Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Dear Friend's Thoughts on Home and Family~

Hello there and welcome!
I hope this mid week post finds you happy and peaceful!

Regular readers here know that many bloggers have linked a  wealth 
of inspiration and encouragement,
 as well as practicality, each week during my memoir blog carnival.
 Memoir Monday  has been graced, here in this space,
 and for that, I am very grateful.
I am quite lucky to have the great fortune of bloggers 
who link up thought provoking, powerful reflections.
We see the craft of memoir writing in many forms each week.

I do have one dear friend,
 however, who writes, but does not blog.
After jotting her feelings, she was kind enough to email her reverie to me, 
as she felt her reflection was closely related to my Memoir Monday post,
I am so happy she did!
I asked her, my good friend, Denice,
homeschooling mom of four,
if I could post her piece in this space.
She was, lucky for us, willing and happy to share:

Yesterday as I sat outside on a blanket under a tree, I watched as my boys played a game of kickball with their homeschooling gym class.  It was entertaining, and the sun was shining, and I was there, taking it all in. It was beautiful. 
The laughter, the warmth, the breeze, the whole thing, pure simple beauty. 
 And the gym teacher, he played too, and he was having fun. My boys each took their turn to sneak a glance at me and smile and wave.  At some point the dog from across the street, who is oh so comfortable with this little homeschooling haven came rambling across the way to say hello.  
During a break, my boys and I took a walk down a winding path, under the sun and surrounded by green and we talked and we laughed and afterwards we each took a swing and tried to make our feet reach the leaves on the trees.  
I sat and talked with other moms while the kids were in their classes. It was refreshing and every week it invigorates me, gives me renewed strength to do what I'm doing. It is my version of what I recall my own mom telling me would take place so many years ago, when I was a kid. I do recall some of this from my own memories, stirred by my dear mom's own recollections.  Moms on the same street would talk to one another, share funny stories or woes over cups of coffee, or in the very least wave hello from their front porches and inquire about family members and family troubles and family joys. 
My street doesn't have that, most moms and dads are both at work now,  so this homeschooling "school" that my kids attend once a week with other homeschooled children is my "street", my "neighborhood". I can talk to moms, we can relate, we can give advice or just listen and laugh, oh yes we do a lot of laughing. We make plans to see one another, get the kids together. We all have something pretty amazing in common too, besides the fact that we all homeschool, we share an even stronger bond, our faith.  We all trust and know that we are in God's hands and that He will give us the courage and the strength to face whatever comes our way. And we realize what a blessing it is just to be able to sit and watch a game of kickball on aWednesday morning; what a blessing it is to be able to be with our children throughout every day when so many parents barely get to spend time with their own children now; what a blessing it is that we can sit and talk openly of our faith and pray for one another.  We take joy in all of these blessings, unspoken joy that is etched in each of our hearts and revealed by a smile, a knowing nod, a hand on a shoulder. 

Today at about 10am I was sitting on my front porch watching my goofy boys ride their bikes up and down the sidewalk in their cowboy hats.  Our elderly neighbors have much entertainment when they peek out their windows during the day!  My hot and tired cowboys stop and ask if they can have a popsicle, it's not even close to lunch time but I say yes.  

Life is short.  

So here we sit on a Thursday morning, talking, enjoying popsicles and sun. I've decided it will be a light school day. This evening brings hockey practice and baseball practice.  Tomorrow morning a trip to the art gallery, a field trip with friends. We'll look for works of artists we've been studying at home, discover new artists as well. 

Life is good.

Life is different too.  

No longer are the neighborhoods filled with children outside after school or even on the weekends. No longer are neighborhoods filled with moms being at home and coming in connection with other moms on the street. Families aren't connecting with other families, at least not in many neighborhoods although I'm sure out there somewhere there are those gems. If you live in one of those neighborhoods you truly are blessed; it is not all that common these days.
Our gems are these regular gatherings we have with our friends and families, whether it be in an educational setting like a field trip or a leisurely get together like a picnic in the park or a day at the zoo or just hanging out.

It seems today that in general people are busy and people are afraid.  Too busy to connect, too afraid to connect.  The world seems more dangerous than when we were kids, we don't know who to trust anymore, as a result our streets have either grown silent, with many staying to themselves, or violent, with fighting. 

I sometimes wonder if perhaps in part that also people have taken for granted their children's childhood. 

They grow up so quickly.
And with all that is going on in this world today, in a place of uncertainty about the safety of our children and about what the world holds for them in the future....I relish in these years, years that can never be gotten back. 
 I relish in the fact that I have so much time with my children, that I am blessed with this opportunity to watch them grow. I am blessed to unfold the treasures they hold in their precious little minds every single day. I am blessed to mold their education to fit each child so that they are learning in a way that is most beneficial to them.  
And yes, I am blessed to have the ability to protect them to the extent that I do. 

People, even strangers, ponder over whether I'm being too protective. Over whether homeschoolers are too protective in general. 

"Too protective"'s really nonsensical if you think about that. 

I am my children's mother, their guardian, it is my job to protect them. They need to be children, they need to be able to embrace those small sweet joys that children should without the worries of the world on their shoulders. 
 I shall protect them from what I can for as long as I feel I should.  I am able to do that even moreso in educating them at home. 
I have created an environment for them that resembles somewhat the childhood I had. And although our street is quite empty of other children to play with, we meet with friends often, and on days that friends aren't available, my boys have each other.  
Nothing wrong in that. In fact they have many hours of pure fun together, brainstorming new ideas of ways to entertain themselves. 
Make believe worlds, matchbox cars in the dirt, drawing, coloring, cutting, and pasting,  running down the sidewalk as fast as they can pulling their brothers in our wagon with the one loose wheel. I look on knowing that wagon could tip over at any moment on a sharp turn but also knowing that skinned knees and bumps on the head are all a part of growing up. These little injuries I choose not to protect them from, they live and learn by those.

I thoroughly enjoy homeschooling, I am blessed to homeschool, and I will continue to do so for as long as I am able. 
My children enjoy homeschooling as well, although one of them might be quick to tell you that they just don't like having to do school work, period, "no matter where the schooling takes place." 
Even though there are days when I am just worn out, frazzled or frustrated, to me this is not a burden or a sacrifice.  
Even when the boys are having a hard day, which does happen, here and there they have a hard time behaving or concentrating, but still, it is not a burden. It is a privilege. A tremendous privilege.
And most days are pretty darn good. 
Some have asked me how it feels to not have much time to myself, but I don't look at it that way.  This is what I want to do, this is where I want to be, there is where I am meant to be right now. And my children do sleep, so bedtime allows some time to myself and with my husband, to reflect, to regroup, to refresh.
At the end of each day I will never say that I wish I hadn't spent so much time with my children.
Especially those school days when we can hunker down in our pajamas and cuddle up to read together on the couch. Or a day spent in the kitchen recreating the effects that meteorites had on Mercury's surface using flour and marbles and rocks.  These are the days I will cherish always.
Our days are not perfect,  I am surely not the perfect parent nor the perfect teacher. My children are not always the perfect students. But we are happy and we embrace these imperfections and can even find humor in them.   
My children are content and they are doing well, both socially and academically. 

Homeschooling may not be for everyone. Some may disagree with it. Some may not have the ability to do it because of their financial situation and both parents having to work.  I understand that, and I would never presume to tell anyone what is best for their children.  But, I must say, for someone that went in protesting (me) after God had sent so many signs, so many people, that led me to this, I do not regret one day of it.  And I'd venture to say that most moms whom homeschool would say the same.  

For every reason people have given me why I should not homeschool (yes, people can be very forward in this way) or why they feel they never could ( I never ask but somehow when people learn that I homeschool they feel the need to tell me why they personally could never do it), 
I can give more reasons in return why I do it and why I think it is the most wonderful journey I have been blessed to be a part of. 

An important note:  I could do none of this without the help of our dear Christ and His Blessed Mother!  If not for Their guidance and helping me with patience and discernment and the strength I draw from Them, I would not be able to carry through on this path. 

Prayer is my fuel. And the people that God has sent to me to support and help me along my way, they are my fuel as well, each of them a  wonderful gift, family and friends included. 

A chorus of recorders are sounding in the next room, and there's a watermelon waiting to be sliced, and a science book is calling our names.

And so.....this wonderful, chaotic, crazy, beautiful, ever-changing journey continues.....

Thank you,  Denice!
There is so much to love about this and ponder over....

Don't you think Denice should begin a blog??
I know I'd frequent her spot n the web!
And I am positive many others would as well....

Thank you all for stopping in.
Have a lovely day!

 Until next time,


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