It is nigh to July.
And I can feel the itch to school-plan. Which makes no sense to my I’m-relaxing-and-it’s-still-summer self.
Nevertheless, the itch is there and mostly it’s because when I’m not pressured to get a lesson done or feeling the push to “do school”, I remember why I love homeschooling in the first place.
This morning I let the kiddos play outside with no chores; feeling rather out of sorts and trying to come up with something fun to do that wouldn’t involve a.) packing anyone or anything up or b.)much effort.
I’m pretty sure that both a and b are synonymous.
All I really wanted to do was sit in the cool and quiet with no noise and knit peacefully, thinking lots of profound thoughts and sipping cold brew.
However, there were chickens dead because some unknown predator had gotten into the chicken house (again!) and beheaded more of our dwindling brood. Due to said circumstances there was one very upset 11 year old who wanted to find said predator and do away with him Once and For All.
There was also a puppy and various cats/kittens who continued to sneak in through all the various doors left open and I said/yelled (I could seriously use a foghorn.) for the 12 billionth time for ALL THE PEOPLE TO SHUT THE DOORS PLEASE AND THANK YOU. I may or may not have added those last four words but surely one of the 12 billion times I did.
I continued wearily brainstorming to come up with a plan. Weary at 10:30? Yup. Sadly.
Going to get ice cream for lunch? While I love the idea…Nope. That involves effort and packing. And it also involves risking a sugar-high naptime encounter. Regardless of effort and packing I Was Not going to go there.
My mind settled on the best idea yet.
Lemonade and a read aloud.
Oh yes. Along with some almost freezer-burnt banana chocolate chip muffins that have been languishing in my freezer. No one minded them, since they all wanted at least two.
I squeezed a whole bunch of lemon juice in a gallon jug, dumped some stevia in, (no sugar! Woot!) added a BUNCH of ice, filled it with water, and poured 5 cups full. And sweaty kids sat down with eyes lit up like it was Christmas when I pulled out the read aloud that had also been languishing, though not in my freezer.
(Confession: there are way too many read alouds we have begun, and not finished.)
This one was “The Treasure Seekers” by Edith Nesbitt, and the munchkins settled into munching and then drawing/coloring/water beads. Water beads! Go get some! Now! Even if you aren’t a kid! (Again, I digress. But these things are awesome. I didn’t want to stop playing with them while I read out loud.)
We read a couple chapters, and it was awesome. And it was what kindled the reminder-fire of why I love this.
At the end of the school year it seems like all my good intentions fly right out the window and the kids are way more on their own, math, copywork, math, copywork, over and over.
It wears us all out and it’s boring.
Morning Time, with it’s prayers and singing and memorizing and read alouds and fun science facts and mapwork and nature drawings and poetry, all but disappeared from March/April on.
And Morning Time is what I love. It’s what draws us together. To begin our day with prayer centers all of us, and reminds me of my most important work, teaching truth, goodness, and beauty.
Funny poems, sometimes just one, that make everyone laugh. Sometimes we can’t stop and there are choruses of “one more! Read one more!”
The excitement of knowing one or 5 more states, the standing and singing the doxology. The tea time and the satisfaction of another verse tucked into our memories.
This is why I love to homeschool. Because of the relationships. The time spent together. The learning together.
We have been in somewhat of a survival mode for a few months, and it’s so much easier to just send them off to play, or to do their math, and that’s ok too. Sometimes you really do need to sit quietly with cold brew and knitting on the couch.
But for today, I am realizing that the fun got drained away and it’s time to come back to coming back together.
We read at least two chapters and by then it was lunch time and we were hungry but full-up with all the good. Yes, the 3 year old got bored for part of the time and went back and forth between multiple activites. Yes the water beads were fought over and hoarded by the 9 year old. And then while I was in the middle of the second chapter, his two sisters were struck with some sort of strange benevolence and decided that their big bother needed multiple spoonfuls of their water beads.
I kept on reading, saying a silent prayer of thanks for the sweetness that shows up at the oddest moments and for the sheepish, knowing grin that spread across the one who didn’t deserve to have kindness given.
And I thought of the days when God gives me lemonade and refreshing joy from various things like connected friendship and prayers said out loud just for you that make tears slip down your cheek. And the knowing that you are prayed for, often, and always by a heart-sister.
For when He amazes me with kindnesses like lunches with friends who’ve known each other for years and can always pick up where we’ve left off. For 6 am coffee with other friends who have felt the same pain, and know how to read between all the lines of what you say.
I thought of the ways we grow up into Him that so obviously couldn’t be manufactured by our good behavior and the fruit that sprouts and grows, so surprisingly, on simple and once-bare branches.
Truly, there is much treasure to seek and find in this life..
And I’m thrilled with the reminder that simple joys and blue Tupperware cups full of lemonade can make smiles spread wide.
He fills our cups, for sure.