Thursday, August 13, 2009
Two days ago, my kids were up early (around 7:00 a.m.), preparing for school.
We casually washed up and made a beehive for the kitchen to enjoy scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, and oatmeal- along with a choice of toasted wheat bread or store bought biscuits. Lessons began soon after. By 1:00 p.m., the kids were out of school. We spent the rest of the day reading, napping, playing educational games on scholasticnews.com, and both listening to and playing music.
That was two days ago.
This morning we started our day pretty late. Although I'm usually up by 7:00 a.m., I let my oldest daughter (NyGirl) sleep in late. She needed the rest. She was just recuperating from a cold and I knew that school would have to wait. We're finally eating a quick breakfast of toast and a boiled egg. Instead of a regular morning routine of breakfast, music, books, and blocks, my youngest- our toddler (Baby Z.)- has had to adapt to this shift in our routine. She holds up quite nicely as we push our block time up by two hours- learning to keep busy with toys and entertaining herself for a while. School, inevitably, will begin whenever we are ready today.
I am hoping we'll have another school day like we did a few weeks back. I recall vividly the soft, gentle rain that drizzled from early morning until evening. As we drop off NyGirl at her early violin lesson at a local university campus, Baby Z and I head out to the grassy field in front of the building and spread out a cozy blanket on which to lay our snacks, sippy cup, and a bag of toys. Needless to say, it didn't take long for Baby Z to run off with the umbrella, leaving the blankie and toys behind. Let's just say sitting down in a huge field of grass is not attractive to my 20 month old! Running, skipping, and swirling around, feeling the freshly cut blades of dewey grass against her ankles, while watching the chirping birds fly into the overcast sky above was far more of an adventure for Baby Z.
We headed home after NyGirl's lesson and I had her practice a bit. She had learned to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and between her practicing, Baby Z's singing along, and the sound of the splashing rain outdoors, I realized I had happened upon a blissful moment in my mothering experience. Never again would I experience a moment quite like this one: the sweetness, the bliss of two young children enjoying lifelong learning and passion for music without fear. To be innocent, brave, and unafraid-- that is what I saw that afternoon in my children.
Later, NyGirl decides it's time to figure out what happens to a celery stalk if it's dipped into a water glass filled with dye. Her inquisitiveness takes our school day into a different direction.
Fast forward a few days, and we wake up one school morning to a pile of laundry and no washing powder. I pull up a chair to climb to reach the top shelf of our laundry room and dig out some basic ingredients for making laundry detergent from scratch: washing soda, baking soda, borax, and Fels Naptha soap. Immediately after her breakfast, NyGirl wants to help grate the soap. So we turn on some classical music, give Baby Z. her ballet tutu, and NyGirl and I start grating away.
Another out-of-the-box art project.
Amidst our daily math, science, language arts, history, geography and other assignments daily, I've found such freedom and joy in observing my kids grow and learn, pursue their passions with vigor and without fear, and bloom into bright and healthy children.
I think that is what every mother truly wants. Sometimes we forget when school days get hectic and schedules collide with other interests- we forget that our main goal as mothers is to enjoy watching our children grow and bloom as we take a vested interest in them.
I am trying now, after getting started on a late school morning, to remind myself of why I've chosen the path of home education these past few years. I am always convinced that no matter the method of education a family chooses, we all ultimately want the same things for our kids. It can get tough for all of us at times.
But it's those lazy mornings when the gentle rain reminds me of how much my kids enjoy the rain, and how much they enjoy being with me, that I find the strength, the courage, and the conviction to continue on my path of choice for our family.
I am reminded of how much the basics of wholesomeness (showing loving and compassion to one another) and character are so much easier to come by when I can be all the more invested in their lives. I keep telling myself that this short, sweet season will too soon be over, and before long my little girls will be young ladies. In those heart-felt moments, I embrace the present and I focus on today, not tomorrow.
I focus on today.
And today...the girls are relaxing before I start NyGirl on her SAT test practice this afternoon (if she's feeling any better by then). But until then...we relax. We enjoy life.