Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mache Mayhem

Paper mache. I thought to myself this will be a fun light-hearted project to end the week. That was before we began. Twenty minutes later, on the third batch of flour/water mix and up to my elbows in slowly crusting floury paste, my mood was also getting crackly.

Part of me wanted to laugh - at the oozing mess, at the boy who didn't want to touch the slimy stuff, at the giant pileup of mache on another boy's balloon (oops, a little more supervision and instruction, Mum), at the 'is this the right way to do this' thoughts running around in my head, at the whole thing. Another part of me wanted the project done so I could tick an imaginary box off in my head "Project complete". I pushed a little too hard, helped a little too much, sighed at least once too often; the desire to 'achieve' something won out over the moment.

After cleaning up the mess, I sat down and read this blog post at "At the Well". Ah yes. That's what it is all about - being remade into His likeness. In the midst of chaos, mess, and slippery pieces of gooey paper. Yet again, my Lord reminds me to slow down and to measure achievement differently.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Today was one of those 'slower than molasses in winter' days. Those are the days when two pages of maths can take all day. An opportunity to grow in patience and grace for me. At one point today I sought refuge on the kitchen floor, head between my knees: "Father, please help. Give me the wisdom, the patience to walk through this with the boys."

Such days bring me a conundrum (oh how I love that word): I want my boys to love to learn, to be diligent and hardworking in whatever is before them, I do not want to nag, nor do I want to use only entertaining items for learning. Yet sometimes these desires feel antagonistic toward each other. Hmmm... The first three of those things most parents would want for their kids - but some might disagree with me about the fourth. My reasoning behind such is that we all encounter situations and tasks in life that are not enjoyable in themselves but are necessary (washing dishes at least twice a day, picking up dog poo, reminding the boys to put away the obstacle course of shoes in the doorway for the fourth time that day... and more). These are the things which can be burdens or blessings simply by the attitude we take as we do them. I long for my boys to learn the power of this choice early in their lives, so that they might shoulder responsibility with joy and strength.

I was talking to my eldest about the power of his attitude this morning. Sometimes I wonder how much goes in or if my words are like the static from a non-broadcasting radio station.
But I am called to be a seed sower - frail and faulting as I am. So I sow seeds. Seeds of truth: "Consider it pure joy..." Joy is not a feeling, but a choice, an attitude. Seeds of hope: "Any of you who lacks wisdom should ask God..." Seeds of faith: "Seek and you shall find. Ask and you shall receive..." And you know, I think as I sow these seeds to the boys my own heart is fed.
May the Holy Spirit water and grow the good seeds planted today.

PS. If you want to share how you deal with such 'molasses' days - I would love to hear it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


I am going to use this blog as a blank slate. We are homeschooling our boys (now 7, 6, and 4) and I'll be using this blog to ponder our journey. Bits and pieces shall all end up here, I'm sure.

Organization. Not one of my strong suits. Here is our most recent attempt at a weekly schedule. I have to remind myself that this will always be a work in progress.

With the ages the boys are now, I am wanting to cover the basics. And as I don't have a fluent read-aloner yet, most of the learning is centred around my assistance. We are starting our day with the Word of God: Jesus A to Z by Yvonne Riley or a psalm. Then we cover maths (Maths-U-See), and speed maths (rolling dice and the boys add the numbers: as many as they can do in 2 minutes: they have fun trying to beat their earlier score: for Nate (4) we leave one die on either 1 or 2); handwriting, right now we're doing some worksheets to help them form their letters consistently, and we did a Bible copywork book (which the boys loved!); Reading, which we're using AlphaPhonics and sight-word cards (some on the iPod), and phonic games.
Reading aloud is one of my favourite parts, so I won't skip that one. Last week we read The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary. One I picked up at the library that we absolutely loved was The Railway Children by E. Nesbitt.

I am working to incorporate a 'focus' of the day: something like Mondays: Geography, Tuesday: History, Wednesday: Nature Study, etc. Hmmm... We'll see. At least this is a beginning.
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."