Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Much ado about...much to do!

By now, I suspect it's fairly obvious that I'm not exactly a blog-everyday-blogger. I admire people that can do least, I think I admire that. As long as it's not a daily exercise in self-absorption. That gets not only unproductive, but wierd. So to those readers who can give me a courteous tip of the hat for a once or twice-a-month post, I send a heartfelt THANK YOU! I'm a passionate person who longs for my life to make a difference, but because of that I do have a tendency to rack up a must-do list that feels like the Sword of Damocles dangling over my head! One of the things I do to combat that is to occasionally pull out my favorite homeschooling books. I try to find a few moments every day to sit quietly and talk to God, and read a Psalm or two to bring my thoughts back to Him and His heart for my children. Those things remind me that while information and activities have their place, our primary motivation for educating our children at home is to provide them with a God-centered, family-focused and peaceful and enriching environment in which to grow and learn. Surrounded by classic literature, biographies, God-honoring music and opportunities to explore nature and science in their own backyard and home, we believe our boys are indeed getting just that. They're also getting what I think is a bonus extra in education, by helping me with my natural bath and body web business. They're learning about the blessing of serving others, glorifying God, and the joy of making beautiful, pure items from His creation that make people's lives better and healthier. And while it's not necessarily the funnest part of having a business/ministry, they're also learning the value of organization, time management, meeting deadlines, and bookkeeping and inventory. And perhaps just as importantly, I'm learning those things, too. :) It's yet another way the Lord has shown us how much he values keeping families together and using our gifts to bless others in His Name.

We seem finally to have settled into a basic routine around studies, too. Our high schooler is by far the busiest of the boys, with his schoolwork, Jr. ROTC and a part-time job to balance. We're determined to keep his schedule from getting too crazy, but we also see the value in teaching him the meaning of healthy occupation and productivity. Because he loves history and literature, we're able to include both of those areas of study in a pretty casual way by daily periods of quiet reading. Our 10 yr-old is an even more eclectic and voracious reader, and is content to snuggle into one of the rockers in our library and lose himself in book after book. Our 2 yr-old loves books, too, though at the moment he's just a bit hard on them. But when I'm tempted to keep them all out of his tiny little hands, I can imagine Charlotte Mason looking at me and saying with soft understanding, 'he must touch books in order to love books.' I agree, Charlotte. So I remind him that books are wonderful, and that we must be soft with them, and I'm rewarded by the happy twinkle in his eye when he sees that Mama thinks he's very special to allow him to look at them like his big brothers. A torn book here and there is surely a small price to pay in order to nurture our tiny little bibliophile.

Our 10 yr-old has brought a very special surprise into our homsechooling mix. It seems that almost from birth he was an artist extraordinaire. He absolutely has to be doing something creative almost all the time--drawing, making puppets, sculpting, cut-and-paste, you name it. Just today he discovered a giant piece of brown wrapping paper from a box of supplies that UPS delivered, and immediately unrolled it and started drawing scenes from The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred Lord Tennyson. When he asked several questions about the event chronicled in that book, we went to the bookcase and pulled it off the shelf, and enjoyed a very interesting discussion about such concepts as honor, sacrifice and the meaning of a pyrrhic victory. It was fascinating, sweet and I was immediately humbled and thankful that such moments are a frequent part of being a home schooling family. It wasn't planned, but it was rich and beautiful. When those moments arrive in coming months that I feel fatigued and out of ideas, I'll look back on that moment as affirmation that the boys are exactly where they need to be. And so is Mama. Praise the Lord!