It is so exciting to see spring unfolding once again and so early this year!As usual, we are excited to be out in the yard cleaning up and dreaming of things to come, preparing gardens, tidying out the garage (let me tell you: that’s a messy job this year!) and starting little seedlings. I am not nearly so much a gardening expert as I am an aficionado, a fan, a devotee to mucking in the dirt with hopes that something yummy might spring from it. Really I am still that kid that makes mud pies and dreams of them really being tasty treats.
In addition to these signs of spring you can also be sure to find me playing with stacks of boxes and leafing through countless books as this is also the beginning of “Conference Season”. Maple Tree will be at several conferences and sales over the next several months and I will also have the funky privilege of chatting with many of you as I teach several seminars at these gatherings and as I visit in our little corner of the exhibit hall.
It would seem that online businesses are always open, especially small businesses. When I go camping, to the doctors office, or to church my little Maple Tree tags along almost everytime and if I can I try to send off a quick note while waiting for the soup to warm up or prepare an order between math and history lessons or answer an inquiry while waiting the kids are in their piano lessons I am happy to do so but even the most enjoyable work needs to be laid aside for a season here and there. Continue reading A Time to Rest….
** Please note the date changes below. Thank you all for your kind words and support as our family has struggled to find health this fall. We are pleased to report that hubby is now recovering at home after a week long hospital stay. **
I am so excited to start a new year of Charlotte Mason Support Group!As many of you know I host this little book club for very selfish reasons as I am so energized and encouraged by the visits of like-minded mamas every 5-6 week.You give me a boost that helps me to imagine I might survive this crazy game for a few more weeks.
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.
This year it seems that there are more parents than ever considering this crazy homeschooling life and so once again this year, in partnership with Henry and Corrinna Kiezebrink, I am offering free workshops to new homeschoolers (and those thinking of homeschooling) at my home in Bradford, Ontario and in the Kiezebrink home near Barrie, Ontario.
Whether you have made a firm decision or are still investigating your options, whether you are doing this based on a conviction you have or because the ability to school in a different way just seems to fit for your family, please feel free to come for a visit. These are interactive (question and answer style) small group workshops. If you, or someone you know, are interested in coming please RSVP directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible as attendance is limited to 15 people (since we do have a very cozy space to meet) and the evenings usually do fill up.
You may come either to the home of the Kiezebrinks near Barrie, Ontario on Tuesday, July 21stor to my home in Bradford, Ontario on Thursday, August 13th. Both evenings will run from 7:30-9:30.
Both Mom and Dad (and Grandma and Grandpa or other adult supports) are welcome to attend though I respectfully ask that only parents and nursing babes attend as a full house and a late evening often make it hard for little ones to allow the adults the opportunity to get the most out of the workshop.
We will cover topics like:
Yikes! Can I do this!?!
Where can I go for support?
What are the legal implications?
Do I have to contact my local school board?
What about curriculum?
What is a “normal” homeschooling day like?
What about socialization!?!
Please come with questions!
And expect some yummy handouts too!
Henry and Corrinna Kiezebrink bring to these workshops 25 years of homeschooling experience while our little homeschool was established only 12 years ago.While we aren’t experts, we do have a few years under our belts and hope to share the real deal on homeschooling, the good, the bad and the ugly.We are obviously a bit biased towards homeschooling but will gladly share the truth about the pros and cons of adopting this crazy lifestyle.
Please feel free to share this invitation with friends and family who are new to homeschooling or who are considering it. You are also welcome to forward this information to your church group or other homeschool groups. See you in the summer!