You Win Some, You Lose Some

Yesterday was the worst day of homeschooling we have experienced up to this point.  If it could go wrong, it did.  If it could be met with distraction, unwillingness, or whining– it was.  Cora was feeling especially needy, and as a result acted out in every way possible. (Think nail polish on the floor and on her head and toothpaste spread all over the bathroom, and that’s a start.) By 9:30 I had text my dearest friend and asked her to say a prayer for me……that kind of bad day.  At 10:30, I had to throw my arms up and say, “It’s not working right now. We’ll try again later.”  We ate lunch and had some “recess,” and we did recover some ground during Cora’s nap (bless her, she just doesn’t always enjoy Sissy and Bubby’s school time).  Homeschooling is a decision we made based on convictions and exciting opportunities, and even at it’s worse I don’t ever have second thoughts, but man, sometimes it is so hard.  Just. Hard.

Fast forward to today (ah, the promise of joy in the morning!)–we had barely finished breakfast and my phone rang.  It was my momma, and she wanted to know if she and my dad could come “borrow” Cora for the day while we did school.  A few things to insert here:

  1. I do not consider Cora the “problem” with our school days.  She is an active participant, but no matter what ANY other homeschool blog tells you–sometimes 2-year-olds just don’t want to do puzzles, color, “sensory boxes,” or play with toys.  Sometimes, they just want YOU to play with THEM.  She is not a problem, but at times, it does make it hard to have school.  I’m the first to admit that this can be a “con” of homeschooling, but not a end-all.
  2. Given the choice, I would assume my parents probably would not have chosen homeschooling as their top educational choice for their grandkids.  And yet, they have never alluded to that idea at all.  In fact ALL of the grandparents have been nothing but supportive in this decision.  Whether it is a late night text of encouragement from Andy’s mom or offers to watch the little ones from Granny, or watching my dad explore his pasture with the kids enhancing their “tree” study, we have felt so blessed to have their love in this area.

So, Cora got to spend a fun day with grandparents, and we got to spend an awesome day learning, reading and exploring.  Today might have been the BEST day of school we’ve had so far!  Today reminded me of all the things I LOVE about teaching my children.

We are studying trees in science.  We have been studying the nuts, seeds, fruits, pods of every tree we can find.  We have gone hiking and exploring.  We have researched questions and found the answers.  I adore the fact that we can read a science lesson about trees and then go outside and get hands on experience.  The kids can hold the pine cones and gather acorns lying on the ground.  They can match a walnut leaf to a walnut and know they come from the same tree. I love that the science book isn’t where they are getting the majority of their information, but they are hands-on figuring it out on their own…and having fun doing it!  Right now, we are studying the tree’s bark and learning about the differences in each tree.  We are learning to count the rings of a tree stump to learn it’s age.  We are exploring rotting tree roots to see what happens when they decompose.  It’s amazing.

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Today we discovered red berries on our dogwood tree!

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Learning about moss and bark

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Examining our only apple in the orchard!

And the best part?  One learning adventure often leads to another.  We came across this crazy caterpillar today, stopped what we were doing and ran for the magnifying glasses to check him out.  It is INCREDIBLE the creativity of the Creator!

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After some research we learned that this spiky guy is the White-Marked Tussock Moth Caterpillar. We learned that his hair will cause an allergic reaction, and he will cocoon in a tree and emerge as a (pretty ugly) caterpillar 2 weeks later.

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Notice the questions running through her mind.

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After our observing and researching, the kids asked if they could go get their sketch books, and try to draw this creature.  They spread out a rug next to my tire, curled up with their new kitten, and colored for 30 minutes, carefully examining the caterpillar’s every feature.

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After school, they started acting very suspicious and working together on something .  As I finished cooking supper, they ran into the kitchen and yelled, “Surprise!”  Ah, again with the gifts from my children.  So precious.

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A bundle of “wildflowers,” 2 necklaces, and beautiful drawings. Be still my heart.

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“For giving love, I love Mommy.” After the struggles yesterday, I cherished the “forgiving love” too.

This homeschool journey has it’s share of twists and turns.  We win some, we lose some….but it is beautiful.  In the blink of an eye, Cora will be right there with us on grand adventures, and we will learn amazing things, and no doubt, they will have a thing or two to teach me too!

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