Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hunting for Freedom

Somewhere between Breakfast and the baby's first diaper change, I lost it.
I couldn't find the freedom I know is mine, and I was completely taken off guard
when it disappeared.  Where to?  I don't know.
All I know is I was sitting on the back porch watching my small ones play.
There was an enamel basin filled two inches with cool water.  Cups of various color and size
were being dipped in, poured out, and my sad wilted tomatoes were soaking up a much longed-for drink.
The morning sun was shining straight down - no shadows peeking out anywhere.  No shade.
I was content with my lot, dreaming of little tweaks here and there which would improve my
humble program.  My "what I am trying to accomplish with my Bugletts" program.
You know.  Life.

In the freshness of morning; only happy sounds could be heard and I commenced thinking about
next years school.  Actually, school slash learning is a slowly plodding mule we've been riding all summer.
 We're not moving very fast, but depend on us getting there - to our destination - eventually.
 Some days I distribute more busy work, others less, and most all the days holding an element of "real life"
 which offers an education I couldn't produce any other way.
The rocket, sail ship, or  log cabin project for example.
Spring and summer are the most fruitful time for our Nature Journals, and even though our garden is
completely overgrown with volunteers and weeds, many of the wild flowers are still going strong in August.
Last years vegetable plot is this year, a bed of daisies - literally.  Frogs, moths, beetles, berries, flowers,
frogs, dead mice and voles (thanks to Fred the cat), grasshoppers, various rocks, and even more frogs
than I can count have passed before my appreciating eyes this Summer.
Susanna is finger crocheting, and braiding my hair.
Olivia is learning to read, and fixing breakfast for two younger siblings.
Clayton was inspired to start a worm farm to supply his fishing habit.
Zachary has entered the ranks of voracious readers; Tom Swift mysteries being right at the top.
And I?  I am all of a sudden feeling petrified about "Next Year's School..." (spoken here in hushed tones).

As I said, I was caught off guard between Breakfast and the baby's first diaper change of the day.
Somewhere in the interim, when I was unprepared for the blow, I took in 20 minutes of my friend's school plan
(which probably took her hours and day,s if not weeks to perfect) and my school plan
lost it's shine.
My dreams of pleasant improvements upon what already works for my tribe,
became a mad grasp at all the things I should do, must do, need to do...
you know, those things that "other" people are doing.  And doing successfully, I might add.
No longer was it fun.  No how.  It turned to business and nothing but.
And in a 20-minute instant, I lost my freedom.
Freedom to be me. To do what works for me. To do what works for our family.  To dream.

I don't understand it, but it seems to be a law of nature, that when considering the methods
that are effective for someone else, I feel obligated to use that exact same program.
Instead of gaining inspiration, I seem to accumulate guilt like it's going out of style.
Not exactly motivating.
In fact, it is actually very much a burden, and an unnecessary one at that!

So I looked and looked for that misplaced freedom.  It wasn't in the Biology book.  It wasn't in the
new math manipulative's.  It wasn't in the proposed music lessons.  It wasn't in that friend's fancy Excel charts.

After I changed the baby's diaper I had quite a time recovering from my self-imposed illness.
It wasn't until afternoon that I found a piece of what I was hunting for.  In my cold mocha, chocolaty
and caffeinated I found some pep.  The possibilities started looking plausible.
In a short chat with another girlfriend, my wise friend asked me "...so what's most important?..." 
THAT'S where I reclaimed my freedom.  I'd forgotten not only to ask myself that question, but I'd also lost sight of what is important.

I believe that what's most important will be different for each person/family/teacher/momma
and that I have to determine it based on larger farther-reaching goals I want to accomplish.
But PHEW!  What a relief to remember that I have a unique family, in a unique situation,
living under unique circumstances, trying to meet our own unique goals!  What is important?
I need to sit and really evaluate the question, but I think I know.  At least I think I can answer that for
myself in this season; and with that I can decide what mode of transportation moves our family to it's
unique destination.
I'll try to wrap my mind around this query over a few more mocha's,  but who knows?
Maybe that slowly plodding mule is just the thing:-)


Julia said...

oh how I can so totally relate to your post! (we all have those "wobbly" moments, I think)
Isn't it intriguing how quickly we "fall off our axis" when we start comparing ourselves to others!! I'm glad you had someone else to counter-balance your core beliefs and set you back on track again. Remember, it's not just about the destination..but the journey too. :-)

JOHN said...

Thank you ! I sooo needed that today....You are such an inspiration to me. You have a beautiful family...just keep on keepin' on and what's the most important will happen and the rest...well, just don't worry about the rest.

The Pauls' Family said...

So well put! It is so easy to get caught up in what others are doing and forget to ask God what we should be doing! God did not make us all cookie cutter homeschoolers.....or families. There are basics and absolutes that He tells us in His Word...but to find the "other" things that He wants for our family takes seeking Him, daily...cause it may change from day to day...actually it may change from moment to moment!

Thank you for sharing your heart and putting into words the struggle we all go through!

Blessings, Rosalie

Sally said...

What is most important is coming thru loud and clear in the wonderful pix you posted on this blog, Ana dear! Great job of instilling loving relationships between your children! The rest will follow....

Cinnamon said...

loved hearing your heart. i linked to this in my last blog post.

you know what is funny? people come here to visit you and long for the life *you* live because it's a beautiful and care-free life. we all have those times when we search to solidify *our* family's rhythm. thing is...it's ever changing.

hugs hugs hugs ~ cinnamon

Momma Bug said...

Oh THANK you ladies!
Thank you.
Thank you mom.
Thank you Marie, Julia, Rosalie, Cinnamon.
Thank you!

Shauna said...

Know what, I'm a little glad to see even you "seasoned" homeschoolers get caught up in the attack of "my approach is doomed to failure".
It suddenly hit me this week that Heidi is ready to officially start kindergarten. I AM NOT READY! And I started questioning all the ideals and thoughts we've had on teaching our children.
How thankful I am for a Father and a husband who gently pull me back and remind me why and how and what and Who is important. I'll be praying His love comes through loud and clear in your instruction of your children, just as I pray it does in mine.

Jana said...

It does me good to read your blog, Analene. Thank you.

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