Friday, February 8, 2013

Homeschool Mother's Journal: Week 6 (with a Little Bit of the Skipped Weeks 4 and 5)

In my life this week… 

drama, of both the good and the bad kind, but mostly the good, and sometimes the literal. 

The kiddoes enacting naughty, mean garden gnomes before heading off to a Parent Presentation that Luke and Nina were prepared for at Drama Kids last week.
In fact, this week's laughter, sharing and warmth hit an apex last night, when I was blessed to spend three hours enjoying Drama Mama (and Papa) night with my Drama Kids families.  

Drama Mama (and Papa) night is always one of my favorite nights of the year.  Not just of my Drama Kids teaching year, but of my whole year, period.

There is just something about seeing the parents of my drama Kids join their children on stage that is fun, freeing and, in particular this year, heart-warming.

This year, a number of my students brought BOTH of their parents and some brought siblings.  How awesome was it to see these families (as well as parent-child duo's) working together: laughing, problem solving, enjoying?  I cannot express it.  But, I can say it got me thinking this morning...

If only more people knew what a FANTASTIC and FREEING family experience something like Drama Kids can be, Drama Kids could start a regular Family Day class or workshop... Imagine the impact and fun nationwide -- worldwide -- if families got away from life for an hour or so once in a while to connect and process this way.  

I know, I am on a Drama Mama (and Papa) high this morning.  I am silly.  Our culture.  People's time constraints.  The economy.  None of it makes my morning brainstorm a truly viable one.  It's just that when I experience what I did last night, I get so excited. 

No modern electronics.  No props (besides a shoe, a First Aid kit, a chair and an music stand in our case last night).  Nothing but a big space, bigger imaginations and lots of energy being shared by kids and parents talking and creating together.  Everyone laughing and encouraging.  GREAT STUFF!  

I sit this morning with a sense of gratitude and hope.  Family.  Fun.  Community.  They are all very much alive.

In our homeschool for the past few weeks… 

(Because, yes, it has been a few weeks since I have posted a Homeschool Mother's Journal update, so I cannot say "this week")

...has been a tapestry of focused learning times, spontaneous lessons, cuddly read alouds, reflection on goals, alignment of standards... balance.

Yes, balance.  Balance between what I want and what is.  Between free, unstructured times and focused "schooling" times.  Between time spent at home and time spent learning and sharing with others out in the community.  Between wondering what on earth we have embarked upon and why we continue the sometimes discouraging journey of a homeschool lifestyle and praising God for directing us to this lifestyle that is more often rich in moments of sheer warmth and energizing "ah ha!"s.

And with that balance has come freedom.  Freedom to live each day as it comes (or as happenstance, kiddo wills or Mommy's distractions demand at times.)  Freedom to follow interests, immerse ourselves in long spells of play, work and study.  Freedom to concentrate on an academic point one minute (hour, day, week) and on life skills another.  Freedom and responsibility.

The kids (and Mom!) are growing with both.  Freedom and responsibility.  And balance.  Oh, I might have just found the three words that will be my guiding ones in January, much like rejoice, rest and nourish were in January.

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share… 

Take advantage of local support groups if you have one. 

This is the first year that I have been able to make the time to join in the monthly support nights that our local Catholic homeschooling group offers to moms (or Dads, if they ever wanted to come.)  Doing so, has required me to rearrange work appointments and family commitments more than once, and, consequently, I have wondered at times if the "work" and "stress" of getting our family calender to a point that will allow me to attend the meetings is worth it.  

The wondering never lasts long though.

I end up at the meetings one way or another -- usually in the car of a homeschool friend who is not only gracious enough to offer carpooling each month, but also kind enough to wait a few extra moments for me to get to her house so we can go onto the home of whoever is hosting the meeting.  

It rarely fails that I have a commitment I cannot completely reschedule right before we are to leave for the support group meetings.  So, I often find myself calling my friend to say, "I AM coming.  I am just a minute or two behind, because..." She, in turn, reassures me, "It's okay.  I am here."

And she is.  She is there, as are the other women in the support group.  There to talk.  There to understand.  There to laugh.  There to brainstorm.  There to eat yummy baked goods with.  There to stay up far too late one night a month recharging ourselves with even as we,  make ourselves a bit overtired for the next day, too.

Before I started making time for these meetings, I did not realize how much I would enjoy them -- even need them.  Now, I cannot imagine homeshcooling at this stage in my life without them.   

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… 

I know there have been both the usual and the more out of the ordinary excursions and visits over the past few weeks, but right now I cannot recall details.


Because the storm everyone has been talking about coming to our area is just beginning and the kids are shouting, "The snow.  It is here.  It is here."  Their excitement at seeing the snow beginning to fall NOW has pushed aside thoughts of much where we have gone and what we seen over the past few weeks.

Oh, the enthusiasm of children as they anticipate a big snow!

My favorite thing this week was… 

this moment.

It may seem an odd thing to be a favorite, but there was something about witnessing the steps of my three curly head kids bent in happy concentration as they peeled boiled eggs that took my breath away this week.

My three blessings, together.  Close.  Loving.  Intent.  Demonstrating growth of skills and independence.  Helping me prepare lunch.  

I cannot put into words exactly what about the moment struck me.  The blossoming layers of meaning that bloomed in my heart as I paused to take note of the children at work is something that was more feeling than thought.  A feeling that spoke of calling -- and how listening to a call can be so regarding.  Even as I write about it, happy tears come to my eyes.  I am so grateful for oddly simple, yet "deep" moments like these that confirm my call and encourage me to live it with even greater focus and authenticity.

My kiddos favorite thing this week was… 

"These things," said Nina, as she pointed to the pieces of nectarine that Luke was slicing for the kids to snack on.  "And snow!"

"Playing outside, " said Jack  His blonde curls peaking out from the rim of one of Daddy's shrunken Army hats.  His feet in boots tugged on over jammies.  Yep.  the boy decided to play outside in the snow before he was even out of jammies this morning.

"Snow!" Luke agreed.  "This (the nectarine he is cutting) and making Valentines."  Nina and Luke have spent unstructured lesson times this week directing their own Valentine-making project.  They even put pennies in some Valentine's and declared to me that these were for the teens in our neighborhood, because "these are for teenagers that rob.  We don;t want them to rob anymore, so we give them money."

Yes!  They came up with that themselves.  

Last Good Friday, we woke to fund that our cars had been entered in front of our home and rifled through.  All our the money and change that had been in the cars had been taken.  We had supposed it was teenagers.  The kids, for some reason, had recalled this and come up with their own solution.  Love. My.  Kids!

Things I’m working on… 

Lenten homeschool and life plans.  As much as I LOVE the unexpected evidence of learning and thought that comes from unstructured time, I also feel that I am being pushed by the Spirit to have greater discipline with standards-based structured school time (which, for the record, DOES happen in our home regularly.  I just have an inkling that NOW is a time to make it happen even more for some reason.)

So, I want to obey the urge I have noted.  Get a faith-based plan for more structured planning going.  Live it.  Then, pause after Easter to better understand why I felt called to go in this direction.
 I’m cooking… 

I am cooking...

... but, more importantly, I am doing "food studies" with the kids again.  And, they are working!!!!

My picky, produce-averse Luke CHOSE a nectarine this morning.  He went to the fridge.  got it out.  Sliced it. Then, shared it with his sibs.  

Nina and him are awaiting Daddy's return through the afternoon snowstorm so they can "study" a plum.

All three kids enjoyed some bizarre tropical fruit we studied earlier this week.

Oh, may the trend continue.  I will have plant strong kiddoes yet!!!!

I’m grateful for…
Mike.  My husband.  A few weeks ago, we had a "bad day" -- a day that made me less than secure about our communication and about the strength and growth of our marriage.

Since then, we have shared so many reaffirming moments.  The specific issue that set the "bad day" off stills needs to be discussed.  However, so much more has proven that our marriage is as strong and as good as it has ever been.

The fruit is LOVE.  Love between us.  Love between the kids.  Love between us and the kids. 

So many mornings lately, the kids have bubbled with "Wanna see what dad showed me?"  "Daddy said..."  "Will Daddy be home THE WHOLE DAY tomorrow?"  They LOVE their Daddy so much and their Daddy shares so much love with all of us.

So many nights, I have gone to bed grateful that Mike is the man who is my life partner.  Even if we could both name a thing (or ten!) about each other that could be "growth points", when it all comes down to it, there is more that makes us :right" as individuals and "right" for each other.  We have been richly blessed by our union and our commitment to it remains strong.

 I’m praying for… 

...the ability to remember everything I just typed the next time Mike and I inevitably face a stress-point! and encouraging evidence of love for everyone throughout the storms of life -- both the literal storms like New England is supposed to be hit with today, and the more figurative ones, which I know some folks going through.  You are in my prayers.

...authenticity in my call and a continued winnowing in my soul -- one that aligns me to His will and makes His plan mine.  (Oh, so hard to get out of the way for that!)

...LOVE!  May we all go into the Lenten season knowing it is there.  It is for us.  It is in us.  It is ready to be given through us.  

Something I am ogling or have my eye on… 

A Vitamix!  Or a Blendtec?  Or,  okay, people with fancy blender units.  Give me all your tried-and-true feedback.  

For our family, the "want" for one of these contraptions is beginning to border on "need" and I am 

A photo or two to share… 

When Saturdays are not booked solid, Mike takes charge of the kids, so I can focus on work paperwork, bills and home decluttering.  This past weekend, I unburied some games from my childhood in the basement.  They were in rather ill repair, and I was going to get rid of them to help create space, but they have yet to make it out the front door.  The kids have been having too much fun with them, and Luke has made the argument, "Mommy, these thing shave memories for you and now for us..."  I guess the space hog, duct taped games will stay at least until the cold weather passes.  They make for great too-cold-to-go-out fun.  (and trust me, there have been a number of days that fit that category lately!)

This post is being shared at The Homeschool Mother's Journal.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I love that your kids came up with such a creative solution for the teenagers in the neighborhood---to help them go straight!


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