It's a rough month. The anniversary of my mother's death. The anniversary of Jared's termination. The realization that we are putting down roots here and have to decide on where to live for the next several years to 20 years. What our homeschooling journey will look like next year. But I think all of that is linked to, "Who am I now?" And I don't know the answer.
Many spinning plates, so which ones fall and which ones can I get rid of permanently? You all know the basics, like relationships with spouse and kids and relatives. Friends are optional, but at least some seasonal friends to support you are helpful. The big big BIG plate of buying a house and moving DO have an end date and I can store that plate for a good long while, I hope, in a couple of months. Taxes are done, so that plate is clean and put away (mostly, I still have Canada to do). Ah, the kids' education and extracurriculars, and our support groups and small groups and activities. Let's take a look at them. What can we change? What can we put away? What isn't working?
So many answers to that one. I've had some great, lengthy discussions on the statewide homeschooling Facebook page yesterday and today about it. And it wasn't heated. Nor emotional. But informative, with tons of great dialogue. What we need to decide is what is our purpose, what is our mission and vision, what ARE our goals? Have they changed? And how can we take steps towards those goals. Measurable goals. Specific goals. For each child. Homeschooling is partly academic, but also about the family's dynamics and culture at large. What is that going to look like?
For us, I think, it means cutting back. It means no co ops. Only the occasional outing or field trip when I'm feeling up to it. It means only doing extracurriculars that everybody can participate in like having youth group and choir and homeschool support group meetings on Sunday nights and debate club on Monday nights. It means doing more lessons together than separate. It means using the resources I already have instead of investing and committing to a rigid program. I need my scheduling freedom back. Justin was in tears today because he couldn't get all his work done for co op in the right way. And a lot of that is my fault for not taking the time to check it. My introverts don't need a co op for socializing. Benaiah needs outside socialization, which could be provided where he's at, or in other ways, like taking college classes as a 15 year old at Ivy Tech. But first, we must define, what are the most important things we want our kids to leave our home knowing. Is it all the names of the parts of the body? Is it memorizing loads of Scriptures and then competing on them? Is it taking part in mission weeks or going on short term mission trips? Is it a love for learning and the ability to be self taught when necessary and being able to seek out help from someone else when they are stuck? Is it having the ability to communicate back what they have learned both orally and in writing? These are questions we do need to assemble and answer and have in front of us as we weigh our many, many choices in education and parenting our children. I do know that they are not robots and I don't want them to be clones of whatever the public education system is trying to do. I want my kids to think for themselves. To ask the "why must me? or why do me?" questions.
Am I a rebel? Why do I like being "different" so much? Why don't I want to fit in with everyone else? Those are questions I need to explore as we move forward into purchasing a house or homeschooling or what not.
And this is what happens when mama is down for the count and she can't read and all she can do is think. I actually enjoyed laying in bed and just thinking while the kids got food for themselves, did their homework or brought to me for help, and they helped their baby brother. It was a good chance to reflect and evaluate. I think I feel better for now. But I'm sure the emotions of keeping all these plates spinning will come back and will have to be dealt with again and again and again. And maybe, I can still be an example and show the kids what to do with them when they do come, "taking every thought captive", right? Knowing when to leave a room so you don't hurt someone or something. Moving past the hurt and pain and taking that next step of cleaning up supper or changing a diaper, even when you want to run and hide because you are depressed, angry, bitter, fearful. God fills in the gaps of homeschool and parenting.
|Justin found a tv show for Justin that involved Canadian hockey!|
|The look of joy on that face!|
|Helping with homework.|
|I think she's excited about vacation!|
|I didn't know if I posted pictures of these shoes before, but they are Keturah's new kicks! Definitely matches her personality! And she's not afraid to share that we saved $20 on them!|
|Yup, they scream Keturah.|
|Boys must wrestle.|
|I finally said, enough! Put the books away and go play! This is what they found to do. Ok then! There's no water in the tub, don't worry.|
|Smiles and tons of screaming! Our poor neighbors!|
|This guy LOVED it, too!|
|Conversation starter cards, thanks Chick Fil A!|
|Since Abishai knows how to play Hulla Baloo, I thought he could have fun with the Twister game. Well, he just ran around like a mad man because it was too close to bedtime.|
|Fix it Bubba!|
|The beautiful hopscotch egg Keturah created the other day.|
|And her footprints to match.|
|Nasty storm earlier this week. But it blew through quickly.|
|Looking east. Wall of clouds.|
|Going around the block the other day.|
|Apple tree in bloom.|
|He rode around on his bike with his Woody stuffed animal as his companion.|
|I heard Keturah and Justin asking each other questions from the conversation cards from Chick Fil A and they were answering them well, with no snarkiness and with real answers!|
|Babee and baby playing "come and get me!" on the driveway.|