Snow, winter and the start of spring

Today is the last official day of winter and we woke up to several inches of fresh powdery snow. A part of me is ready for winter to be over, and the other part thinks that as long as the weather is cold, we should have some fresh snow on the ground to make everything a little prettier. The chickens aren’t fond of the snow, as it gets in their way, but the girls and I don’t mind it a bit. Classes are cancelled today, meetings are suspended, and it’s time for us to play and have fun.

‘H’ turned 6 years old this month and ‘A’ will be 8 in a few weeks. They’re still so young even though they’re growing quickly and maturing into little young ladies. Every day I am struck by how different they are from each other. They are each their own person.

As for me, I’ve spend the past two months changing the way I use my time, and although the changes are only temporary, they have provided a much-needed new perspective. I’ve been devoting a lot of time to volunteer work with the UU church and that has taken away from my personal activities such as writing and photography. It’s been good to have the break; I’m now starting to feel pulled back and I see things in a different way. One of the things I’ve been practicing is being mindful in the moment. I’ve been making a point of being fully present in each moment throughout the day and it’s made such a positive impact on my emotional and mental outlook. I was happy before, and now I am much more peaceful and intentional in my happiness. Things here are good.

We’re entering Spring, the season of growth, and it’s also the season for talking about homeschooling. Kindergarten registration is starting and all of the people who are thinking about homeschooling are starting to appear and ask questions. I try to answer as best as I can but it’s hard because I can’t compare a home school education to a public school education, as my children have never been to public school and I haven’t been a part of the public school system since I graduated from high school so many years ago. I really have no idea what the daily rhythms, learning experience and social interactions are like for the elementary school students of today. People say things have changed and that the kindergarten and second grade experiences that I remember from 35 years ago are different now. How, I don’t really know.

I do know what works for our family. I am so proud of my children and marvel daily at how they incorporate their expanding body of knowledge into their creative play. I love the questions they ask and the thought processes they employ as they look for evidence and ask questions. I love that they take pride in their work, be it housework, schoolwork, or play; that they are industrious and never bored; that they are ready and willing to help out without whining; that they are awakened by nature; that they are kind to their friends; that they are respectful of me and Jeff; that the developmental spurts marked by struggle are short-lived and rare; and that they are fully confident they can solve the problems of the future when they get older. They’re good kids. Whether they’re like this because they’re homeschooled or because they’re just good kids, who knows. All I know is that things are good. Something is working.

When the elementary-school-teacher-mom-who-wants-to-homeschool-her-kids-because-she-can’t-stand-the-idea-of-putting-them-in-public-school comes to me and asks what it’s like, I try to convey some of this to her. Same to the dad who hopes his wife will give it a try, and to the parents who love the idea but are concerned that their children won’t have any friends. I try to not absorb the fear they are emanating, because that world they want to keep their children out of is not part of my everyday reality. Back to being mindful in the moment.

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