We went back to school this week. Three days down.
The main theme of the week has been the surprising power of a two year-old to reroute conversations and plans and schoolwork. She's really something, that no-longer-napping two year old of mine. And homeschool mornings with her are...really something.
I was planning several homeschool posts, like a tour of our classroom (but then that felt a bit pretentious and really- it's just our dining room? Haven't you seen that a gazillion times?) and a curriculum synopsis (but then the box came in the mail and I have a sneaking suspicion that to understand our new spelling and reading curriculum I will either need a) several days of uninterrupted study or b) a masters in education because my bachelor's degree isn't cutting it - needless to say the curriculum celebration has been postponed) and a post about the goals for the kids (oh dear) and post about Classical Conversations.
Instead, I'll give you this random synopsis.
My goal for me...
My personal goal for myself as a teacher this year can be summarized in two words: be kind. Yep, that's it. I have a tendency to make a mental list for the day, see it start slipping away, and then switch into drill sergeant mode which can end with me yelling at my kids. As I prayed a little about this year, I thought of the lyrics from "10,000 Reasons" by Matt Redman.
You're rich in love and you're slow to anger
Your name is great and your heart is kind.
I felt a pain way down deep and I knew I had to grow in that, in the fine art of cultivating a kind heart. And thankfully, I have felt a difference this week. Even as Tessa tears things apart and I chase her (or go to find her!) or the kids respond in various ways, I feel that urgency to be kind, to be kind, to be kind.
Surprises along the way
I have moments in the last few days where the kids surprised me, and that has surprised me. You start to think that you are with your kids ALL the time and you know them better than they know themselves and there is nothing they could do that would surprise you- what...wait...did that just happen? Who is this kid? I like those moments.
Both Ella and Isaac are excellent students- eager, receptive, and pretty much game for anything. They tend to be more challenging in daily life so I expect that at school but, nope, they are like the sunshine in our classroom.
Drew's perfectionism is intensifying with age. Today we had a heart-to-heart about taking correction, about how it isn't the end of the world when we aren't awesome at something. He doesn't come off as a perfectionist in the day-to-day, so I forget that about him.
Tessa is nuts. Just nuts. That has surprised me because, apparently, I don't live in reality.
The community they form
One of the loveliest things about homeschool, maybe the single best, is their interaction with each other. And as they get older, it gets richer. On the first day I tried to line them up against the wall to get a picture, but all they would do is gather. I kept spreading them out and then they'd clump back together until finally I just snapped the picture. This is how they see themselves, like a little tribe.
It has been the kids (the older three) who have kept me sane. As I stare in wonder and try to figure out how Tessa dumped out all the puzzles in the moment I had my back turned, Isaac says, "I'll watch Tessa awhile" and moves to herd her from the pile. And then they read and laugh and play hide-and-seek in the living room while I sort pieces and give a math lesson to Drew while reading workbook pages to Ella. Then Ella will replace Isaac, like a well-oiled tag team, and Isaac will return to the table while the girls go to "play sleepover" in the front porch. (It's no wonder Tessa won't play by herself when she is used to such good care from her siblings!)
They have blessed me so much in three short days.
I'm conflicted inside, torn between the precious reality and the exhaustion that comes with it. If someone handed me a remote control for my life, part of me would want to hit pause and another part of me would want to fast forward five years. That's the rub, isn't it? How sweet these years are, how tired we get, how we hope that we'll remember more than the puzzles on the floor.
Well, that's a little bit of week 1 for us. I will fill you in on some of that other stuff when it feels doable. Until then, have a great week and we'll see ya Friday.