Archive for the ‘Homeschool’ Category

First Day of Prairie Elms Preschool 2018-2019

September 12th, 2018

Since there’s no time like the present, Prairie Elms preschool reconvened for the 2018-2019 school year on Monday.

Our preschool class 2018-2019

I planned for two students, expecting that we’d do preschool while the little girls were napping –

The rest of our preschool class 2018-2019

but, so far, neither girl has cooperated with anything more than cursory morning naps – so four students it is!

Tirzah Mae first day of school 2018-2019

We do action songs and fingerplays and rhythm sticks and singing lessons. We check the weather and sing the days of the week. We sing the alphabet song and count a little. We read and read and read some more. We do ice cream cone math. And when we’re all done with “school”, we scrub potatoes (sensory win!) and fold laundry (life skills and fine motor). We decorate papa’s birthday cake (Happy birthday, Beloved!) We watch the garden spider on our door. We explore the leaf mould in the herb garden. We harvest basil and dry it. We watch caterpillars and birds and rolly pollies and all sorts of things mama later discovers are pests that she should have killed :-P

Louis first day of school 2018-2019

And when the day is done, we snuggle on the couch with papa and do our family worship.

It’s not much different than regular life, really.

But whatever it is, we’ve declared the preschool year to have commenced!

You have to have something for you

July 30th, 2018

In our recent conversation about homeschooling, my mom stated that “you have to have something for you”.

Then she elaborated. “Intercessory prayer was that for me. And when you all were very young, Agape Handmaidens.”

That was about the extent of that bit of advice. But don’t let the brevity distract you from the wisdom.

Mom was telling me not to forget self-care. This is good. This was good for me to hear from my mother. Because self-care is a buzzword in today’s mommy-world and I’m often quick to dismiss it (out of distrust for anything popular in the parenting world).

But Mom’s elaboration also emphasized the difference between the popular conception of self-care and Mom’s conception of it.

Popular self-care involves manicures and pedicures, massages and spa days, hotel stays. Lots of money. Lots of time. Lots more money for babysitters.

Mom’s self-care was intercessory prayer: spending a couple hours a week praying for others with others, while we kids were babysat (when we were very young) or played independently in our pastor’s basement. Agape Handmaidens? One morning a month the ladies of the church got together to work on hand-work while the children were babysat. Mom often brought laundry to fold while she chatted with the other ladies.

That’s it. That was her self-care.

For this time-starved, uber-frugal mama, that’s exactly what I need to hear.

I do need to have something for me. Taking the time to prepare for and go to Tuesday Connection, our ladies’ Bible study at church, is important. Having that conversation with adults? That’s important.

But I don’t need to feel guilty that I’m not spending lots of money and lots of time doing those things that seem to me like pointless indulgences.

Separating “I wish I could have” from “I wish I had”

July 18th, 2018

When I was in Lincoln last month, I asked my mother about homeschooling. Specifically, I asked her what advice she would have given twenty-seven-year-old her as she embarked on her homeschool journey.

She had a hard time coming up with an answer because, she told me, “There are things I wish I could have done, but they just weren’t possible.”

She wishes she could have taken more field trips with us. But she had seven children in ten years – and taking those field trips just wasn’t possible.

She wishes she could have provided more opportunities for certain of my siblings to follow their interests more. But those things just weren’t possible in the circumstances she and we were in.

So she did what she could.

Even though that statement wasn’t advice, per se, I found in it a useful principle.

It’s valuable to separate the “I wish I could have” from the “I wish I had”.

Maybe I wish I could do x, y, or z but time, money, or energy makes it impossible.

I wish I could have taken my older littles to baby storytime at the library – but they were NICU babies and needed to avoid other kids.

That’s a clear cut one. Others aren’t so obvious, but they’re there anyway.

I wish I could do more outings with the children period – but I’m a homebody and I get really crabby at my children if I’m running all day. In this season of intensive mothering, limiting our time outside the house to two days during the week keeps me sane and enables me to manage myself and treat my children with compassion (most of the time).

Sometimes, I need to let go of the things I wish I could have done. I need to let go of the dreams I had of being this or that sort of mother.

I need to do what I can, not be forever regretting what I can’t (or being a terrible mother in the now because I’m doing something I really shouldn’t).

Side note: Lest you get the wrong impression, 27 is what my mother would have been (give or take) when she was in my situation child-wise. I got started quite a bit later and am definitely *not* in my 20s any more :-)

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