Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Those moments...

We've been on this homeschooling journey for over 10 years now. When I started teaching my oldest (now 13), I jumped at every glimmer of indication that she was ready to learn something. When she'd pretend to read a book because she had it memorized, and ask me to tell her the sound of this letter and that letter and ask me every day to teach her to read, we started reading lessons at 3 years old. When tears fell during lessons, both of us frustrated, both of us clueless about why she couldn't remember what "a" said from one lesson to the next, I wondered what was wrong with my teaching or even worse, my kid. When she started counting everything in sight, apples, blocks, toy cars, I began playing math games with her, then found myself growing irritated because the math facts I was teaching her didn't "stick". She eventually learned to read, though was reluctant and shy for a long time, and she learned to add and subtract, yet she struggled thinking she was terrible at math. Tears shed through these pioneer days caused me to seek better ways. 

During those early years, I read and reread different homeschooling "experts", I struggled with who I believed, what style of homeschooling fit my kids as students and me as a teacher. I wrestled between feeling encouraged by all my blog surfing research one moment, and devestatingly discouraged the next by the picture perfect homeschool days that I'd read hoping for inspiration. 

Somewhere along the line, through trial and error, blood, sweat and tears, piles of curriculum and many moments of hand wringing, I figured out who I was and am as a homeschooler, as a mom. One thing that has changed since the early years, is that I have figured out that the lightbulb moments happen for each child at their own time regardless of whether I push them to tears or wait patiently, even when well meaning folks start whispering "shouldn't he" or making the occasional  "you would think" comments. What I've also discovered is that pushing a child who isn't ready brings tears and frustration to both mom and child. Yet, providing a rich learning environment, giving kids room to soak up, enjoy and explore while awaiting the "lightbulb" moment, results in a quiet cheerfulness even if it does mean we sometimes end up waiting for break-throughs longer than "normal". 

Today was one of those days, seemingly normal by all accounts, we spent the day catching up on school work, doing chores, playing outside. In the evening, Micah was showing Elliott how he had learned to tie his shoes when Grandma Joyce had visited this weekend. Caleb looked on, having never been interested in tying his own shoes before. Now, he was suddenly motivated. Something I've offered to teach for years without any interest was learned in less than three minutes with smiles and giggles. 

I'm not always perfect at this relaxed approach, I get frustrated at not being able to explain a topic sufficiently, or I become impatient in the waiting. I struggle to tell the difference between a lack of understanding or a handful of laziness. But then a moment like this happens, and I'm reminded to keep persevering, keep hoping for understanding, keep praying for my children. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Little glimpses...

I've not been able to articulate all the thoughts percolating around in my head. And I haven't done a fantastic job of photographically chronicaling our adjustment to North Texas. But here's a few glimpses into what we've been doing. 

While the twins were at practice and we were still living in the hotel, we tried finding a Kohl's without taking the toll roads. We got lost and found this really cool pond that had at least fourty turtles in it. 

I love how many push-ups Noah has to do at TaeKwonDo. He's learning a lot about self-discipline. 

Our first trip to the laundromat. Caleb and Micah were enthralled by the huge washers and dryers. 

While we waited for the movers, the kids tried out their new tree. Plans for reading in the tree, eating in the tree, hiding in the tree, were made by all. 

21,000 pounds. I'm still in shock by that number. And especially grateful for all the purging I did over the last year or so. I've come across very few items that I thought, why did I bring that. Because of the purging, it was more like "welcome home". I wish they could have just weighed the books, I wonder how much my paper friends contributed to that crazy weight! 

And now, let's begin. :) 

The church we began attending had a Foundation Dedication party and handed out Sharpies. We've actually settled on this church after visiting a few. I'm so glad we went, our little "mark" on the foundation will soon be covered with flooring, but it's neat to remember all the prayers and blessings soaked into that foundation. 

Our first of three major trips to IKEA. If we were to move again anytime soon, we'd weigh a lot more. :) 

Friends came to help with unpacking. We spent one morning acting like animals at the Dallas Zoo. 

A free Andrew Peterson concert!!! 

Getting to the book boxes slowed me down significantly. I really want things to make sense as they get put away. I'm not sure when I'll ever finish the books. 

We found a living history farm and museum near our house. We spent the day there with some new friends on Friday. 

Hannah has always wanted to see Matilda since she participated with CYT. When we saw it was coming to Dallas, we bought tickets. It was a great show! 

Current state of my art and science bookshelf. I'm off to try to make a little more sense of it. :)