Monday, March 09, 2015

The Homeschooling Runner's/ Sewist's/ Crazy Woman's Daybook

outside my window:
The skating rink is tanking. The clocks have sprung forward. Spring is on the way? 

I'm listening to:
My daughter and her best friend downstairs playing the piano and belting out Taylor Swift. My son and his best friend further down the hall playing their guitars and recording their own mash-ups of Ed Sheeran. And a fly. Its buzzing around the window here in the kitchen, so you know what that means. Someone left the door open.

I'm wearing:
Running apparel. How the heck did this happen? I have lost my fashionista mojo.

Giving thanks:
My 17yr-old got accepted into the University program she wanted, a PR degree. 

You know, we started homeschooling when she was in grade 3, and one of the most common questions we got back then was whether a homeschooled kid can get a high school diploma  (yep, they sure can. But we didn't pursue that route, rebels we are). Or whether a homeschooled kid can get into University (yep, happens every day. The path is different. Navigating it is challenging at times. Some universities are more accommodating than others). We wondered about all this ourselves at the time. It actually gave us a small panic attack and we looked to those homeschoolers who had gone before us for reassurance. Mostly, we wanted to make sure homeschooling wouldn't ruin our kids' chance of "success" by the world's standards (which frankly, aren't really very high standards at all and certainly not Godly).  In fact, it always made us feel good to hear about the homeschooled kids who went on to become world-renowned neurophysicists with a back-up degree in medical law or philosophy. You homeschoolers know what I mean, right? When you start homeschooling, you are afraid your kids will be limited by it somehow. That you will bomb and your kids will bomb. So yes, there is fear and trepidation and we hang onto those success stories that we hear. But really, much of the fear just comes down to pride. Anyway, I think God kind of smiles patiently at all of this and waits for us to come around ... 

Nine years ago, among all those panic attacks, what kept us moving forward was knowing that we were called, by God, to this home-educating way of life. So we would just let Him help us deal with that whole high school thing when the time came.  

Our educational philosophy developed and transformed from desiring our kids to be mini-rocket-scientists (also known as cramming content and curriculum and workbooks and information down their spongy throats) to simply desiring to journey alongside and help them form and grow not only in knowledge but in character, virtue and faith. To love learning. To be who you are created to Be. We carried with us two overriding principles when it came to vocation and career and life-plans:

1. Kids need to grow up knowing, without a shadow of a doubt, that they encompass a beautiful genius. That its not contingent on performance in a given area. They were created for a purpose and a plan to make a difference in the world. They were created for a mission-field. That plan makes use of their own unique talents and even their passions. That plan also makes use of their shortcomings and will stretch and challenge them and make them grow often in painful ways. The job of childhood is to instill a sense of self-worth; explore and find and develop those talents, passions, and areas for personal growth. Plant seeds. Nurture. Inspire! From the time they are little, this kind of lingo is part of our family culture, and integral to our educational philosophy.

2. When it comes to "the Plan," give God first dibs. He might be calling you to priesthood or consecrated life. Our kids know they have to give that idea careful consideration before jumping right into exploring career paths. And even if He's not calling you at this time of your life, be open to a vocation.   

It all sounds lovely, doesn't it? Practically though, it was still a great struggle for my daughter, because all through her high school years she just didn't have ANY idea what she wanted to do or be. It was a huge stress for her actually, even though we weren't concerned. Once your kids are taller than you, however, the most common question revolves around their plans for the future. It comes up all. the. time.

Its ok not to know. Its common not to know. 

Except if you're the kid that is stressed out by the not-knowing to the degree that it shuts you down a bit. Or if you're the kid that wonders if maybe God has forgotten about His plan for You. Faith can be fragile in those formative years. And as the years go by of not-really-knowing-what-to-be-when-you-grow-up, the stress level explodes, the pressure increases. Its a struggle.

For Brittany, a direction only really became evident to her in the past few months. It came from her taking a long hard look at her specific talents. She knew she was good at writing and communicating; she knew she had a creative side; she also knew that she liked the technical aspect of science and logic. So, she tried to match her talents with a broad career field. She spent some time on websites that help you do that, and one day a little light bulb went on for her, also known as inspiration of the Holy Spirit. (Aside - when I did this as a kid, my suggested career was a prosthetist-orthotist, in other words, making fake limbs for people. I think the career-skill-talent matching may have made some progress since then.)  She started to think about different types of careers in communications, and finally she felt she had a starting point. She spent some time at Tom's work with their PR department, rotating through the different areas, and after that, she was hooked on public relations. Its really such a flexible degree with a lot of potential. But even if things change up as time goes by, its enough to just simply have a starting point. God works with that, right? 

When she read her letter of acceptance this weekend, one week after her interview, I can tell you there were a few tears all around the family. We are just so, so happy for her. At the end of the night it was agreed: God is good. All the time. In the Struggles. In the Crazies. In the Happy Dances.

in the schoolroom:
Lots going on and yet sometimes feels like not enough. Story of my life. The little girls and I are making our way through the Narnia series. We are just getting into Voyage of the Dawn Treader. All the girlies are captivated. We are reading the series in the order CS Lewis wrote it, which is different from the publication order. I still have a DVD copy of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe that my bigs acted in a couple of years ago ... somewhere. Have to find it.  I also have this audio version by Focus on the Family that is currently playing in our van every time we go out, at their request. The girls are narrating to me after each book for their portfolios. Trying hard to do more narration around here.

School for the bigs. Dawson's scholar class is all about apologetics, using Memorize the Reasons by Kevin Vost. I love this class, mostly because the group of teens are so lively and engaged in the discussions. 

The bigs are also dabbling in a few of the Teaching Company's great courses. Brittany is doing a Shakespeare course.  We are reading through and memorizing various passages from King Lear, as a family, to prepare for seeing the play next week.  We are also doing a course in religious cultural literacy - a survey of world religions and their tenets. This happens in the evening when the littles are in bed. I tell you, the best way to inspire teens seems to be at night for us. That's when all of our big idea discussions occur and it gives our conversations some interesting focus. So far that works.

in the sewing room:

I finished Noodle-head's Caravan Tote, a customized knitting bag. Ohhhh, I'm so excited to use it!! I have yet to make the matching pouch and then knit knit knit. I haven't done nearly enough knitting this winter. Some of my friends came over Friday for a knitting/lenten lunch so now I'm more motivated.

I also need to sew up a duffle bag for Maria before we leave at the end of the month. I promised.

to be a good runner:
Training continues. Toes are healing. I'm at the T-minus-12 weeks till half-marathon day. I ran nine miles this weekend and scored a new PB (personal best) for time. Perhaps the training program I'm following is paying off? I found a new route that I love love love!! Its near me, its a nice flat road for the most part, the shoulder isn't so sloped, its perfect. It goes past a friend's house who has promised to join me running in the fall (she's having some ligament surgery on her leg soon so I'll excuse her for a couple of months).

My new favourite find. They sell the original flavour at Costco, but I prefer the caraway variety, or herb. With hummus? Amazing. Great running fuel.

I also tried my first spin class ever - and loved it. I'll hopefully be heading there once or twice a week for cross-training and I've convinced some friends to brave it with me. Fitness friends - you need them.

living Lent:
I think we have a new family tradition, that is Friday night Stations of the Cross at our church, following Mass. Its so lovely, even with the two little girls sprawling out on the floor or dancing around as we travel around the church's stations. Is it wrong to be concerned that while I'm kneeling, Katie is going to give me a leg injury that will tank all my hard running work, with all her sprawling and dancing?

a few plans for the week:
Music class. Hockey. Gymnastics. Choir. Dentist. School. Running. Spin class. Homemaking. Sewing. Life is living me it seems. Looking forward to vacay.

a picture thought I'm sharing:

Have a great week you guys. Thanks for stopping by.


  1. What a full winter/ spring!! Wonderful news about Brittany. So proud of her!! Would love to see your new knitting bag. Wish imitate lived closer. The new pool sounds lovely Lol. MJ always runs around in her bathing suit in the winter. :)

    1. Gee thanks Mel! We missed you Friday!! Katie actually cried the night before when we told her MJ wasn't coming. So, the next one will be planned around your schedule. Or else I have to come crash Pray n Play. Xo


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