Wednesday, October 26, 2011

From the learning rooms...

“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy,
excitement and mystery of the world we live in.”
~ Rachel Carson

This homeschooling thing that we do continues to be a work in progress, despite the fact that we have never not done it.  As I've alluded to in previous posts however (see here and here), I still struggle with how to define how we do things.  I'm not sure why I have this need to put a label on our style.  

I guess it helps to have a nice, compact answer to give when questioned by the cashier at Hobby Lobby as to why my kids are accompanying me in the middle of the day.  

The honest answer would really be that I hadn't given it a moment's thought that it was 1:00 and why wouldn't I have my kids with me?  They are pretty much always with me because we are busy living life whether it be at home learning about line graphs or waiting in line somewhere and talking about what patience actually looks like or studying a mural at the Capitol building because that is one of our favorite places in this town or walking our dog around the lake or...

But people don't want to hear that. 

That doesn't fit in with their understanding of school aged children or how learning actually takes place and really, wouldn't I rather kiss my kids goodbye each morning, sigh a big sigh and enjoy that second cup of coffee

And the honest answer to that question, even on my absolute worse days, is truly...


Because, as another year unfolds and I watch my children grow into these new and interesting people who are absolutely fasincating, I'm desperately afraid that I will miss something.  I'm already painfully aware of the way time seems to gain speed the older I get. I don't want to hand over the amazing privilege of being the purveyor of precious time to someone else.  I think I will stay steadfastly stubborn on this one.

And so, in the interest of wasting any more moments of my "wild and precious life" I am going to stop trying to define our approach and, instead, try to refine my approach.   If it is true that my children need my companionship in order to keep their inborn sense of wonder alive, well then...I think I will focus on relationship. 

I will prioritize peace and patience over lesson plans and pages read. 

I will introduce skills and tools to be learned in a context that focuses on their helpfulness in the bigger world and in achieving personal goals as opposed to within an arbitrary scope and sequence outline that says kids of a certain age should be learning said skills and tools. 

I will stop spending so much time on the chair that is situated in front of the computer and more time on the cushion next to them, having conversations about anything and everything because all of it is important, for one reason or another.

I will listen to the millionth joke from Boys' Life magazine because  I realize that there are a lot of "th"s and "sh"s in them and that is something they need to practice.

I will sit next to them at the table while they do their math problems (one of the few "formal" things we do most days) because I understand that sometimes it just feels better to have someone close and when you feel better, you can think more clearly.

I will keep coming up with new desserts to eat while we drink our tea and hot chocolate and I will laugh out loud at the silly nonsense of Edward Lear.

And most of all, I will just breathe.

Because really, in the end, all we really need is

Monday, October 24, 2011

Counting the Gifts {Multitudes on Mondays}

How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days. ~John Burroughs

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything,
That's how the light gets in.
~Leonard Cohen

We went hiking with some dear friends today...a true Indian Summer day.  We all walked with a kind of knowing...that this day was a precious gift of warmth and color and stillness. They say the wind is coming tomorrow and it will blow in change so today was an opportunity to just hang there in the balance. 

And in that magical place, where the light and colors danced and bobbed and sang, the gifts were obvious:

-the joy of friends with whom you can walk and talk and revel in all that is around you, all at the same time
-the lingering warmth of a full October sun that gently whispers, "remember me come January..."
-crunchy leaves and laughing voices
-an amazing creation that sings "Glory" at every turn.  Days like today leave me reeling in the richness of God's creativity and the unleashing of what can only be described as JOY on the day He set the world spinning
-sweet and gentle walkingsticks that scurry across arms and necks and faces and then, just as quickly, disappear among the cedars
-the way sunlight on the river can dance and play "like diamonds"
-the kind of weariness that comes from moving and playing and looking...really looking...and causes you to sink deep under the covers

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Imperfect Prose { the swelling }

So, why is it that I am always taken by surprise each Autumn?
How can the amnesia be both faithful and fickle?

As the days shorten and the nights lengthen and the temperatures frolic up and down
like the whirling leaves they chase
something in me tightens.

I look around and I feel my heart filling
drinking deep every ounce of gold dappled magic,
soaking up patches of calico and wine and rust.

I am awed to be party to such splendor and
I receive it as a gift.

But then the memory of it
this cyclical dance of color and light and glory
begins to swell
and I remember

That the beauty and the depth and the becoming
have been there all along

Could it be with me also?
That if I attune my soul to the steady rhythm
and lay myself
before the light
that something in me will

And that which parades in front of me
be it confidence
self satisfaction
will slowly
and faithfully
from green to gold?