Homeschooling Journal: 2
Well first off, I must go back to yesterday evening when a series of events caused a cancellation of our stop by the river. I closed my little laptop and hopped down the stairs to the main part of my house, assuming the keys would be right where they should have been- the key hook. But they were not. So the next 20 minutes was spent trying to find my keys. (My keys even have a leaf on them that a blacksmith friend made for me back in my heavier craftsmanship days- so they are quite heavy and you can’t miss them.) They finally turned up in my extra bag that I use sometimes for little things I forget to bring until the last minute: an extra carrot or scarf or baby hat, or a protein bar. Onward to the car- only to find that no, the boys had not completed what I had asked them to do: to clean up their little store they’d made from fence-boards & sawhorses topped with dear little “shops”: yogurt containers and little jars filled with various items “for sale”: chalk, bubbles, scratch art squares, to name a few. Walking across the driveway I had to beckon the kids out of the car (where they were all sitting proudly, grinning, waiting for me to come and see their wonderful work of buckling their younger siblings in- so sweet!) to clean up the modeling clay which had not been picked up. Garage door closes, off we go… rush-hour en route to Camas, as usual, but this time a bit heavier. At that moment I knew my chance for having even 10 minutes on the riverside before I had to be at St. Thomas was gone. But I helped to lead the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd class (alongside the wonderful Carrie Mitchell who recently moved back here from Steubenville, OH… ) made up of a bunch of darling, tired little munchkins who are so dear to my heart.
I fell asleep early last night, sleeping hard until 7:30AM which is when my sweet little 5 year old son pops his blonde head above the green dresser dividing our large room and looks to see if I am awake. He always comes over to me and jumps onto the bed with sweet kisses and cuddles for me and my one-year-old baby. It’s one of the best parts of my day, and I always find myself thinking that I wish I could stay there for a whole hour just loving my cuddle-bugs…. if only someone bring me a pot of my Irish Breakfast tea with a side of milk? (Guess I’ll wait till mother’s day…!)
I am in bed again now, though, religiously typing up an entry before hitting the sack. I just finished ironing three of my husband’s work shirts (which I did because it was on my list, but I’ll admit it is a highly therapeutic and favorite chore of mine to do- something about the singe-ey smell of steam on cotton…) and am now trying to be relaxed and cozy with my honey vanilla chamomile tea on my bedside table. It’s cold upstairs, though, so I am still waiting to feel warm.
Report: I’ll be honest, today was an utterly exhausting day. Because last night I chose to leave all of the dishes from yesterdays’ housework hiatus, they were all over my counters most of today as I attended to the more important things like managing chore lists and working out the “he took my…” or “he did this!” -all the normal hubaloo- and my 3 year old daughter’s little runny nose had turned into a full fledged fever overnight so I spent a lot of today tucking her in, rubbing oils on her feet and chest, doing hydrotherapy… offering her sips of water, sips of tea with honey and plates of food that never were touched. Poor dear. (You never know when a fever is going to hit… so scrub those dishes while you can!) I think I’ll resume the paper-plates/bowls thing I did 2 years ago….
Academics: No official “lessons” (aka “homeschooling”) were done this morning, at all. Breakfast fixings and cooler-lunch-for-my-husband-fixings were strewn all over the counter, a very clear indication that people were in a hurry this morning. It wasn’t until 11AM that I actually had a cup of something hot. Later on I was, however, between doing computer “chores” (scheduling appointments, making payments, doing health care practitioner research, etc) and emails and making herbal tea for the children, able to get out some workbooks AND even get to some geography: I read them a story that took place in the deserts of Africa. (They learned, too, that camels most likely have such long long eyelashes because of the dusty climate- they protect their eyes!) They (my 7 and 9 year olds) learned what an Oasis was, where the Mediterranean Sea was, and they had to sketch, in their Main Lesson Books, the general shape of the continent. I also had my oldest read picture books to his feverish sister on the couch, one of which was The Twelve Dancing Princesses” in lieu of his own reading time, given the circumstances. He loves to do this, as long as his sister acts grateful. ;)
Music: score! One of the best parts of Thursdays is when my sister comes to give my boys (ages 5, 7, 9) piano lessons. I can play, and I could very well teach my children how to play…. but there is something about the accountability being held when it’s someone other than your mother teaching you. Not to speak of not having the time! (Yes, I dream of having tutors for many different subjects…. it’s definitely in the thinking cap!) That, and she’s a marvelously warm-yet-strict- teacher who’s piano studio and love of music is her life. I am so blessed.
After a long, long afternoon of dishes, dishes, dishes, folding laundry, sorting through 2 “junk heaps” (random places where misc. piles form from everyone dumping stuff as they move throughout the house, such as: a tiny dinosaur, stray baby socks, a rosary, scraps of paper) and then making & sharing a family dinner, I drove my boys downtown to their choir practice where they, for an hour, in the lit-up choir loft, go to rehearse hymns, learn to read Gregorian chant notation and experience the unified sound of individual voices coming together in the darkness of their beautiful church, St. James ( oldest church in Washington state, founded by the French Canadian Jesuits.) It’s a highlight of their week! My boys were picked up by their Aunt Sadie (my sister) and driven home… I am so pleased that I get to pass on this love of singing to them… I sang in various choirs: a youth choir, chorale or a liturgical schola, from the ages of 7 all the way through till I was 18. Offering up our voices to God becomes a second prayer. My 9-year-old comes in just bouncing and cheerful and full of joy each week. And he is my grumpola, hard to please and always seemingly un-satisfied! He said to me, “Mama, we are lifting our voices to Him and laying the songs at his feet!”
On that note, I’ll go to sleep now. But I’ll leave you with my favorite little glimpse of our day… the sweetness (and danger) of my baby standing up on the couch being a total delight in his home. ‘Till tomorrow, here’s to the sound of gentle rain pattering on rooftops and trickling down gutters…
+ pax christi +