Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Nature Study....unintended

I've been doing a LOT of thinking about school lately. We've really done it all. We've preschooled, public schooled, homeschooled, private schooled, public schooled and homeschooled again. I really can't think of anything we haven't tried, especially since we've also worked the special education system for Nathan. All of this has been tremendously difficult for us, especially for me. There is so much societal pressure on our kiddos.

What I have found is that we are most happy homeschooling. Traditional school involves a LOT of homework, which for our family, means a tremendous amount of time spent after school doing school. This is not my idea of childhood. I spent Nathan's young childhood looking at spinning fans and so now that he is more interested in the world outside his head, I want to explore it with him. My children have little to no interest in the social world of middle school and I thank God daily for that. My children enjoy being home. What greater pleasure can a parent receive than that their children in the middle years yearn to be together as a family?

All of this being said, homeschooling is the hardest thing I have ever done. Day in and day out being with my children 24/7 isn't easy. I don't always want to carefully guide their journey on the road of mathematical or literary excellence. They don't always want to acquiesce to my higher knowledge of subject matter. Mother is not always the same as teacher in their minds.

What I am pondering these days is a head knowledge of the positive traits of homeschooling for our family. I am too easily swayed by my emotions on this front and need the reminder of intellect not emotion when the chips are down. In February of every year, I need to reread my homeschool manifesto (which I am slowly writing) to remind me that, although February is the "dark night of the homeschool soul" there is Spring light at the end of the tunnel and that the slow progress we make in education and character building is far superior to what we would have found in the public school system.
Finally, today Mike informed us that a mom and dad duck were inhabiting our neighbor's yard. So.....what did we do? We took camera and TIME to walk across the street and watch. As we stood and observed, several families walked by on their way to school. Not one parent or child asked what we were watching. Not one parent or child thought to stop and inquire or view. Had the boys been in school they would have been long gone prior to the arrival of the ducks. A few days ago when the boys and I were in the midst of studying I don't know what, Nolan peered out the window (as he is wont to do) and saw a "giant bird."
We ventured outside with camera and video camera. Nolan was sure we were seeing a Turkey Vulture but I think it was probably a female Pheasant. Not bad for living 2 miles out of the city. I feel so blessed that we are able to take the time to stop our studies and watch the world outside. If only the boys could see the fox that I've seen now twice. With homeschooling, one of these days we'll see him.

Friday, April 9, 2010

age and wisdom

Happy Easter! Here in the north east we've been experiencing quite a change in weather. We had summery 80's for several days. I don't want to complain but it was just a little too hot, too fast. Everything is growing and blooming extra early so I worry about what that means for summer. We had a rain storm last night which cooled things off a bit. It feels more like April today but is to get into the 70's this weekend and I'm loving that!

I guess by the last paragraph which is all about the weather, you can tell I'm getting older. I also spent part of this evening walking through Lowe's with my hubby talking about refrigerators and ovens. Definitely getting older. Actually, I turned 40 this week. I've never been one to care a lot about birthdays and I still don't. I'm happy to be 40. I feel like the older I get the wiser I get (mostly). So I'm looking forward to more wisdom with each passing year.

I've been thinking a lot lately about our purposes in life. As my boys get older we talk more about their future in a tangible way. Only 4 years until Nathan is an adult. It's hard to believe. I wonder what they will be like as adults. About what my relationship will be with them in the future. I wonder how to help them discern what God is calling them to. It has taken me so long to realize my calling (or has the journey needed to be this long and circuitous?) that I wonder how to help them find a path. I guess we don't find our path, we look to God to show us the way to follow Him.

Ask and will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you. This verse has held a lot of meaning for me of late. What I am realizing is that in seeking I have really needed to put forth a lot of effort. I used to think that verse meant that the Lord would place the answer on my doorstep just because I asked. Now I am discerning that I need to put forth some effort, too. Often in the effort of seeking I find something totally different than what I expected. It is often very much simpler as well. I've never found God to be that complicated, really.

I hope that if you are seeking this Easter season, you will put forth the effort in research and prayer and that Christ will lead you in the path in which you were meant to go.
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