My goal for this year is to quit quitting, and it's also to say "Yes" more when my girls ask to do something. It's much easier to say, "No, not right now." and then never say yes to whatever they asked. This is our second school day post my second homeschool convention of the year. I came home looking forward to finding a way to implement what I'd learned and what had been reaffirmed for me as true. And as much as those two things seem like separate things, they aren't. Because most of what is in my life is connected. Homeschooling is not a separate part of our family life but our family life is an integral part of homeschooling. I guess you could say our life is our education.
So what did I learn? Well, I learned, again (I'm slow to learn sometimes!) that music is an important part of brain development and that reading aloud, both listening and doing, help to improve language skills long after the story is over. That reading above ability level is a GOOD thing. Also, that reading aloud, being read to I mean, is the favorite part of many peoples memories of school.
So at the moment my middle child is working chocolate chip cookies. The second sheet is in the oven right now. She asked me nicely and I didn't really want to help, but I said yes anyway and helped her do it. My youngest is playing at the table, but she's listening to an audio book, thanks to Audibles.com. LOVE that site! It's not a highly intellectual book, it's a Boxcar Children story. But it is higher than her reading level and both girls enjoy it. Yesterday they worked on crafts while listening to Classical Music and I plan to do it again this afternoon. I'm still thinking about what book I want us to read outloud as a family. The last one we read was The Swiss Family Robinson.
The girls have been asking about doing a food drive again too. And today the middle one asked again and today I said yes. So I sent an e-mail out to our non-group group of local homeschooling friends who like to do the food drive together and hopefully next week we will be doing this again. We go on Wednesday afternoon or so and tuck flyers into mailboxes and door handles letting people know that we have a Super Simple way for them to give to the foodbank. We know people often mean to give and just forget or don't because they don't have time. So we offer to pick up a bag of food from them and take it for them. We come back on Friday morning and if there's a bag on the porch, step, etc we'll deliver it to the food bank. It's a lot of fun to do, and feels good to be helping!
It's not always easy to do the right thing, to say yes when I'd rather just sit. To say no, when it'd be easier to say yes for things like going to play instead of doing work. The best things in life aren't free is the way I've heard that saying but it's my opinion that the best things in life aren't easy. They take work. Children who are polite, fun to be around, and considerate of others don't just happen. Learning to speak a new language. Homemade breads. Those things are all wonderful and all take work! Mistakes happen but what makes the difference between failure and success is simple, it's not quitting. It's being consistent, even if that means starting again a hundred times. It's trying again. It's daily persevering because what you want to do is a good thing and well worth the effort.
Where's this going you ask? Here. My daughter won't learn to make cookies on her own without a recipe until she's made them using the recipe so many times she has it memorized and that won't happen unless I say yes and help her for as long as she needs and wants help. The girls will learn what they need to learn academically as we continue to read good books, work on their math etc. but that is just a noisy gong or a pretty apple with worms if they don't have character that honors and glorifies God as adults. The world needs more truly good people who exhibit integrity, honor, strength and intelligence paired with the ability to think, not simply follow the crowd.
This afternoon I made a batch of homemade rolls. My girls made cookies. We're going to listen to some classical music while we read about God and think about and then discuss what we've read. I'd like to play on the computer all afternoon and just let the day slip away, but that's not the right thing and in the end doing the right thing one small thing at a time will add up to a life well lived.