And.... home school marches on ...
Today, I was late getting the lessons started while I got one daughter off to do the grocery shopping for me, two boys off to a lawn care job they scheduled and had talks with my husband about last minute items or errands I needed for various upcoming activities. Usually, my first grader reads with Riane -- who was the grocery shopper. We finished the book they had started and he was asking about the next book he would read with Riane. I was busy pulling math materials off the shelf, and offhandedly replied, "Well, I haven't really decided. You know we are off school Friday for Mary's birthday, off next week to prepare for the adoption and goodbye party. Then we are off for a week of vacation. By the time we start our school back up, Riane will gone. Wokelle, you won't be reading with Riane again."
The realization sort of fell on both of us at the same time. He crumpled. The math book was lying open on the table between us and I was stacking flashcards. Echoes of time just started hitting me. This was the same math book from which I had taught Riane. The cover has fallen off, the pages are worn, after all it's been 12 years ... I could see her big glasses and the laughter as we played "Speedy Sam" with the flashcards. I crumpled. I made a half-hearted attempt at laying a flashcard on the table somehow hoping it would dry our tears, but to no avail. I finally pushed it all aside and took the boy on my lap.
We cried. I told him she would always be his sister -- even in Chicago. We couldn't seem to move on and so I got down a notebook and we started listing the things he would miss about his sister -- her singing, her piano playing, her laughter ..... Finally we brainstormed ideas for telling her goodbye and we were ready to move on a little with our day.
We didn't really learn math and never got to those flashcards; but we did something far more important. We grieved a little. And herein lies the crux of homeschooling. It really isn't all about the stuff they learn, which they will learn because it is important to, but it is really about our relationships. Four years ago, Riane and Wokelle began to forge a mighty bond over Geography.
Of course, this year she listened to him stumble through his first grade readers. The truth is the activities are whatever we need to accomplish, but the time together is what builds the lifelong relationships. The goal, the vision, the great desire of the Googeg Academy is to prepare our children with the knowledge and life skills they will need to operate in the world, but more importantly to forge bonds of relationship and love and, ultimately, pass the baton of our faith in a Holy God to the next generation. In that case, sometimes the flashcards are left in the box while the tears fall; and it's good.
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.