As I sit here with many windows open on my computer…searching sites, organizing bookmarks and
trying to jot my many thoughts into Word documents from my scribble books (spiral bound Mommy inspiration books gathered from the far corners of the house where they are strewed). I am looking for inspiration as to how to piece this upcoming school year together. I kinda feel like I am putting a 1000 piece puzzle together and sometimes even using a pair of scissors, a large mallet, and some super-glue for the stubborn parts that I think should fit and won’t. (I guess you could call that building an original…LOL) I struggle a bit to make the big picture clear. I don’t want it to be ME that gets in the way of success. If I got in the way I would create a distorted picture like my 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. I need to use God’s spectacles on this project. I gotta have a plan….a framework. I need the proper tools and a good work ethic (including being open to use inspiration to the point of having a willingness for perspiration..hey! It is good exercise for the heart and that is a GOOD thing😉 ahem… and the ability to sit on my hands and bite my tongue if necessary) and I want to build in many of the attributes of the divine builder. I LIVE to be creative and I want to include a kind of thrill into learning….a sense of wonder. I ask myself so much about each subject, each book, each idea… so many questions really.. like…
- can I do this with more than one child at a time so we can involve as many of them in idea sharing and meaningful discussion and/or projects as I can?
- is any idea or goal set for any of the children… beautiful… in some way?…
- is it dry and boring or does it open the mind up to want to explore and learn more?
- is it a real or just an ideal?
- can I really do this in real time even with distractions and demands being made of me …
- will it make me a successful multi-tasker because it has an extra steering wheel built into it that helps the child to be self motivated and drive on his own at times so I am not steering allll of the time and he thinks the work is HIS and not just something I am making him do….
- can this child find inspiration in this ?
- can this child learn this abstract subject or can we build something that will lead them from 3D work into abstraction with seemingly difficult obstacles like math for the learning challenged…ala Montessori?
Yes, my thoughts run all over the place. I wanted to have so many of my plans done already, but the Holy Spirit is directing me in a whole new way this time and I am trying to catch hold of that whisper He has placed on my heart. It is like I have to keep sketching away until I can see the common thread that makes all the points come together in a usable format. I am feeling like an evolving homeschooler…more seasoned…becoming more perfected at finding much practical living in all seasons…sickness and health. I want to be successful in God’s terms if not in my own as well. This is His deal anyway…He the playright and I am chief steward of the whole shebang…
No pressure ;o)…ah! to hear the words…"Well done my good and faithful servant…"
I want to see the potential of each child and help him fill himself with so much of life…living books, living ideas…a real learning environment. I want him to own the information, to retain information given and take what we have learned to new levels of understanding, new applications. If they learn it they should be able to teach it and make it understandable to others…right? I want them to teach me and each other. I want to "share the love"…for any kind of discovery they make, I really want it to be contagious. I want them to share the treasure they have found.
It reminds me of the game that my almost 12yo ds likes to play with his
siblings. He likes to create treasure maps and leads his eager and
giggling siblings on rabbit trails finding clues to the ultimate hiding
place…He is selfless in his efforts and is very eager to see each
person delighting in the connections he sets up for each of them…He
makes it very personal and yet something for the whole of them at the
same time. This game is played again and again…and as it is
practiced it becomes even more crafty and involved. It reminds me also
of what every day of a good school day has been for us.
I even want the older ones to learn some Montessori presentations and like a well trained magician or actor, whichever you prefer, with a well trained eye and heart, share something AWESOME with the younger set. I want them to learn the art of mentoring. I also want the older ones to glean that there is a concrete reality to many of the abstract things they do now. I want them to SEE with more than one sense how simply ordered subjects like math are so they can handle the abstract work with more finesse. I have mentioned in the past that this technique works very well with my one dd who has some math and spelling issues. Working with the younger ones is ironing out the kinks in some of her understanding. She uses the natural strength and gift she has of leading the young ones effortlessly to aid her with her struggle with mastery of the order of numbers and letters. She is looking at the whole thing from a different perspective now that she is older and it makes deeper sense to her.
I want to include training for all the senses..things to see, hear, touch, taste….Montessori presentations do this so well!…oh the fun games we could make from this idea!
I want to prepare the teacher in myself and yet want to prepare the inner teacher in each of my children using the budget God gave me, whether it be my time, money or talent. (oh the DREAMS I have for an unlimited budget…but much is to be learned by thrift too…God makes mountains out of what I perceive as my molehills….He has shown me that time and again if I have the eyes to see it.) I have high dreams of doing more…God is giving me "sufficient" tools to build awesome structures…He must trust me a lot. I am not overwhelmed with the prospect, quite the opposite…I see this as His great work and I am a player in it…I am awed by His way of doing things..making connections. I can remember of a few occasions ..ok more than a few occasions… when God made a common thread appear throughout many of the subjects we were studying and it excited us to learn more…we kinda felt like we were on God’s rabbit trail…getting to know him in the beauty of nature, poetry, hear Him whispering throughout history and see His fingerprints all over this wonderful world that He created…
So I prayerfully discern…
I want to work on development of habits and challenge ourselves with many subjects to train our minds toward good…giving each child a taste of great thoughts, ideas and art etc…I want to build in the beautiful.
lol…I really don’t think there is a label for who we are, how we learn, or even proof of a perfectly checked off planning sheet to show we are perfect or admirable in our ideas or follow-through. I know we could never be perfect anything, just the willing participants during this grand time together..all be it all too short…to learn as a family…to grow and mature in grace and wisdom before both God and man. We need a mission statement…maybe we should build that one together, too…
So then enters the time of my discernment as to how to put the pieces together and form a curriculum…I am praying about it…a novena for discernment. At any time during the year, when inspiration hits, I hurry to type into a ready made word document or a spiral bound notebook… Now I am taking that information and running with it. I bookmark sites that I want us to explore together…print out booklists, pull books from shelves or out of curricula catalogs and compile many lists for the library and then I turn around and look at the house…our learning places… and I want all my ideas and ideals compiled into a full experience in a prepared environment.
Ok…so THAT must mean … the house needs planning too…(hmmm need to work more on that).
Constantly tweaking, I am ideally striving for chores that run themselves…like at a seasoned toothbrushing stage(you do it well without too much mental effort).
The end result, or the reality of all of this is more of a framework set in such a way that we can fall back on something when things get too interrupted by life’s events and build on something for future learning experiences. So a framework building we go… ok lets see….to check it all off…
a framework that in addition to curricula and chores and habits training, must also include meal planning so menus are easy to prepare (and note to self…. that also includes a clean fridge) and never forgetting a deep prayer life full of meaningful encounters with God in the Liturgical year.
I want a stage set for success…and when this or any other of the stages I am preparing needs a good broom and a proper airing we will take the time off to set things to rights again. So I really don’t want to have to use a pair of scissors any glue or a mallet to form my work of art. I just want a good picture to focus on and enjoy. I want it to be something that each child as well as myself can recognize and enjoy TOGETHER. Am I reaching for perfection or just simplicity…just simplicity, at least I am pretty sure of this…so we can "simply live" and live fully. Simplicity takes tweaking and work…I am up for that. And as for live fully part, I want to live fully the liturgical year…and as a natural consequence I want us to be living our school year in the classroom of The Holy Family in a God-centered, family centered existence.
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