Well, how has your first week of school gone? It’s so neat to hear from so many of you on Facebook at our new page, “Maple Tree Publications”, and to see your excitement over new books, new routines, new lessons. September is a clean slate, a new start. I have even heard from some of you who homeschool throughout the year and still there is that air of turning over a new leaf.
So, I decided that we had to participate in the fervor and to take pictures so I could post pictures of the shining faces of my little cherubs. My kids had to search for the number of their grade while we walked idyllically around the Toronto Zoo on our first day of school. We only found a number one. We saw the gorillas and panda bears and also saw the komodo dragon being fed and talked to the zoo keeper because no one else was there to chat with her. We took a fun first day of school picture on the bronze statue of the komodo dragons. It was the continuing of a tradition started a dozen years ago: if we are going to do this education thing differently, we will do it different from the start and always take a field trip on the first day of school. All in all we had a great day.
The drive home was quite peaceful despite the city traffic we had to drive through. Dinner and the evening were just fine. Then 1 am rolled around.
My head had finally just hit the pillow after staying up late to make sure I was ready for the next morning and almost simultaneously two girls stumbled bleary eyed out of their bedrooms, a bit of panic in their steps… Sick! It was a long night. Our hopes of a positive start on Wednesday were dashed. No back to normal then or Thursday. Sigh!
I get overwhelmed at times, wishing things went better, that I was a better teacher, more organized, less impatient, less irritable, wanting to deal with kids who were always enthusiastic, who listen the first time, who don’t leave wet towels on the floor in their rooms until they stink. Sigh. My plans just don’t always work. I feel like I am failing my kids. But then when I step back and look at things with far – sighted glasses I see how far we have come and I also see so much that we have to look forward to. It’s then that I am reminded that it isn’t worth getting worried about the daily grind. There is always time for a fresh start.
So tomorrow, we will try again for the anticipated gentle startup that we had hoped for. I think it’s going to take us a few weeks at this rate to settle in. I had hoped we would be off and running by the end of this week or at least by early next. Sigh! One of my sickies did perk up and voluntarily did two of her math lessons this evening. Hopefully it’s a sign of good things to come.
I am realizing that our real lessons are learned when the going gets tough, not so much when we get to see the Komodo Dragon keeper impart all her wisdom about her charge. Its learning to juggle sick kids and all the other things that the day throws at me without giving up and crying…. Too often. It’s my kids learning to help one another out when there are two of them sick and only one of me to be the nurse. The ones who aren’t sick (yet!?) learn to step up and help with newspapers or make the meal or empty the dishwasher. They have learned a lot this week. They’ve practiced skills we’ve been honing for years.
So even if I had done the best of planning for this new school year, I would not have been able to plan these lessons. I would have avoided them. But learning to work together in these small adversities has been a greater lesson for these first few days than if we had got all the language arts and math lessons going. – Though I am hoping that tomorrow will be the day to tackle those lessons, finally!
A word of wisdom that my pastor imparted a few weeks ago has been rolling around in my head: Courage, true, biblical courage, is never cultivated in comfort.
Mamas (and Papas and others): know that your struggles are not in vain. You are building a lasting legacy so be strong and courageous! Wishing you all the best today as you build. 😉 And for many days after.