Psalm In One Hand, Spork In The Other
Early September 2012
Everywhere I look it seems I’m getting reports of home schooling in full swing, whether it’s on some “happy home schooling” blog showing off her kids wearing matching play outfits as they happily write at their desks which are in front of picture windows through which the mid morning sun is streaming in through gossamer curtains (I’m not making that up; I really saw that on Instagram a couple of weeks ago), or I see the opposite of home schooling: page after page of FB photos of moms doing victory dances with fist-pumps-in-the-air when the school bus pulls away. That just makes me want to go all stabby with a spork. Not because I’m jealous of them, I really am glad to be home schooling our kids (although let’s be real, what home schooling mom here doesn’t just fantasize for a few seconds a day what it would be like to have the ENTIRE house to yourself ALL flippin’ day?? That’s what I thought), I just don’t want to see them all “happy” like a bunch of Stepford Wives while I feel like I’m alone out in this home schooling ocean on a paddle board for the first time, despite the fact we’re starting year SEVEN. And then what’s a thousand times worse and REALLY makes me want to go all stabby with a spork are the seemingly hundreds of tweets that go something like this: “It’s only 10am, but Johnny and Susie are already done charting the family tree of Jesus back to Abraham, and now Johnny’s working on his 10th grade physics curriculum even though he’s only 11.” WHATEVER. That just makes me want to drink, and I hardly ever drink before 10am (JOKING people, JOKING…..I usually wait till after lunch). If you’re that type of home schooling mom we can never be friends, and we are never, ever, ever getting together. EVER. (the kind whose kids trace Jesus’ family tree before 10am every day, not the hardcore drinking kind)
If you want to go all junior-high-girls-in-competition-with-each-other (which is what a lot home schooling moms seem to do when they plaster their activities and curricula all over FB and Twitter), we’ve actually been “doing” home school since August because throughout the summer we kept up on reading Shakespeare, doing math off and on (okay, okay, it was more off than it was on, but it still counts for something), trips to the local math & science center (which really is a gem in Our Town), reading (my daughter reading to herself as well as me reading to her), various sports activities, going to the park regularly, and violin practice. As for Hayden’s side of things, we continue his curriculum of self help skills, verbal and ASL, sight words, puzzles, games, reading books, and going to parks throughout the year. I consider his everyday life his classroom and YES, I most definitely count everything that goes with that toward our “home school curriculum” (and NO, I won’t apologize for that either). But during the more traditional “school year” we add in lots of “schooly” type things like playdough, coloring books, sorting, lacing, tracing, container play, reading books, etc……..
As we began this year’s home schooling though everything is different and it’s taking me awhile to get my footing. A year ago we had just moved into a house that seemed like a good idea at the time because it kept us close to the first wonderful part of town we lived in when we moved to The South Bay of Los Angeles, but it very quickly turned into a nightmare for our daughter, and it wasn’t so great from a tenant/landlord relationship either. Six and a half months later we moved three states away, not only from that neighborhood, but from the entire state of CA (and our blessed beach just three miles down on PCH and our beloved Avenue I), and we’re now living in the middle of canyon-desert land (think the topography of Mars, only with a lot more mountain bikers) staying with my husband’s parents as we help them through some health issues (that whole saga is on an entirely different blog with even fewer readers than this one). Last week I moved most of our home education targeted stuff that we actually have (99% of it is in the Storage-Space-Of-Love) over to my husband’s late grandmother’s house, and this has now become our home schooling space. We’re in that space while my husband remodels/rebuilds the house to get it renter-ready. So, the first week of September felt like the “first week” of home schooling, because we’re now at Grandma-mother’s house carving out our own little learning space. And it’s all good, don’t get me wrong; being at Grandma-Mother’s gets us out of the main house on a daily basis (although every morning is a major moving proposition, with the laptop, food for the day, dogs and kids) and being over there does help me focus on the kids and their activities (as opposed to vacuuming, dusting, scrubbing, cleaning and cooking for six people, which as it turns out, can be QUITE distracting from what you’re really supposed to be doing!). I think I’m just a little bamboozled right now.
Which leads me to get to the point of this blog post today. Ya, I know what you’re thinking, “for once there IS a point?? Who knew?!” And if there’s anyone left reading this post now it means YOU’VE REALLY GOT TO GET A LIFE. And now I’m going to torture you with what I’ve been learning while I’m out there in the ocean on a paddleboard without a paddle……….. I’ve been reading in Psalms. I know, right? You’re thinking, “This woman actually cracks open a Bible? Wow, wonders never cease.” Well wonders DO never cease and God IS good ALL the time, and ESPECIALLY when I pull my head out every once in awhile and actually READ His word. Good things happen! (Joking…..truly. I love God’s Word and it is precious to me. Seriously, like getting a present every time I read it.) The first verse that jumped out at me right after we started this year’s home schooling was Psalm 3:3 “But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory and the One who lifts my head”. So God is my shield against the forces that have been against us as a family (read: lots of stressful family dynamics at play). And God lifts my head. Not God “might lift my head if I’m a good person”, or “God might lift my head if I read the Bible everyday or I tithe”, No, it’s God who lifts my head, regardless of my holiness. So on this first few days of home schooling when I don’t feel like I’ve adequately prepared, because, well I don’t really have anything to prepare with, God lifts my head. God gives me the strength to get out of bed each morning. Literally gives me the strength and kicks my backside out of the bed, because I’m not all sunshine and roses at 6:30am, despite the fact that I spent an entire career in radio as a morning show jock. (Ya, it was all a big act-I’d much rather drool on a pillow till 9am).
The second verse is from Psalm 5:11 “But let all who take refuge in You be glad, let them ever sing for joy; and may You shelter them, that those who love Your name may exult in You.” I take from this that no matter what’s going on, when I take refuge in God I can be glad because God DOES shelter me. Notice I said “when” I take refuge in God. I don’t have to. It’s a daily choice that God gives each of us because our wonderful God is not a controlling God. He is a LOVING God who gives us freedom and liberty to choose, or not choose His ways. For me, it’s a minute by minute choice, but when I DO take refuge in God, He DOES provide shelter. So no matter what’s going on with living with my in-laws, or how poorly prepared I am for the new school year, I can take refuge in God, and He is there, with the paddle for the board.
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