I didn’t want to hover over them at every minute, or now, live in fear when they’re out of my sight. But I don’t want to be foolish or neglectful either. Anthony Esolen writes about the magical times of his boyhood when kids played outside from dawn til dusk.  I agree children need to be playing outside, but dawn to dusk is a long time to go without attention or guidance.

img_5089

I eventually found her playing with my middle son outside, but they were up by the house and not at the beach. Our afternoons at home here have always been vague. Part of me wanted to hold firm to the belief that everything necessary could be finished before lunch, allowing for the rest of the day free from school. The other part of me simply couldn’t go any longer. But I can definitely tell I’ve gained muscle and stamina. We take breaks here and there, but I’m hoping to continue daily schooling afternoons.

The kids, in four days, have yet to protest the arrangement. Where we run into kinks are the three times a day when it’s time to do the dishes. I do not by default clean up the kitchen. I still cook and clean and do laundry and change out the garbage bag when I’m miraculously the one who’s regularly no longer able to stuff any more into the bag. The kids are old enough to clean up the kitchen and they’re expected to do so, and they do.

img_5096

I’m still taking pictures of dirty wash rags. I have to be very careful about what I give my mind to. I can’t mentally or physically be doing too many things at once. I don’t find the same readiness or even the ability to engage in multitasking anymore. It was truly something to get to be the wonder woman reading to the preschooler on the bathroom floor, sitting next to the potty training toddler, while breastfeeding an infant. I think I’ll always think, “Wow, I did that once”, and it wouldn’t be pride, but a reason to smile.

These days I’m trying to tune in to their questions, and wait a little longer as the little one slowly learns to write. I’m taking time to spend with one who still needs extra help with reading.  There’s a second layer of a clay model tooth drying out on my table and a hammer pounding coming from the side of the house. My husband and I, last night, stayed up way past our bedtime sitting with our son and his two-page biology paper on biostatisticians.  Oh for heaven’s sake, who knew the world could be so grand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ready or not

“Afternoons are good art times”, I say to my daughter. She’s working behind me on a clay model tooth. Her science book gave her the choice of writing a report on the effects of tooth decay, or sculpting a model of a human tooth. She chose to sculpt the model. I’m certain I’d have chosen to write the report, but here we are, each one of us different.

It’s fun watching all the different differences take shape.

img_5086

School is going great this year. Granted, it’s only been three days, but I’m loving it and feeling fully back in the groove. I’ve been through this enough times now to know we’re gong to have our days , but today I’m overwhelmed in a different kind of way. How can it be that life can hurt so bad, and others times feels so good that it hurts?

img_5071

High school has seemed like a natural transition. This might sound strange to hear me say, but I’d forgotten how fun it was to have a child in school. I remember this same phenomenon occurring in the days when we started three-year old preschool. The start time and end time give structure to the day, and the responsibility of getting them there and picking them up provide a crystal clear role with added purpose and meaning.                                                                             

I had some startling, but clarifying moments last week. Where I’ve never before had a doubt in my mind that homeschooling was the current best choice for our family, I spent several days wrestling doubt and fear that I had, indeed, made a huge mistake in doing so. Had keeping them home only put us all behind? It was like Ethan going to school reawakened me to the reality that “Wait a minute, yes, you mean they really do leave.”

img_5056

With that another school year comes.

 

 

 

simplifying

The kids and I cleaned up the school room yesterday. It needed to be done before we start school on Monday. I had mixed feelings about a school room this year. As incredible as it is to have a cozy, spacious place for school, the upkeep and management of the room eventually becomes one more room to accumulate a pile of work I can’t get to.

We pulled the schoolroom table out from the wall and toward the center of the room. I do love creating spaces, and couldn’t bring myself to scratch the schoolroom quite yet. Particularly with younger kids, the room brings a sense of vibrancy and fun.  We will see how this year goes, and will gradually migrate to the kitchen table soon enough.

From the start we used an old bookshelf tipped on its side to make lockers. It worked perfectly with five students and five spaces. This year, though, we only need four, and since we also have four desks, I decided it was time to drag the bookshelf outside. Along with that went the torn up Goodwill couch, which for $20, served us well for two years.

I’m not doing anything crazy with curriculum. My goal is to focus on reading this year. I ordered the boys reading materials from Christian Light Education and writing/penmanship from Memoria Press.  I like the old-school simplicity of Christian Light, and the classical touch of Memoria Press. They keep the basics very basic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

deluxe editions

img_4984

So much of the mind-talk is useless chatter. I’ve wanted to write for the past several days  but the chatter wasn’t there and nothing else was either. Every so often I start to get the feeling like I’m talking too much or too soon of my introspection.

All I could find was a picture of celery.