Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Owl and the Pussycat

Well, week 2 of homeschooling is half over. We've had a field trip and two "full" days of school this week. (Full is only in quotations because it only lasts 1.5 hours-ish, so to most traditional school-goers, it doesn't seem like a "full" day...but it is. We're doing, on average, 5 subjects a day). I'm still loving it, and I think the boys are, too. They LOVE being together (minus an occasional squabble), and we're all loving the relaxed atmosphere around the house, compared to the past few years of trying to rush to get to drop-off and pick-up on time.

I'm finding it amazing to be able to watch my children learn. Their learning styles and wants/desires/preferences are so different from each other...and it keeps our day interesting. Munchkin #2 is LOVING homeschooling so much that I'm actually having to come up with "extra" work for him to do because he doesn't ever want his assignment sheet to be all completed. He's thriving - so far - with this style of learning. Munchkin #3 is plugging away...he's only doing preschool-type lessons, so most of his stuff is manipulatives and trying to improve his coordination (holding pens/crayons, cutting with scissors, etc). Munchkin #1 is struggling the most, which I expected, as he'd had two years of traditional school already. I think we've hit our groove, though, and he mostly seems to crave the "teacher's pet" role: as long as I praise him and give him special "helper" jobs, like reading to his little brother or doing flashcards with his little brother, I can actually get him to complete his grade-level work. I think he needs to feel important in order to foster that desire to do well.

But enough of the schooling update. We're happy so far, and I'm thoroughly enjoying my little family. We've definitely had our choice to keep the boys home affirmed often over the past few weeks.

I'm extremely thankful for having this positive experience, but it's had another effect on our family that I didn't foresee, and one that I'm not sure that I like. I've found myself retreating more and more into our family ... and away from the outside world. I can't recall the last time that I watched a news report or even checked the news online. It seems that every time I do, it's just a bombardment of negativity. Trying to find that glimmer of hope amongst the news reports seems so hard....even when I do see something positive, it's quickly swallowed up by the negative, or brushed aside for a more "shocking" of a news story.

I'm not sure how I feel about this family retreat that we've created. On one hand, I am SO thankful for our little refuge, and feel so incredibly blessed. On the other hand.....I feel like the ostrich sticking her head into the sand. Should I be ignoring the outside world like I have been? Doesn't that make me some ignorant punk and, therefore, perpetuate the cycle of negativity, instead of doing something about it? IS there even a way to do something about it?

The past few days, I've been really craving some good news. Some sort of glimmer of positivity. It seemed that every time I turned on the TV or the computer, I saw another complaint. Another accusation being thrown around. Another evil act. Another reason for despair.

I decided to post a few simple questions on Facebook: What are you thankful for? When did you receive a random act of kindness, and what was it? The responses came quickly and some were amazing: restaurant meals being purchased for someone else...receiving a Wii from "Santa" in the mail...thankfulness for family and friends and good health. It was almost like people on my Facebook page couldn't wait to share their positive feelings and experiences - like it had been too long since someone had asked.

I found it extremely ironic that today, about an hour after posting my random acts of kindness question...I got a chance to be that person. A patient of my husband's - with no family in town - had no babysitter for two older children and was being rushed into a c-section (unexpectedly) for her third child. The husband was going to have to wait in the waiting room while his third child was born.....but Mike called me and gave me the chance to be that random act of kindness for someone else. I babysat for two little kiddos that I'd never met their dad could be at the birth of his third child. Didn't take more than an hour, and was a lot of fun. It was extremely ironic to me that on the day that I had been craving a bit of positive human interaction....that positive interaction was pretty much thrown right into my lap. Who says God doesn't have a sense of humour?

I'm hoping that my questions and my actions today made a difference in someone's life. I hope that one or the other helped someone else to regain hope in people, somehow. I hope that someone (other than me, even though I was) was reminded of all that we have to be thankful of.

I hope that I can hold onto that positivity for tomorrow....and many days to come.

What do you have to be thankful for today?


  1. You are awesome. How touched that family must be that their dr and his wife cared so much that they were even able to arrange emerg childcare! Kudos!

    What am I thankful for? The gift of being able to stay home with my kids and the knowledge that G-d is always there when I'm having a crappy parenting day...