More than any other year so far – even the first – this year of homeschooling has been difficult for me. I don’t know if it is the backlog of things that didn’t get done since my husband was deployed the first part of 2011 or adding another child to the lesson planning/attention paying/intentional time spent learning mix or simply that I am getting old or something I can’t completely comprehend, but it has been exhausting for me. I just feel tired, and I am longing for simplicity and time to relax. I am struggling with the very-too-long list of things to do, and I am also finding it stressful when everyone seemingly needs my attention all.at.once! I’m tired of my house always being a heap of projects and “art” and messes. Eek!
So when a friend asked me recently, “So how is your year going?”
I smiled carefully and said, “Terribly.”
A funny thing happened though: As that word slipped out of my mouth, I thought, “But I don’t really want my children to learn any other way right now.” I shared that for the first time there have been very real conversations (between Handsome and me) about whether it is time to send some of the kids or all of the kids back to school. I was very real with what I said, but as I spoke I started to think of all the things I do love about where we are at. So I am counting my blessings for the things that are going well this year:
551. the spelling program that I had been putting off buying because of the price but then finally bought in hopes that it would help one of my children not only spell but read – it is helping on both counts, and it has been good for the others too!
552. the projects that are taking over our living space are all kid-inspired, “Can we please do this, Mom?” type projects – so fun, and learning too!
553. my co-op class has combined with another class, and I am finding it pure joy to team teach with the other teacher!
554. We have strengths in exact opposite areas – a beautiful thing!
555. the freedom that I am learning (in that white-knuckled, I really don’t do this well sort of way) in not trying to do it ALL (not that trying to do it all was working for me either)
556. the learning that is taking place, because we are learning not to try to do it all – it looks different, sometimes like play or leisure, but is oh, so amazingly profound!
557. the literature books are getting thicker around here . . . and more interesting for me
558. One child is just finished his last phonics lesson. He is reading many years ahead of his grade level, and it is a delight to see the joy with which he embraces books!
559. oldest child is finding her loves in life. She’s knitting and taking an “applique and hand stitching class” where she couldn’t wait to learn to dye fabrics. She’s riding horses and learning to care for them too. It’s fun to see this girl grow and develop into someone with “loves.”
560. Speaking of loves, I just finished teaching a unit on color theory to my co-op class. It was so much fun! I loved it! I think the kids had fun too.
561. I also just finished knitting a shawl that I LOVE . . . the color is “winter wheat,” the yarn divine, the pattern amazing and fun!
562. Thankful that that shawl is headed to a cooler climate to keep a loved-one warm; I hope she enjoys using it as much as I enjoyed making it. It is fun to be able to pass on handmade gifts.
563. Today a friend reminded me of James 1 – long ago memorized – God is our source of wisdom. We need not dig it up on our own; it is generously given to us!
564. the computer slowly but surely being taken over by the ten-year-old as she uses her typing skills to learn Latin and so many other things
565. the amazing opportunities that we have as homeschoolers – classes like knitting and “learning biology through art” and learning about gears with K’nex and learning about design with Legos and watching a woman spin and make soap like a real colonist would have – amazing opportunity!
566. seeing diligence pay off – I have been just amazed at all the things that the kids learn by recitation; it seems they can memorize anything. This practice which has so fallen out of favor in public schools is a treasure to our homeschool, as we learn poetry and verses and definitions and so many other things simply by repeating them each morning!
567. K, who comes on Mondays to do hands-on activities with the kindergartener! What a great way to start the week!
568. for my science-loving, over-educated husband who doesn’t sweat the small stuff and teaches science to our kids!
569. so, so thankful for our homeschooling friends – moms on this same journey who help prop me up and really amazing, creative, fun kids with whom my own children have so. much. fun!
but my favorite one of late:
570. I got to hear him read his first word! A note from a friend read, “First steps, first words…. READING FIRST WORD TRUMPS them all!!!” And you know, she was right – I did miss his first steps and his first words, but I feel so, so honored to get to teach him to read his first words and to hear him say, “Mom! I’m learning to read!”