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Wild and Open

IrisThings seem to be falling into place better lately.  There are still all the usual (and unusual!) interruptions, but I am feeling more efficient.  I like seasons like that and I am so happy to have found one again.  The yard is mowed, the laundry is ALL folded and put away, the next month of school planning is done, and I've got Mike on board to move some furniture clutter out of the house.  And I get a new bathroom on Monday, I hope.  We really have wonderful people coming, so I am okay with the delays--they're worth it.  Now, if I could just find more time to sew, we'd be really set!

In other news, I read this really, really wonderful essay about wildness and what it means for childhood.  The author was the same woman who wrote A Thousand Rivers, which I also really love.  These essays are the kinds of things that set me right again about homeschooling, when I am feeling discouraged.  The terms "self-willed" and "open attention" really resonated with me.  Those are truly things that are part of our dreams for our children.  They have such a strong and sometimes frustrating desire to learn and do, that I find myself struggling to keep things in balance.

School, oh, it is not the place for us.  I am continually stunned and disheartened by the things I hear from my best friend who is a local teacher.  I try really hard to just listen and not spout off things about being glad I homeschool--her job is extremely important and there are a headspinning number of details she must attend to.  She has so many things to weave together, so many limits, so many checks and balances, so little freedom.  And what a difficult juggling act it all is.  It is, after all, raising other people's children.

I remember being asked each pregnancy why it was that I was planning a homebirth.  This was a standard question for our midwives and it was always a bit of a head-scratcher to me.  Because it felt right?  Really, I'm a person who often goes with feelings (despite being terribly logical) and homebirth felt right.  I did the research, I read dozens of books, I took good care of myself, and I kept my ducks in a row.  It was the obvious choice for my family.  So, I often think about why I am homeschooling my children.  It's because I want them to grow up to be whole people and homeschooling is just one thing I can do to stack the odds in their favor.  Homeschooling is well with my soul (even if the grammar is a little off).

Pocket BouquetLiving as cloistered as I do and having many friends who homeschool (and are far away), I don't really find myself being questioned too much.  That is a wonderful blessing, in addition to being able to ask questions about the logisitics and the long view.  The occasional person we meet will find out and be glad, generally.  Glad that my children don't have to live with the fear of a school shooting or (excessive) standardized testing, glad they will have skills like gardening or sewing.  It's funny the people who are really quite agreeable to the idea.  I wouldn't have expected it, honestly.

Truly, I want my children to be whole and have a strong hold on themselves.  I want them to have real skills for an predictably unpredictable world.  I want them to know everyday things that we often take for granted as modern culture loses its hold on the past.  My children know what the difference between a sickle and scythe is and they know edible plants.  I have a hope for teenagers who use their burgeoning skills to serve others and do real things.  My grandmother has a teenage neighbor who has his own sizeable garden plot--that's what I'm talking about!

I'm not talking about having the brightest math whiz in town or the kid who can program computers.  Those things are fine and they are welcome to pursue them, but there is much more to a life well-lived.  Jobs fall through, plans change, and then there are turnips to squeeze blood from.  I want children who are open to it all, who welcome challenges.  I've been told several times by different people that this path we are on is a good one, that our family is learning important lessons.  I feel very blessed to hear their kind words, truly.  I wish I could form similar ones to say just how thankful I am.  I guess that's part of my home education.


( 4 trees — Plant a Forest )
Apr. 29th, 2016 02:05 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you ar feeling encouraged and caught up. You are doing good work! Your kids are a pleasure to be around, too.

I know we do schooling rather differently, but I have similar reasons for it. I don't want them to grow up to only know how to do classes! I want them to know how to run a house, how to make and fix things, how to entertain themselves, and how to learn what they need or want to learn without someone cramming it down their brains.
Apr. 30th, 2016 10:13 am (UTC)
Thank you! Yours, too. I wish we were closer together and could share more time.
(Deleted comment)
May. 2nd, 2016 09:34 am (UTC)
It is a lot of stress! And it is often blamed on the children that they are not able to handle it all. No way, it would be hard for a grownup to juggle. Fundraisers. Goodness. The only one we ever enjoyed was the Care Bear wrapping paper band fundraiser. ;-)

I agree, of course, that fostering the desire for learning and creativity is so important--it's easy to squash, even at home. I have to remember to just let them try the hard things for the simple satisfaction it gives.
( 4 trees — Plant a Forest )

A Blessed Wilderness

It was just like being in heaven, being in there. In those days there was no road. The park was all a blessed wilderness. I have often thought what a wonderful people we would have been if we had wanted to keep it that way.

~Adolph Murie, biologist, on Denali


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