Peace seems evasive to me this week.
The kids were sick all week, and I spent a day feeling motherly and tender, but then once they were mostly better, some part of me thought that things ought to go back to normal. But they didn’t. Paul has not been napping and it is sooooo frustrating because he actually falls asleep nursing everyday, but then wakes up when I lower him into the crib. It is then really, really hard to try to get any school done because he gets into everything – rips it, colors on it, and/or throws it on the floor. He is 21 months and very busy, almost uncontrollably busy, and not easily deterred or distracted once he has an idea in his head. He’s at that age where toys are boring and all the household stuff that he’s not supposed to get into is exciting, which is also frustrating. I spend a lot of time just doing damage control.
Monday and Tuesdays went as sick days, and both kids slept at the same time for a while (for the first time since October, I think, it was Heaven!). Tuesday, she was probably well enough for school, but Paul was definitely not feeling better, so we let it go as another sick day. Wednesday, I had planned to take Elizabeth to the Humane Society since Chepe would be home to watch Paul, and it worked out, after a few bumps. We happened to arrive about 1 1/2 hours before they opened, so went down into town to do some errands and stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts for a snack and a drink (yuck, should have passed on that one – I am not a fan of Dunkin’ Donuts’ coffee), and had a lovely time just hanging out the two of us, which we rarely are able to do these days.
When we got back to the Humane Society, it turned out that the cats had ringworm so we were unable to go in to see them, which had actually been the object of our trip, and the dogs were loud and scary, so we spent a whole 20 minutes in the building. We did drop off a donation of some old towels and some toys and food that Elizabeth picked out at the store to take. It was a good trip, even if short, as a way for her to get a first-hand look at what the Humane Society does, how it provides a service to the community, and how she can help.
So, the trip to the Humane Society went well, but in what other way has peace been so evasive to me this week? I feel tumultuous. I feel slightly depressed, like all that I do as a mother and housewife is immediately undone or rejected. I just feel friction everywhere, and have even started to wonder if homeschooling is the way to go? Would Elizabeth be better off in public school?
After some thought, I concluded that no, probably she would not be much better in public school than in homeschool – which is good. I think I can teach as well or better than how she would be taught in public school, and I am able to teach her to her level, exactly where she is. As well, she seems to be at kindergarten level right now for some things, as best as I can tell, and I’d hate to have her love for learning squelched just because “she’s all ready there,” not of course that every single teacher doesn’t teach to individual needs, but it is much harder in a classroom with 25 other children than for me to do it myself. I also don’t think that I want her subject to the Common Core and No Child Left Behind Act and all that pressure from testing and grades and special ed or advanced, etc. I’ll just let her be her. A part of homeschooling that I am also beginning to incorporate that I am really enjoying is service learning, which is why we went to the Humane Society this week. Other aspects of our homeschool that I don’t believe get touched on enough and with enough emphasis in public schools are the themes of values, character, peace, and diversity, as well as analyzing the harder truths of life and history.
So, why have I been considering public school at all? The socialization and being part of a group/class (aka not #1 all of the time) are appealing. People go on and on about socialization, but with more than one kid, I find it is easy to just stay at home. As well, there just aren’t a lot of activities available to pre-k aged children in our community or area. I have plans for this summer and next year, but am now racking my brain for some ideas for the mean time. Our service learning activities are beginning to, and will continue to, get us out of the house more, maybe as a whole family.
Lastly, and in a completely different direction, I wanted to write on the wonderful CD that I got this week: Teaching Peace by Red Grammar. It’s a classic, and has received awards, and I have found that I just love it! Since I had children, I find that I just don’t relate to mainstream music, but listening to Red Grammar’s lyrics, though they are for children, gives me something I can relate to. His songs are catchy, even though some are ballads, which is good for children, and touch on positive themes and messages with a moral. My personal favorite is ‘I Think You’re Wonderful,’ because, really, who doesn’t want to hear that crooned at them everyday? I think it is a good choice for Elizabeth too. Though she seems to prefer Frozen right now, I think songs that teach peace and kindness definitely have their place.