It is what you make it
Because I was apparently standing in line for the crazy-wacked-out- life, I’m never bored. Our latest adventure has been to move from three states away to live WITH my in-laws. I think the conversation a couple of months ago went something like this, “Hey honey, you know our lease is up in a couple of weeks and there aren’t a lot of properties available in our price range any closer to the beach, so I was thinking more along the lines of views of canyons and ginormous mesas, and a place where the only moisture you’ll ever see is your own life force dripping from your brow at 8am……oh, and we’ll be living WITH my parents. Don’t worry, you’ll have a dresser that you’ll share with our son, so you’ll have four shirts to choose from and our son will be sleeping in the guest room WITH us. What do you think?” And I was thinking WHAT when I went along with this? Since when did “NO WAY ON GOD’S GREEN EARTH!” become a bad thing to say? (Really I’m joking, my husband and I prayed LONG and HARD over this decision and there were a LOT of extenuating circumstances that we believe God used to show us that this is undeniably the place where He wants us for now). And while this particular living arrangement of us living right under their feet probably won’t be a permanent situation, we’re hoping that while we’re here we’re providing them with encouragement, support, and laughter (and all the vegetarian meals they never knew they were missing).
On the home schooling end of things we’ve stayed pretty much on the same path as before, only without our own stockpile of reference b0oks and workbooks, because they’re all packed deep in the bowels of the storage-unit-of-love, and I doubt we’ll see those books till we get into our own house. It’s times like this that I’m very grateful we’ve been doing our learning-at-home adventures ala Charlotte Mason’s “Living Books” methodology and following (more or less) the “The Well Trained Mind” path, because it turns out Our Town has a brilliant library system in and of itself, and it’s connected with an even deeper state wide library system that accesses all the colleges and universities, so the fun just never ends (especially when you have a geeky mom)!!
Since we’ve been studying the Renaissance period for this year one of the fun things we’ve been able to do since we have this cool library system is get into a whole bunch of Shakespeare stories written for children. (We arrived on my in-laws’ doorstep with a copy of “The Iliad” from our old library system and then we jumped ahead 1500 years to Old Bill). Right now we’re reading various plays from “Shakespeare Stories” volumes I & II by Leon Garfield, “Shakespeare’s Tales” by Beverly Birch, “Stories From Shakespeare” by Anna Claybourne, “The Children’s Shakespeare” by Edith Nesbitt and “Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children”, also by Edith Nesbitt. And not only that, I found a bunch of animated Shakespeare plays! How cool is that? Oddly enough they’re called “The Animated Shakespeare” (tricky, I know). So that’s been SUPER fun! We read a story and then watch the cartoon of it, and the best thing about it is my daughter LOVES it! She specifically asked that we continue reading Shakespeare through the summer! WOW!! When I was 12 I literally had NO IDEA who Shakespeare was. This girl can tell you all kinds of funny stories about nymphs, fairies, twins separated at birth and princes who see ghosts of their dead fathers.
My son’s learning has also expanded tremendously since being here: he’s MUCH more verbal, his balance is increasing (mainly because he has to navigate on and two-step situations from the kitchen to the dining room and then down to the TV room multiple times a day) and he’s signing a lot more. He’s completely connected with his environment and he LOVES living with his Grammy & Granddad! The change in him is quite remarkable. People are even seeing it in his photos.
It’s times like this when I’m so very, very grateful to teach my kids at home. I know life is really wonky right now, but home schooling has been a constant in our lives through our many funky family adventures, and maybe that’s part of the bigger lesson I’m supposed to learn; that God wants our family structure (and earthly relationships are really a “type” of God-man connectedness–the whole reason God created man was to have a deeply intimate and beautiful relationship with us) to stay constant amid life’s many, many twists and turns and teaching our kids at “home”, wherever that home might be at the moment, is giving them a solid foundation in an otherwise unpredictable world.
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