thinking and homeschool curriculum

there is a change coming.  transitions and new routines loom.  for weeks before my mind starts to pull like a loose thread until i am a bundle.  it is something i can’t stop but also something i have a very hard time recognizing in the moment.  it’s frustrating.

i needed too much time to think.  and now i have to spend a week or two playing catch-up, tidying up after my many distracted moments and too much stillness.  but the looping joy at the end of this mess is that the change will come and i will be completely too prepared for it just in time.

(i wish i could more easily recall the type of clarity that comes to me after weeks of struggle instead of it getting lost in the human drive to avoid.  i wonder why our brains work like that?  perhaps our survival is too comfortable compared to the other creatures.  at times i get stuck in how to figure my way out of my mind’s trap while appearing calm and mature so my kids have a perfect female role model.  they need to see at all times the ideal mother in order to have a perfect childhood my doubt tells me.   eventually, i always return to my senses and remember leveling with them brings about the greatest harmony and sense of freedom in our interaction.  when i am myself, they are more like themselves and we get to have more laughing and peace in our home.  there is far less acting out from all of the ladies around here for attention and sympathy when i accept that perfection is not the goal.  we learn so much more from mistakes and learning to navigate through the muck that follows.  i guess i should make a banner to hang in my kitchen: “OUT WITH THE PRETENSE, IN WITH THE AUTHENTIC, SWEETIES!”  that would be quite funny.)

this phase of keeping my little assistants busy making awesome summer memories is almost done.  they have all nearly reached half-year birthday points and i am hanging on as they all make that transition emotionally.  it’s almost time to have more structured learning.  i get too excited about it and have to remember to keep cool and be a tad aloof so they can have their own experiences.  i have to remember to try and recall what i learned from this most recent loose thread moment in my mind.

by definition we are eclectic, charlotte mason homeschoolers.  curriculum for miss C:

Mathematics — Teaching Textbooks Grade 3 program

Science — brainpop jr. membership, Adventures with Atoms and Molecules Vol. 1  experiments, Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock, nature journal activities via http://handbookofnaturestudy.blogspot.com

Music and Arts Appreciation — Harmony Fine Arts grade 3 program

History/Geography – bi-weekly homeschool co-op Geography class, Heritage History curriculum: Introduction to Western Civilization

Language Arts – Primary Language Lessons by Emma Serl, minimum one hour independent reading time daily, daily handwriting practice

lovely L will read with us each day, play a lot and attend a bi-weekly preschool class through our homeschool co-op.

sweet S will climb/cuddle/crawl/run/grab/laugh/play/listen to stories/scream/cry/wiggle everywhere be an 18-month-old.

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Presently

obsessing on: what is my purpose in this life? (take 3,451,817)

Analyzing the above question for three decades has led to one answer.  It is this: my answer was always meant to be multi-faceted.  i spent so many years earnestly trying to make my purpose fit into one word.  i kept believing that i could think myself into finding a singular objective.  i acknowledge this was partly an immaturity issue but it was a bad habit that has persisted until the present even though i know that there is no singular answer!

a cluttered and messed space makes my mind feel that way.  it begins a cycle of feeling like i am always too late to find my singular purpose and i’ll never get the chance to and worrying if i am not doing a great enough job helping my family develop their purpose(s) and that i am behind and that i should be more prayerful and more creative and finally sewing some pattern out of my books that i cut the material for a year ago or learning to paint with watercolors but i can’t because it’s 4pm and i still haven’t washed the dishes and i am letting myself down and i am trivial and that being a housewife is maddening and why can’t i even do a good job at it and being angry at myself for my mind/heart attention being stuck on house work or my loopy thinking rather than my raising lovely daughters work.

in truth, i would love to have a spotless home.  yet in my heart it doesn’t feel right at this point in my life because then i would have to spend all of my wonderful creative existence focused on that goal and teaching my girls that it should be their goal, as well. (you may disagree and i totally support that but this is my crazy brain and how it processes all of this.)  i don’t want that for me or for them.

tired of feeling overwhelmed again on the clean vs. create issue, one morning i decided to channel all of my objective thinking ability to figure it out.  after a bit of inspiration by imagining what my great-grandmothers would have suggested i do, a plan was born!  and i found my way to keep working away at the many purposes i have held special and felt compelled to do since my girlhood: being a storyteller, a writer, a model, a reader, a seamstress, a designer, a leader, a teacher and a compassionate listener.

my very loved “granny list”

(i know, she isn’t glamorous in any way.  in fact, she’s a bit funny since it took me five minutes to draw up.  i wanted something that looked as though it could have been found in a lovely elderly woman’s kitchen and had been stuck on their fridge for about twenty years.  at least it’s got some color and is recyclable, right?)

the granny list is gentle on me.  it keeps me on track just enough while allowing me to exercise my free spirit approach to existence. my granny list is a daily compass and once i get to my cleaning destination i can pick how little or much should be accomplished each day.  i have no need to feel pressured to take care of every mess elsewhere at once around the house until the proper day.  and if i screw up a week, it’s okay because i can just start over again on the next week.  i am so deeply grateful for my granny list.

presently

daydreaming on: kitchen walls getting pretty after the paint goes up, beauty of possibilities for transplanted flowers all the way from connecticut, quiet time

researching on: slavic folk patterns, romany culture, putting together our own curriculum, watercolor

obsessing on: kitchen trim — orange-gold vs. gray with folk pattern vs. stencil

finding a home

between the ages of 18 and 31 i moved 12 times. it was exhilarating for me. i loved the possibility of each spot, viewing each apartment/house through my highly romanticized filter. i had a single houseplant that only survived two moves in all of the time i lived in any of those locations. one had a kitchen inhabited by the largest silverfish ever. in another i got to indulge views of the tops of trees, watching swirls of birds flock in the dawn and dusk. i worshipped bacchus in more than one and practiced meditation in another that led me to levels of consciousness patterned by streams of colored matter.

at the age of 34 i was barely expecting sweet S and our lives together with all of our girls were beginning to dovetail as happens when the youngest turns one. even so, the idea tinder was sparked and we were off to find ourselves our own house. we stalked the internet, the western PA countryside, every penny we had (including $300+ in the change barrel my husband once kept) and many wishes. and then, our home found us.

it was unwanted and unexplored. the dated snapshots showed a bleak, snowy homestead unusual for the spring bliss of may. driving past became pulling up the drive became parents-only sprints around the property became languishing moments of play and daydreaming. we felt quieted and power-surged every time we would sneak onto the property to look in the windows hoping for purchasing insights. there were signs but nothing that you would find on a home buyers checklist. it was the sound of their feet pulsing along the large porch, the scent on the wind of chilly evenings and balmy afternoons, the feeling of shelter provided by the giant pine buffering the house. but more than anything it was how miss C daydreamed Little House fantasies aloud or how lovely L let her baby toes snuggle in the grass. they already knew through their magical intuition that this was their place — their home.