Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Homeschooling, Modesty, and Little Blessings

It's only a bit passed noon, but already I feel like I can say that today is a good day. It's not that it started out particularly wonderful. In fact, I didn't sleep very well last night, nor did my hubby, since the baby was up in those wee hours of the morning (and he had to head off to work at 5:20am!). But, counting the little blessings, he did not prompt me to make breakfast for him at that hour (although I had said I would do so if he would rouse me from my sleep), knowing I had endured the night with minimal sleep. He is such a kind husband. Does he realize that the extra hours of sleep help me tremendously when I'm trying to focus on teaching and training our wee ones, or does he simply do it because he loves me? (Or both?)

I struggled through the first hours of the day, and we did not sit down for lunch until a quarter passed ten (although I had given the kids bananas shortly after they woke up). I struggled with my attitude and felt like writing the day off, even considered sending the kids outside to play while I settled down with a book.

But, I knew that it would not be wise to dismiss the day so quickly, especially since we are a homeschooling family and, well, it is my duty to uphold structure and order, even if we are running behind.

While the kids finished eating their biscuits and pears, I read to them from I John. Our prayers for the Fruit of the Spirit wer answered, and then our day began to move along in a much better fashion.

Today, Keagan, age three, began his reading lessons. I decided it would be good to "test the waters" to see if he was ready to start- after all, he does seem to listen in while I'm teaching his siblings. The first lesson went surprisingly well- perfect, actually. There were many high-fives, and then we called Daddy to report on how well he had done. Could it be that we will have a little one reading before he is four?

See, reading has been one of the subjects I have hated the most (even though I love to read!). With my first born, Merikalyn [Mare-eh-kuh-lyn], it was a nightmare situation. What we did not realize during that time was that she had a brain mass which hindered her education. It made it difficult to retain and remember information. We learned of this a year ago when she suddenly began having partial seizures and was rushed to the hospital. Days later, doctors had peeled back her scalp and were peering at her brain.

They still do not know what the mass was, but they removed two-thirds of it, and by God's grace, the remaining third disappeared.  Once home and back to our normal schedule, she was finally able to retain information and recall it. We had to return to the very beginning though- with numbers and letters and the basics of education.

As I mentioned, it has been a year since her surgery, and we are seeing great improvements. We don't really do "grade levels" in our homeschool, but I suspect she would be at about a first grade level in most subjects. I don't really fret about it (okay, I do sometimes), because I know each and every child has their own pace, and she is moving along well enough. She is doing some basic reading and cannot wait until she can read the bible on her own. (Currently, she likes for me to give her the "address" of a verse- say, John 3:16- so she can look it up herself.)  Her main passion is in homemaking. She loves to cook and bake, and has been exclaiming how she cannot wait to learn to sew!

It is exciting to see things "click", and I know Merikalyn will really enjoy helping little Keagan learn to read. It will likely help her own reading skills improve!

Going through their reading lessons today was a huge blessing to me. Some days homeschooling feels much like herding cats or nailing jello to the wall, but there are also those days when there is just an overflow of joy and excitement- even when the baby is refusing to nap, and I have to bounce her on my hip while trying to read the bible and scarf down breakfast.

Speaking of excitement, Merikalyn's long-awaited package arrived.  I found some beautiful long skirts for little girls on and bought them, along with two beautifully feminine button-up shirts. (And, even a long black skirt for myself.)  It's crazy how hard it is to find decently-priced modest clothing for little girls!  My girls do not need to be wearing shorts or skirts that barely cover their heinies! I am thankful that tights (not the thick panty hose sort- I'm talking about the kind that are like pants) are in style and are easy to find because they are great for slipping under skirts and dresses for a bit more coverage.

When I was a little girl, I was not allowed to wear pants at all. I loved skirts, but found them most inconvenient since I was pretty active and, um, one can give the little boys an eyeful when romping on the playground, climbing trees, or flying through the air on a swing.  Tights were a staple in my wardrobe in those days. Mom made sure I had a pair of tights (or shorts) under each skirt.

While Merika is allowed to wear pants, she prefers her feminine skirts and dresses (as do I), so tights are still a great addition! (They also allow summery dresses to extend through the winter and coolness of spring. Panty hose are just too fragile!)

Anyway, back on subject. Merikalyn was thrilled to tear open the package and see her new skirts and shirt!  She kept exclaiming, "Oh, Mommy! It's so long! Just like yours! We can be twins! It's so long!"

The package wasn't supposed to arrive until tomorrow (according to the shipping notification I received), so it was a lovely surprise to receive it today! She'll be thrilled to wear it to church tonight!

Praise God for the little blessings and pick-me-ups!

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