Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Voices In My Head.

In case you haven't noticed, our area of the country is getting a nice pelting of record rainfall, and has been for the past month or so. Summer shone brightly for about ten days, before the clouds moved in, the yard flooded, and the little birds began to get STIR CRAZY.

Maybe I shouldn't have taken them to a friend's house to swim every single day during the Ten Days of Summer. Or to the splash pad. Or the playground. Or that water park. We went to ALL THE PLACES because SUMMER, only to experience a cloudburst deluge and a subsequent end to the fun.

I've done my best. Well, mostly my best--I think I could probably always do better--at keeping everyone entertained. Our middle birdie turned five, a day that included a fun play-date birthday party and a dinner with family and lots of donuts and sugar in between. And then .... they sit. They ask what to do. The summer oh-wait-it's-raining-outside boredom. And, while I would love to consult my Pinterest boards and create indoor ninja obstacle courses and foam made from Borax, the busy week before left the house a complete disaster that requires a good dosage of laundry, amongst other things, that require my attention instead.

Don't get me wrong--we have our days of "No, they're young! Just play all day!", but sometimes things  ACTUALLY NEED TO GET DONE and the kids ACTUALLY NEED TO ENTERTAIN THEMSELVES. And sometimes, they're great at it! And sometimes ... they're not.

And in the deep recesses of my mind comes that little tiny pesky voice that taps me on the shoulder and asks, "And you want to HOMESCHOOL?" Have the kids home ... all the time? Deal with this ... all the time?

And I cringe a little because that little voice has a point. Days like this leave me worn out. I've been tugged on all day, strained my voice after urging everyone to "Go play, please, go play, please", and my third cup of coffee has been sitting in the microwave waiting to be re-heated. Again. And the moment when I feel the most frustrated and wimpy and pathetic and clueless as to how to handle my own children ... they're suddenly playing outside. With worms and mud. The rain has stopped and they're outside. Together. And just as quickly as that doubting voice came into my mind, it scurried away.

I think that's how this entire journey will be. Some days will be really hard. Good grief, we haven't even officially started yet! That little voice will tap me on the shoulder. And some days it might grasp me on both arms and shake me because SURELY I AM CRAZY. And, other days, everything will be great. Doubting voice will be gone, replaced with the encouraging voice that tells me to keep it up, yo. And I will do my best. Or, at least, mostly my best.

I know I can always do better.

I am realizing that this journey has more to do with parenthood, really, than schooling. I mean, the schooling bit is huge, but a lot of this feels like a reflection on this stage of parenting for me, from always having a baby/toddler in the house, which up until this point has been my only experience as a Mom, to now having three kids. Like, real life kids. And as we navigate this stage, we can only guess at its trajectory and try, making decisions that give us peace while praying that they were the right ones. Like how educate our kids. And when to do laundry, and when to play. And how to play. And whether or not worms should be brought inside.

And those are my thoughts today.

Have a lovely day.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Step One.

Today I attended my first Parent Practicum for Classical Conversations, which is, essentially ... well, it's kind of a lot of things. Part lecture in the classical educational model, part pep rally (you can do it! you can do it!), part Bible Study. I went into it with questions and left with answers to those questions, so I call it a success (does this have lasting power? are there days you want to quit? do the terms completely confuse you, too?). The Practicum continues for two more days, but I'm opting to stay home instead. Not that I didn't have an amazing time, but because, as I mentioned, a lot of my questions were answered and I'm excited to get on board.

Oh and I currently look like this.

You see, it was quite a bit of information to take in. If you don't already know, the classical model of education is centered around a trivium. A what? A trivium (Google it, I dare you).  You know, three stages. Like foundational something and diarrhetic? No, wait, diabetic. DIALECTIC. Yes. And the last one is high school. I mean, "rhetoric". And this morning's brief lecture on Science (the highlighted subject during the practicum) touched on the Fibonacci Sequence, Copernicus, and something about stars. How do I remember that? Because I checked my Google history, THAT'S HOW. My notebook is full of notes scrawled in hurried inaccuracy as the slides switched and my brain swelled with KNOWLEDGE, ALL OF THE KNOWLEDDDDDGE and the poor, tiny recesses of my mind that have not been exercised since college were dusted off and thrown onto the front lines as we learned about, well, science. My least favorite subject.

Well, second behind math, I guess.

But, you know what? I loved it. And I loved it because it was centered around the why of science. We stand in awe and wonder of God and we yearn to know more about Him, and we can learn so much simply by studying the world He has created and the heavens beyond it. His handprint is everywhere and we have the luxury to search it out, to study it, to ask questions. The patterns, the rhythms, they all speak of a God who created the universe with precision and purpose. And suddenly Fibonacci, Copernicus, and the vastness of the stars moved into a concept that I could kind of grasp and, more importantly, appreciate.

Talk about a pep rally.

The idea of educating my children is somedays exciting and somedays terrifying. But I realize that it's all an extension of parenting anyway. Even if we cease homeschooling after this year, I am always educating them. What I say, how I say it, why I say it. It was convicting, to say the least. Challenging. All good things. And my right hand is SORE because NOTES. LOTS OF NOTES.

Today was my first real step into the unknown world of homeschooling and it was a good one. I sat with a group of Moms who were honest, sassy, and self-deprecating, all qualities I appreciate. It was a good day.

And now, rest. And chocolate.

Have a lovely day.