Friday, July 1, 2016

Farewell to Something Really Sweet

{I started this letter the last official day of homeschooling and I just couldn’t do it.  I was raw-- as raw as I had ever been as a parent.  Humbled and dependent on God in a way only parenting can bring about.  Blurry eyed, I had to stop ....... and pack for our road trip the next day.  If you are debating on whether or not to homeschool, maybe don’t read this and certainly don’t look at the pictures.  There will be no turning back for you.  It IS a sweet thing-- but don’t dare do it unless you know you are being asked by the Lord to do it.  And that you have your husband’s FULL support.  You will need it everyday.  I’ll write another day on why we are making a change.....after I write about the hundred other things I’ve thought about for the last 6 months!}

Dear Julia and Brighton,

When I walked into the dark-ish kitchen this morning to switch over the laundry, the little stack on the “present spot” on the kitchen table surprised me.  It’s not Valentines, Easter, Mother’s Day or my birthday!  And then I saw the note from Jeff.  Well.  I decided really quickly there wasn’t time to be emotional— we leave for VACATION tomorrow!!  Why else would I be changing the laundry over when it is still dark-ish?!


I made you binders each year to hold all of your work for the year.  You guys were pretty proud of those.  And this is the year you wanted uniforms......at home. ; )


Gone are the days you can go to school with bedhead, B.  You had some doozies.  {Veritas History}

Nine years.  And you two don’t remember it like I do.  I said yes to this whole homeschooling thing with fear and trembling.  As normal as it had become when I started, even I thought I was a little bit crazy.  But, yet, I had a desire to keep you with me a bit longer, to maybe help structure a foundation beneath you that might serve you well later:   Spiritually- to help you form a Biblical worldview from which you would shape your ideas about God and our culture, Emotionally- to walk with you as you experienced new feelings— good or bad— and to learn for myself how you responded in different situations, Socially— contrary to popular opinion the “social” capabilities are directly related to how social a family is.  We have NEVER lacked for social interaction.  Protecting the calendar feels a little like holding back the tide.  We FIGHT for those blank white squares!  Mentally— to teach you core school subjects but with my LIMITED knowledge to expose you to classic artists, composers and authors that have given us gifts of beauty for hundreds and hundreds of years.  Idealistic expectations?  Maybe.  But I really, really enjoyed trying.


We had Museum Week the end of February.  It was a great time for a break.  We would hit as many museums we could in Fort Worth or Dallas.




The big library downtown always had a great exhibit of some kind to add to our week.


Drama.



One year of Museum Week, it ICED and we couldn’t go anywhere.  We were SORELY disappointed. We made something yummy and made up our own museum day with art books and poetry!

It’s hard to get my mind around the fact that the season of doing our school at home is over.  I think we knew we wouldn’t go all the way but there is no way of knowing when it’s actually going to be over— and Daddy kept telling us that, didn’t he?  Especially as you got older on the days when he’d come home and we were all a little war-weary…. mad and irritated with one another.  He kept saying, “Don’t waste these days.  You will miss this.  I promise you will.”



A quick review of cursive.   That pink still looks great on you.


B’s first book was my first book.  Little Bear.

I honestly couldn’t take it all in these past weeks.  This last semester proved to be our hardest and I have been concentrating on getting by minute to minute.  I have had no room for processing extra emotions.  The thing I thought of that would be the last - regular- thing was our breakfast time devotionals.  I will so miss that.  Not that we won’t ever have breakfast together again but the regularity of sitting down with our Bible study binder is really over.  The two of you will have different schedules now— with different school start times and practices before school starts etc.  I will miss this time the most.  I can’t tell you how many times I was stunned by how applicable our “lessons” would be to our last few moments or struggles over the last few days. Honestly, some days, I’d feel badly for one of you thinking, “They are going to think I found these pages specifically for them and for today,” when I really had just turned to the bookmark and picked up where we left off.  God was {and is} working whether we thought He was or not.  That 15 or 20 minutes across the table from each other could go a few ways— some mornings we all sat down completely frustrated with one another.  Angry words had already flown and the tone of our home had spiraled down…. and then we’d have to pray before eating.  Other days, we’d all be sleepy or distracted and you’d give rote answers to the question based curriculum.  But then, there were days when I wished we’d never have to leave the table.  Your answers were thought through.  You asked questions that made me think hard— and ponder later.  You guys would be vulnerable about your struggles and you’d actually listen to and empathize with each other.  Those were gifts to me— gifts that encouraged me to not stop.  To keep going no matter how many careless words had been tossed around before 8:45.  I needed that time.  It kept my heart on track.  And maybe yours?



So glad I got this picture that day-- but certainly an ordinary day of baseball and ballet-- and a trip to the beloved library.


Second school room in the rental while we built the house we are in now.  Close quarters, for sure.



I will miss this flexibility-- a Royal Wedding Watch Party.  What a fun day this was!  You girls were mesmerized much like I was when Charles and Diana were married.  



Abraham Lincoln, of course.  He is a great man to study.


If I remember correctly, this was a doll with a mud face and a grass skirt.  You both were so proud.

I have a slew of memories and without thinking long, the first picture that comes to mind is the two of you sitting at your desks in the playroom turned school room, feet swinging because they didn’t touch the ground, heads down and pencils wobbling, intent on doing a good job.  Then I remember being on the floor doing our math fact competitions and how worked up you would get, Brighton— tongue tied because you were trying to go too fast.  And ALL THE LAUGHTER from both of you.  And Julia, how you could memorize everything so fast, I’ll never understand.  You knew poems that we’d read maybe twice?  {I miss the poetry.  You both do too, but you will NEVER admit it!}  




Always shenanigans....


Your head must have been cold, but NOT your feet!

Other memories I have are times in the window seat reading and reading and reading— me reading to you, you reading silently, math with pictures, RECESS, sewing with Mrs. Cox, history through picture books- {I learned so much!} homemade museum week {I wish we could still do this!}, Panera days, the multiple exciting Amazon deliveries in August, Barbie and Ken mummies when we studied Egypt, when you wanted uniforms at home, line time with two students, trips to the library, Mrs. Winsor and Science Etc. “Miss” Barbara, online classes with Veritas. and how AMAZINGLY CUTE you both were. {I opted for science somewhere else because I’m not a big fan of “mess”.  I really do wish I were that mom sometimes, but alas, I am not.}


I always considered a musical instrument a part of their schooling.  For now, it’s piano.


Putting his history cards in order getting ready for a test


MUMMIES!


You two walked Gabe every morning before school-- adventures galore and the most memorable.... EMERGENCY!!!!!!!!  EMERGENCY!!!!!!!!!!






RECESS!  chalk, jumprope, homemade kites-- others were riding bikes, wagon contraptions and wrestling in the grass

Kids, we have had so much fun.  Every step of the way was a learning process for all of us. These last few years have seen some crazy days— especially as schoolwork has gotten harder and you two started producing hormones that cause you to act like aliens— but even in the midst of that, we’ve been together and I’ve learned to love aliens.  Hours and hours and hours we’ve spent together.  And I know you better…. and you know each other better……. and you know me better.  Better than you ever wished for, I am sure.  Reality will hit sometime in the fall, I am sure and I will miss you.  But that’s probably healthy— oh, I know it is.  {I can read Robert Louis Stevenson’s Garden of Verses without you.  So there.}  I will be ready for you when you come home— excited to hear about your day when you are ready to tell me.


Dude.  3-D.


Mrs. Cox’s girls.  Amazing woman.  She LOVED these girls--even mine in a position SO OUT OF CHARACTER.  Makes me laugh out loud.  What IS that?


Another example of flexibility.... school at the lake, like in October...


And Panera-- with cinnamon roll motivation no momma can touch.


First time we bought school supplies when they switched to CLPS {University model school}


First day of CLPS


Oh, let me just tell you...I only have about a gazillion reading pictures.  Nothing stopped this momma’s heart like her child sitting and reading quietly.  Look!  He has a stack beside him.  However, this did not stick with this one, but I can look at the pictures and remember...


Even better together...



Even better, better when she’d read to him....



Our first and favorite school room-- I worked extra days at Walgreens so we could build these desks.  Thanks to Jeff for getting it done!




The blanket....

It was a great nine years.  I am a different person because of the time spent with you— a better person.  I have learned so much about myself and what I am and am not capable of.  I’ve watched you two grow into very interesting, beautiful, well-adjusted kids—- NORMAL, maybe?  But, really, what’s normal?  I love you two— whatever you are.  Mine. That I know. I’d do it all again, a thousand times.  Maybe by the 999th time, I’d get it right.

Love,
Momma


Be still my heart...

I really do just have a really sweet husband.