Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Big Question: Education

I cannot make decisions.
I am serious.  I literally can. not.
I hate this about myself.
I will look at a choice one way and decide, yes, this is definitely the correct choice.
As soon as I decide this little voice will remind me why the other choice is clearly superior, and I will then think, yes, the second option is definitely the correct choice.  Over and over and over . . .

For those people who seem to so clearly, so indisputably hear the Voice of the Spirit, I envy you.  Sometimes it makes me wonder why I am missing this key component of my relationship with Christ . . .
(but then last night at a bookstore I picked up a book about Knowing God's Will, and it was, like 5,000 pages long and I thought, ya whoever wrote that must not know how to hear it, either).

So this is my current dilemma: homeschool or public school?

Please indulge me (and try to refrain from judging me, ahem), as I fret through this decision on my blog . . . why?  Well, I don't know, maybe I shouldn't . . .

(I am assuming, btw, that I will have some form of a community to homeschool with- I wouldn't do it if we didn't have other people to meet with at least on a somewhat regular basis).

Public School:

This is the camp my husband is currently in and I am persuaded to be in, too (so for those shut-up and submit to your husband people, one point for you).  This is our reasoning:

1.  Life is slightly overwhelming right now with the two younger, sending Sam to school would give me time to focus on them, especially some one-on-one time with my middle, and give Sam a "break" from her younger siblings (whom she handles very well and never complains, but maybe it would be nice for her to have some time without them.

2. I have great hopes and ideals for home educating, but will I constantly feel like I am failing and unable to live up to my own expectations?

3.  The part of teaching that I would love is preparing, gathering materials, planning lessons, doing projects and field trips, and reading together.  The part that I will least enjoy is the repetition (this is a verb. a what? a verb . . .) which, after all is the teaching part, right?

4.  What if I burn-out?   What if I don't enjoy my children anymore?  What if they resent me?  What if I over-protect them from the realities of life?  Will I regret giving up time for my own dreams?  Am I investing too much in my children out of some unfulfilled need in my own life?  Will we become isolated from our culture?


1.  First of all, Ann Voskamp's excellent post convinced both my husband and I that we were committed to homeschooling.  Jim only changed his mind recently when I have been overwhelmed, in wanting to take pressure off of me.  If I take out the weariness factor, which, I hope, will improve as the baby gets older and begins to sleep at night (Lord have mercy), then I think we are both on the fence.

2.  What really convinced Jim, from Ann's post, was the idea of our children gaining their identity and sense of self from us rather than a classroom of kids or a worn-out teacher.

3.  My desire to homeschool is rooted in my hope to give my children a vibrant, free, whole, curious, creative and wonder-filled approach to God's world.  This is the best that I can hope to give them as a mother.  The thought of doing this for many years is both thrilling and intimidating.  I'm not sure I have what it takes to do this, but it is my wish.

4.  I fear a public education (forgive me public school teachers!  I know that this is not always the case) doing the exact opposite: taking the wonder and joy out of learning.

5.  Flexibility, being able to learn wherever we go.  If Jim's job ever changes we can easily move.

6.  I really like being with her, I will miss her being gone all day every day.

7.  Inspiring homeschooling moms who have fueled the desire, like Heidi, Misha, and Janet.

There are other reasons, but these are what comes to me at the moment . . .  just thinking out loud here, we will continue to prayerfully consider what God wants us to do.  Even if Sami does begin public school this year, our plan is to revisit our decision each year and with each child.

Monday, June 13, 2011

God's experiments

there is only one thing you can consecrate to God, and that is
your right to yourself
(Romans 12:1).
If you will give God your right to yourself, He will make a holy experiment out of you.
God's experiments always succeed.

The one mark of a saint is the moral originality which springs from abandonment to Jesus Christ.
In the life of a saint there is this amazing wellspring of original life all the time; the Spirit of God is a well of water springing up, perennially fresh.
The saint realizes that it is God Who engineers circumstances, consequently there is no whine, but a reckless abandon to Jesus.
Never make a principle out of your experience; let God be as original with other people as He is with you.
If you abandon to Jesus, and come when He says "Come," He will continue to say "Come" through you; you will go out into life reproducing the echo of Christ's "Come." That is the result in every soul who has abandoned and come to Jesus.

(Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest)

51. pop beads
52. My Utmost for His Highest never gets old
53. reserving library books online
55. the family together

56. listening to the girls tell jokes to their Uncle Joe, and his responses= my favorite moment of the week
57. This recipe for cumin & oregano beef kebabs was perfect for a crowd= simple, prepare ahead, and everyone loved it.  (I added the garlic-oregano grilled pita, greek yogurt, marinated tomatoes and avocado and lime corn salad linked to in the post- yum!)

58. a new niece or nephew arriving in December!
59. "If we know carefully enough who, what, and where we are, and if we keep the scale of our work small enough, we can think responsibly." -Wendell Berry

60. perfect weather today

61. an hour in the sunshine with two good books

62. a long walk

63. questions they ask, especially the ones that lead to deeper questions about God. (Tonight's question, Why does God make cancer?)

64. a basket of flip-flops by the door

65. our pediatrician, and a not-serious virus

66. books that make me want to cry, change, cheer . . .

67. potted herbs

68. a little date with my middle child

69. Jim's glasses

70. Jesus died and rose again for me.

Monday, June 6, 2011

finding green (1000 gifts)

Happy are they whose transgressions are forgiven and whose sin is put away!  
Happy are they to whom the Lord imputes no guilt and in whose spirit there is not guile!
While I held my tongue, my bones withered away because of my groaning all day long.

For your hand was heavy upon me day and night: my moisture was dried up as in the heat of summer.

Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not conceal my guilt.  
I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD." Then you forgave me the guilt of my sin.
Psalm 32:1-6

31.  "I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order."  -John Burroughs

32.  trading ashes for beauty

33.  happy are they whose transgressions are forgiven

34.  free to be weak, free to fail, freedom from perfection

35.  good words about bad art

36.  kind neighbors

37.  an energetic toddler who never sleeps as long as I think she should, finds a way into everything she shouldn't, demands to be carried all day long and whose constant wail surely causes the neighbors to question my parenting . . . who wears me out and melts my heart at the same time.

38.  the way she shakes her tush when she dances, pokes her belly button for comfort, and the ornery smile she gives when she's in trouble.

39.  washing loads of brights

40.  shade trees

41.  walking paths, hiking trails, finding nature in the city

42.  my grandmother's 85th birthday and smiling thinking that I can't call her because she's never home

43.  discussing books with my other grandmother (even if she wasn't as impressed with Berry as I am)

44.  a faithful and kind husband who helps with the kids, listens to my heart, and forgives his grumpy wife

45.  her nightly 2 a.m. creep into our bed

46.  looking forward to my brother Joe coming home for a visit and the whole family getting together- in Cleveland this time!

47.  Trader Joe's . . . so much to love about you

48.  a new babysitter loved by all

49.  lunch with an old friend


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

sunshine gifts

(a couple days late) I am joining Ann this week in counting His gifts . . .

1.  rejoicing comes in the morning

2.  Zeph.3:14-20

3.  no enemies only grace 

4.  reading together

5.  Wendell Berry

6.  their little voices and listening in on their conversations

7.  Josie's farmer's tan

8.  hot sunshine

9.  summer food, like caprese salad

10.  the baby's rolls of fat

11.  two hours of quiet in the morning, with children ALL asleep past seven, a first in fifteen months!

12.  sloppy braids

13.  laundry day and time to catch-up

14.  a clean (for the moment) house

15.  sleeping with the windows open

16.  ceiling fans

17.  how cool and inviting our bedroom feels in the morning light

18.  one cup of coffee in the morning. 

19.  sundresses 

20.  hand-me-down clothes x 3

21.  pulling out summer clothes for the baby and finding my favorite things that I didn't think I would ever get to wear on a child again

22.  roasted almonds no salt and mango tea, my favorite snack

23.  Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

24.  This, by Natalie Goldberg: 
 "I used to think freedom meant doing whatever you want.  It means knowing who you are, what you are supposed to be doing on this earth, and then simply doing it."
25.  Googling what am I supposed to be doing on this earth? and finding that it is exactly what I want to do (even if I am still not really sure what that means).

26.  dwell in possibility (emily dickinson)

27.  sunglasses, especially heart-shaped ones.

28.  fresh sheets

29.  finally weeding the flower bed and going to get flowers later (yes, it is already June.  Sue me.)

30.  new friends=family friends=life friends=Gift