Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Little Flippant

Last summer, I was visiting a friend and ended up chatting with her brother and his wife.  They were considering homeschooling their three small children.  That young father asked me a question I could see they had talked about a lot, "How much time does homeschooling take?"  I was puzzled and amused and I crushed their hopes with three short words, "All of it."

Maybe I was a little flippant.  I could have said it better.  I know people who would have.  But I really do consider myself always homeschooling.  I mean, I do other things, but even they are part of my homeschooling strategy.  Like, all winter, I've been practicing Brahms' Requiem in German with the Timmins Symphony Orchestra community choir.  It's really hard for me.  I do it because I love it.  And I want to inspire my children to be excited about learning and working for what is beautiful.  Ewige Freude.

I think a more important question is, "Is it worth it?" 

Last winter we met with some other homeschoolers for a walk around the lake.  It was a cold day, but no one really minded except my three-year-old.  About half-way around the lake, she started crying about her cold toes.  She wouldn't let me carry her, or pull her on a sled.  She chose instead, to scream steadily the rest of the way around the lake.  Later, warm in our kitchen, she asked when we could do it again because she'd had the best time. 

The children and I play a math game together each day.  Last week, I introduced a new one.  It was not received well, "I hate this game.  Why are you making me do this?"  I persevered.  The next time I brought it out went better, "Yes!  Yes!  Yes!" with both fists pumping and a happy dance.

A couple of days ago, I introduced the poem, "The Highwayman."  It is, admittedly, a little old for them, but they've already heard it from Anne of Green Gables and Loreena McKennitt.  They were in goofy moods as we recited the first stanza together and kept interrupting to howl loudly, "The moon was a ghostly galleon!"  As we finished up and scattered to our separate projects, I heard one of the loudest howlers say, "That was fun.  I'm going to go learn the rest of it."

Is it worth it?  Mostly.

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