Monday, March 17, 2014

Musings on the education of children. . . and mothers

"As September approaches, and with it my entree' into the wonderfully exhilarating and altogether terrifying world of being an educator, I have begun to give some thought to what my goals are and what methods I will use to achieve them. I am impressed with the array of options and curricula available now that were not around in the 1980's when my parents began their own journey of educating their children. Thankfully the days of hiding in our homes, virtual prisoners, with curtains drawn, until the magic time of half past three every afternoon arrived and we were allowed out to play are distant memories from the dark ages in the history of home educating."

I wrote those words several years ago and never finished or published that post. And I haven't published anything since. . . until now. It isn't hard for me to figure out what happened. Almost unbelievably, since I thought I had already been running at mach-10, life accelerated. Around the same time I began officially teaching our eldest, I learned I was pregnant with our fourth child. For me, being pregnant at 34 was a lot more difficult than when I was in my twenties. I felt like I had an odd sleeping sickness. I would literally lose hours of time - sometimes falling asleep mid-sentence.

Since those foggy days, life has been full of teaching, disciplining, planning, organizing, cooking, and gardening as well as a few months a few years back of packing, moving, de-wallpapering, and painting. Yes, we moved about 1/2 hour farther east on Long Island to plant a church in Northwestern Suffolk County. We currently have three children that we are formally educating and one that is busily occupying herself with dolls and coloring books until her turn to begin.

I still struggle at times with planning. It took me years to figure out what a meal plan would look like for me. It is easy to say, "I need a meal plan." It is another thing altogether to figure out how to make it work. Even now, the worst times for me are when I have reached the end of my plan and I need to go over our schedule and put in the next five-ten weeks of meals. It isn't as hard as it used to be, but sadly it is still a task that requires motivation for me.

Now that my children are getting older, I am happy to be able to share the responsibilities of the household chores with them. I told them that I know they have great ideas that could probably work better than my routine, but I want them to learn my way of doing things first and then branch out with permission. That way, I can teach them my methods, tips, and tricks and they can practice the humility needed to work under someone else. I do want them to learn why I do what I do, but I also want them to realize that there won't always be a simple answer, or any answer given. While I appreciate creativity and initiative, sometimes they will just need to follow orders without question, get on board with my agenda, and not modify it to suit them.

Sometime soon (I hope!) I will post more vignettes of our life. Already the children are enjoying the glimpses from when they were smaller. For now, I have children to teach, bread to bake, and closets to clean.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sports: from my kids' perspective

This evening, while I was making dinner in the kitchen, my husband spent a few minutes perusing various sports channels on TV. Katie showed unusual interest in the games and peppered Ben with questions, which he answered almost absentmindedly. Andrew occasionally jumped in if he thought he had the better perspective on the situation - I was hard-pressed not to laugh out loud!

On soccer:

(Katie) They have to be in really good shape, huh, Daddy?
(Daddy) Yep, they have to run a lot.
(Katie) They have to be careful when they fall! When do they win?
(Daddy) When the time is over.
(Katie) You mean they have to keep playing?
(Daddy) Unless the coach subs them out.
(Andrew) Or until their lunch is ready!

On basketball:

(Katie) Why are their feet squeaky?
(Daddy) Because their shoes stop quickly on the court.
(Katie) Why did he fall?
(Andrew) He double-crossed him, I guess.

On baseball:

(Katie) Daddy, you know that game where they hit the ball with the stick and then run? Can we watch that?

Ah, that's my girl.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Apologies for my long absence. . .

Yes, friends, it has been a long time - a long time - since I last posted. The reason for this is simple: after transferring my blog to Google, I promptly forgot my username and password. It was a sad thing to be able to visit my blog, but be unable to "speak" to it. It was like one of us, like the sad beasts in Narnia, had forgotten how to speak.

But, obviously, since I am now posting this, I have had my memory refreshed thanks to the technical support of Mark and my husband.

I cannot promise that I will post more frequently than in the past, but at least I will now be able to do so when the mood comes upon me.

Hmm. I can't help but wonder how many of my friends will read this and if they do, how long it will take them to get here?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Christopher Robin & The White Birthday

What do you do when your three-year-old insists on speaking with a Christopher Robin accent? "Mummy, are we going to chuch today?" "May I have a cracka?" I mean it is fairly normal for our two-year-old to have trouble with his "l" and "th" sounds: bwue is his favorite color and he finks he should play wif his car now. . . but a British accent from his sister?!

Did you know that all birthdays are supposed to have a color theme? Apparently all kids know this. Last year my daughter informed us about a month before her third birthday that she wanted a Pink Birthday. We were a bit amazed, but we strove to please: pink balloons, pink napkins, pink cookies, even pink whipped cream for the strawberries! This year we have been told that she needs a White Birthday. That shouldn't be too hard, right? I have to admit that I laughed when she proceeded to inform her daddy that he needed a Black Birthday this year!

Friday, September 29, 2006

It Happened in Brooklyn. . .

So I got a call from a friend in Brooklyn late one night. She was beside herself with glee. In the most dramatic of tones, she said, "Do you know who I saw tonight? Do you know who just autographed my copy of "Pride and Prejudice?" " She paused for effect and then squealed, "Colin Firth!!"

Apparently, Helen Hunt is directing a movie down there and Colin is in it. My friend watched them film one scene about fifty thousand times. I admit that I would not have stayed that long, but she is nothing if not determined. When the shoot was over, she did need a nudge from her husband, however, before she got up the courage to intercept Colin, who was a little grumpy after a long day of filming the same scene over and over, and gush out that "Pride and Prejudice" was the greatest movie ever made! That earned her a smile and Colin agreed to autograph the dvd.

I heard from my friend again last night and the crew will be filming again next Monday and Tuesday. . . she wants me to come. I looked over the schedule and I don't think I will be able to go, but wouldn't it be fun?
I just might need to watch "Pride and Prejudice" again soon.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Pickles, Band-Aid's & Crayons

We took the kids out for dinner last night to Friendly's. (For those of you unacquainted with Friendly's, it is basically a slightly more upscale, "sit-down" version of McDonald's - with better ice cream.)

Andrew "ordered" the hotdog while Katie preferred the grilled cheese. Andrew calmly extracted the hotdog from the bun and devoured only the meat. Note: this is standard procedure for my kids - they don't understand hotdog buns yet. This was made evident by the fact that when we next noticed Andrew he was gleefully dipping the bun into the ketchup mound on his plate (intended for the fries) and then eating it.

Katie, on the other hand, daintily ate her sandwich, being very careful not to ingest any of the dreaded crust. She then ate all of her pickles. It is funny to watch the difference between Andrew's and Katie's eating styles. Andrew stuffed as many pickle slices into his mouth as possible. Katie ate each slice in two bites - I may have imagined it, but I think she even had her "pinkie extended."

All day yesterday, Katie had been trying to convince me to put a Band-Aid on her finger. She insisted that there was an "owee" on it. I spent all day trying to convince Katie that since there was no blood in sight, a Band-Aid was not needed. (She has gone through almost an entire box of Band-Aids since the beginning of May.) At the restaurant last night, she remembered her hurt finger and soberly, with much theatrics, wrapped her entire hand in a napkin. Apparently doctors have underrated the healing powers of napkins, because about five minutes later, she pronounced the wound "all better" and removed the napkin. Amazing breakthrough in medical technology!

Andrew, meanwhile, was engrossed in the crayons (or "cray-rons" as he calls them) that restaurants such as this give out with the kids' menus/worksheets/scribble sheets. He discovered that if he took the straw out of his plastic cup, the crayons would fit into the hole in the lid. So the blue and green crayons took a swim in the dregs of his apple juice. At some point, he fished the crayons out of the cup, because we noticed that he was a bit disgusted at the soggy wrappers and solemnly stripped them off the crayons.

By the time we left the restaurant, both children needed to be washed - Andrew would have benefited from a pressure wash.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Hey, y'all want some so-wus?

"Hey" is the most commonly used Southern greeting. So, "Hey, Y'all!" One of these days, I'll try to post something in Brooklynese. Actually, I might be speaking it in the near future. Maybe I already am! For instance, I now find it hard to just say "sauce" when referring to the red stuff that you put on spaghetti. I accidentally say, umm, I wonder how to spell this? So-wus?

My three years of Southern living still show up sometimes, too. Typically I have trouble pronouncing the word "I." It frequently comes out "Ah." There is something so comforting and welcoming in the soft South Carolina accent.

I really hope people don't think I am making fun of them: I'm not. I have decided that since I am from the West Coast and there really aren't any native accents out there, I tend to pick up bits of every accent I am around. You should have heard me talk in South Carolina. At the school there were people from New Zealand, Wales, Texas and Canada, to name a few. I don't think anyone there knows how I really talk. Don't ask me to put on different accents when you are with me, though. I only talk like the people I am with.

We are now living on Long Island. In our church, there are Irish, Italian, Indian (via Guyana), transplanted Southerners, etc. You should hear me now.