Have you listened to much Jim Gaffigan? He’s a famous comedian, and totally worth your time if you haven’t heard his stuff before. Jim-bo and I have something in common now; we both have 5 children. He does a bit about telling people he has 5 kids, and how they’ll say, “Well, that’s one way to live your life!” It’s crazy to have 5 kids, right? In this society, it’s crazy. I’m a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and even in the “breed like rabbits” Mormon culture, 5 kids is…plenty.
When we bought this house, our first, high on the list of wants was a wood burning fireplace. When we moved in, there was technically a wood burning fireplace, but it wasn’t effective. So one of our first remodels was putting in “the beast”. We found this massive wood burning stove on a yard-sale site, installed it, and have since largely heated our home with the sweat of
our browsmy husband’s brow.
When people find out we homeschool, one of the top questions I get is: “How do you like it?” Usually I’m able to respond in a positive way and tell people that despite the tough things about it, overall it’s an amazing process that I feel so lucky to be a part of. Something like that.
But not today. If you ask me if I enjoy homeschooling today, something negative is going to spew out. It can’t all be rainbows and unicorns, can it? When we hit a tough day, I usually have enough mental and emotional fortitude to see it for what it is, and work around it.
Kid’s bad attitudes slowing us down? Maybe we need a break from the regular grind, and we go on a nature walk. My exhaustion becoming a hindrance? Maybe today we skip math in favor of more read aloud time. It all works out in the end.
But not today. Today I can’t seem to see past the whining, exhaustion, the runny noses, and my water bottle that everyone thinks is their own. If I could take the emotion out of it, it would be really easy to see the incredible progress my kids are making. Miles and Gwen are totally in charge of taking care of the animal chores in the morning, are becoming pros at keeping the fire stoked all day, and moving efficiently through their school workload. However, today, all I can see is the water leaked on the floor from the rabbit water bottles, the trail of dirt and leaves tracked inside from gathering wood, and the mounds of books and other school supplies piled up on the coffee table. Lindy and Benson are becoming wonderful friends and playmates and Lindy is rapidly improving her letter and sound recognition. However, today all I can hear is the loud squeals and shouts from their play and can only focus on Lindy’s frustration when she misses a question- knowing I’m going to have to put on a happy face and build up her confidence again.
When we all have an off day, I usually feel like it’s my duty to “fake it till I make it” to help change the course of our day. I’ll try and interject something out of the ordinary and fun to shake things up a bit. I’ll make more of an effort to make a regular subject more entertaining. I’ll respond to their negative attitudes with a smile and a tickle.
But not today. Today I just feel like they should get their work done without complaint. It’s not like I ask an absurd amount from them! I feel like I want to send them away on that pretty, yellow school bus and lean into that desire of mine to do absolutely nothing all day, while their teachers are the task-masters.
I had to run into my room twice today before I completely blew up at the kids during school work, so I could melt down in private. And it took everything I had to leave my cozy bed, dry my eyes, and help them finish their work. Before the official school day had even started, I had to break up two fights between different pairs of kids and I was drained before the day had really even begun. I asked all the kids to find a quiet place and we’d all say our own prayers asking Heavenly Father to help us change our attitudes and the spirit in our home. I think it worked pretty well for the kids, but not for me. Why? Homeschooling is usually an overall joy and I never want to do it any other way.
But not today.
Today we had to take the kids to the doctor’s office to check out Benson’s hand. He had a rough weekend; fell out of a shopping cart on Thursday, fell down a window well on Friday, and then fell down the stairs on Saturday in tandem with Lindy and the baby gate. Ouch. We were trying to avoid a pricey and inconvenient trip to the ER during the weekend, and Benson was doing ok, so we waited till Monday afternoon to see our regular doctor.
The only appointment they had open was during our prime schooling hours. Over the years I’ve learned that I like my schedules. I like the uniformity, predictability and framework they give my life, and my kid’s lives! But sometimes I think it’s more of a curse than a blessing. It can be too rigid.
I went to public school all my life, and loved it! Of course there were ups and downs and things that weren’t perfect about going to public school, but overall, I thrived in the system. When I went to college, I even got my degree in Elementary Education, so I could be a teacher in the public school system!
Homeschooling my future children was probably the farthest thing from my mind. I don’t ever remember meeting someone who had been home-schooled, but in my mind, I knew for a fact that they were all weirdos; non-socialized, behind-the-curve, weirdos. So imagine my surprise when I fall in love with my husband, and find out that he was homeschooled most years! Then I meet his wonderful family, and they are all homeschooled, and -get this- not weird. Crazy, right?
I fell in love with making pies sometime after we got married. That’s not to say I’m a pro, I just enjoy the few recipes I know. And one of the best is my Grandma Crosby’s Apricot Pie! (You can use the same recipe with rhubarb too!) I’m pretty sure it’s my Dad’s favorite dessert. Especially with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, it can’t be beat. The crust is crunchy on top, soft in between, and flaky all over. It’s got the perfect amount of sweetness, and is so simple that I’m pretty sure anyone can make it. Even me!
So I had high hopes of this post being picture perfect in every way. It’s a family favorite recipe, it’s apricot season, I’m generally pretty good at this recipe… however things don’t always turn out in a Pinterest fashion, do they?
I had been hearing about this “sourdough” thing for years. How it’s all about your gut health, and a thriving micro-biome, and this and that. But I am a slow processor. If you give me a new idea, it takes my mind a while to wrap itself around it. So it took me a few years after hearing about this whole sourdough thing before I felt ready to give it a try. I still only know a handful of recipes that I like! However, slowly but surely I’m understanding it more and getting better at it.
Our first official year of homeschooling went much better than expected. I had been so nervous to start, but once we got into a groove, it went remarkably well. So well in fact that when the end of May rolled around, I had no desire to stop! My kids didn’t seem burned out at all either, so I decided to continue schooling right through the summer.
I’m not always a super granola, hippie, tree-hugging free spirit…but when I am, I’m wearing my extra-wide Chacos. 🙂
*6:30 Alarm goes off and is conveniently silenced. The burning feeling in my eyeballs tells me that I may have stayed up too late last night… Lindy climbs in bed with me, asks me to make her some dinner (breakfast) and quickly falls asleep again, snuggled close to me.
*7:30 The other kids are beginning to stir, so I face the inevitable. But not before retreating to the bathroom to, besides the obvious, delay the morning by checking stuff on my phone and deciding what we will be having for breakfast. I get so sick of deciding what every meal is going to be. Anyone else?