It is time to confess one of the dark secrets of homeschooling.....burnout. Last year was just a rough year. We moved, the kids tried to go to public school, multiple ADHD diagnoses, and converting to Eastern Orthodoxy. What is interesting is that it wasn't rough as in bad. Just a lot of change. The ADHD really made me rethink my approach to homeschooling and what was both reasonable and in the best interests of my special students.
I have spent the last month and half doing practically nothing in the way of formal homeschooling. I have rested, ridden my horse, made new friends....and eased my toe into some teaching resources.
What has helped me the most? Reading The Abolition of Man, by CS Lewis. http://www.amazon.com/The-Abolition-Man-C-Lewis/dp/0060652942/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1343839242&sr=8-1&keywords=the+abolotion+of+man,
and spending a lot of time listening to podcasts here: http://circeinstitute.org/
I have just started to plan the upcoming year, but find myself finally looking forward to it again. That little bit of excitement about getting to spend these precious moments, hours, days, weeks and years with my children. :)
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
I wish someone would invent a recipe that made eating humble pie a little more appetizing. Unfortunately, there is nothing tasty about crow or picking feathers from your teeth. This tale of U-turnish woe started almost 3 years ago. We knew we were moving we just did not know where. I had a child with a milk allergy, adhd, and dyslexia who was falling through the public school cracks. Another child who was struggling with an audio processing disorder, but receiving minimal help due to the speech therapist being put on bedrest and maternity leave. With all of these things swirling in my immediate galaxy, we made the decision to homeschool. We enjoyed homeschooling and it served us well during our moves. Unfortunately, I missed pride creeping in.
You see I wasn't one of THOSE homeschooler's. You know the type, the helicopter moms who think spaghetti straps are of the Devil, evolution = paganism, and public schools are the next Great Satan. Yes, there had been some issues with the kids school, but all in all, it was a decent place. Most importantly the kids had felt safe and loved.
Fast forward a few years. We had finally landed in a town where we felt a bit settled. It was in the country with one elementary school. It seemed to be a similar set up to their last public school experience and since that was not horrible, we thought we would give it a try. The kids were so excited anticipating making new friends, impressing their teachers, riding the Big Yellow Bus, recess and PE. Sadly their rose colored glasses were quickly dashed from their heads and shattered on the hard linoleum floors.
It started slow. A few comments about how much cussing there was, which was a bit shocking, in that Nate and I are not without the occasional expletive. Then I went and sat in my 1st grade son's class for a few days. I watched as they did worksheet after worksheet using the ELMO/smartboard. Worksheets, endless worksheets. Then when he came home there would be more worksheets for homework. I watched a little girl arrive to class about 3 hours late. It was clear from the angry and exasperated look of the teacher that this was not a rare occurrence. "Lily, why are you late.....AGAIN?!" Lily, "because my mom wouldn't wake up," she snarls and stomps to her seat, sticking her tongue out at the unkind faces staring at her. At that moment I have to look into the confused eyes of my 6 yr old, I see the question. Lily wasn't there the next day and within a few weeks she was removed to a "special school."
Then one of the twins started to have his artwork stolen. When he would go to another class, his peers would sneak into his desk and pornographically edit his drawings and leave them out for the teacher to catch. At least the teachers were aware of the very different artistic abilities between him and his peers. The other twin went through 3 increases in his ADHD medications. Then the punching on the bus started. My 6 yr old didn't know how to handle being punched multiple times a day. The bus driver knew, the principal was brought on, but it continued as soon as the Principal was off the bus.
My heart hurts for what they had to experience, but they are home again. They are detoxing and it has not been a pretty last few days, but there is a sense of relief. A peace, a saftey, and a hope for the future. We are two days back into homeschooling and as I write this I am getting ready to take the to a foreign language and culture club. Tomorrow they are going to see a Russian art exhibit, the Houston rodeo and The Band Perry.
I am now one of those homeschooling parents. Call me over protective, insulating, keeping my kids out of reality........as another homeschooling mom put it,
"Misery is optional."
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Today is the first time I get to celebrate a Name Day...or Saint's Day. In becoming Orthodox, with the help of my Priest, I was able to chose a Saint name. This was something that became very important to me as it allowed me to connect, in a personal way, with a far distant past. It brought to life the feeling a family with the Saints that have lived before me. Here is a link to an article that explains this in a little more detail http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/orthname.aspx
I definitely felt a connection with Saint Genevieve of Paris. From our shared French heritage, love of bread and wine, spiritual giftings, and bold personalities, there was a bond. I look forward to getting to know this woman more over the next year and learning to emulate her life.
Here is a bio from the Catholic Encyclopedia:
Patroness of Paris, b. at Nanterre, c. 419 or 422; d. at Paris, 512. Her feast is kept on 3 January. She was the daughter of Severus andGerontia; popular tradition represents her parents as poor peasants, though it seems more likely that they were wealthy and respectable townspeople. In 429 St. Germain of Auxerre and St. Lupus of Troyes were sent across from Gaul to Britain to combat Pelagianism. On their way they stopped at Nanterre, a small village about eight miles from Paris. The inhabitants flocked out to welcome them, and St. Germainpreached to the assembled multitude. It chanced that the pious demeanour and thoughtfulness of a young girl among his hearers attracted his attention. After the sermon he caused the child to be brought to him, spoke to her with interest, and encouraged her to persevere in the path of virtue. Learning that she was anxious to devote herself to the service of God, he interviewed her parents, and foretold them that their child would lead a life of sanctity and by her example and instruction bring many virgins to consecrate themselves to God. Before parting next morning he saw her again, and on her renewing her consecration he blessed her and gave her a medalengraved with a cross, telling her to keep it in remembrance of her dedication to Christ. He exhorted her likewise to be content with themedal, and wear it instead of her pearls and golden ornaments. There seem to have been no convents near her village; and Genevieve, like so many others who wished to practise religious virtue, remained at home, leading an innocent, prayerful life. It is uncertain when she formally received the religious veil. Some writers assert that it was on the occasion of St. Gregory's return from his mission to Britain; others say she received it about her sixteenth year, along with two companions, from the hands of the Bishop of Paris. On the death of her parents she went to Paris, and lived with her godmother. She devoted herself to works of charity and practised severe corporalausterities, abstaining completely from flesh meat and breaking her fast only twice in the week. These mortifications she continued for over thirty years, till her ecclesiastical superiors thought it their duty to make her diminish her austerities.
Many of her neighbours, filled with jealousy and envy, accused Genevieve of being an impostor and a hypocrite. Like Blessed Joan of Arc, in later times, she had frequent communion with the other world, but her visions and prophecies were treated as frauds and deceits. Her enemies conspired to drown her; but, through the intervention of Germain of Auxerre, their animosity was finally overcome. The bishop of the city appointed her to look after the welfare of the virgins dedicated to God, and by her instruction and example she led them to a high degree of sanctity. In 451 Attila and his Huns were sweeping over Gaul; and the inhabitants of Paris prepared to flee. Genevieve encouraged them to hope and trust in God; she urged them to do works of penance, and added that if they did so the town would be spared. Her exhortations prevailed; the citizens recovered their calm, and Attila's hordes turned off towards Orléans, leaving Parisuntouched. Some years later Merowig (Mérovée) took Paris; during the siege Genevieve distinguished herself by her charity and self-sacrifice. Through her influence Merowig and his successors, Childeric and Clovis, displayed unwonted clemency towards the citizens. It was she, too, who first formed the plan of erecting a church in Paris in honour of Saints Peter and Paul. It was begun by Clovis at Mont-lès-Paris, shortly before his death in 511. Genevieve died the following year, and when the church was completed her body was interredwithin it. This fact, and the numerous miracles wrought at her tomb, caused the name of Sainte-Geneviève to be given to it. Kings, princes, and people enriched it with their gifts. In 847 it was plundered by the Normans and was partially rebuilt, but was completed only in 1177. This church having fallen into decay once more, Louis XV began the construction of a new church in 1764. The Revolution broke out before it was dedicated, and it was taken over in 1791, under the name of the Panthéon, by the Constituent Assembly, to be a burialplace for distinguished Frenchmen. It was restored to Catholic purposes in 1821 and 1852, having been secularized as a national mausoleum in 1831 and, finally, in 1885. St. Genevieve's relics were preserved in her church, with great devotion, for centuries, and Parisreceived striking proof of the efficacy of her intercession. She saved the city from complete inundation in 834. In 1129 a violent plague, known as the mal des ardents, carried off over 14,000 victims, but it ceased suddenly during a procession in her honour. Innocent II, who had come to Paris to implore the king's help against the Antipope Anacletus in 1130, examined personally into the miracle and was so convinced of its authenticity that he ordered a feast to be kept annually in honour of the event on 26 November. A small church, calledSainte-Geneviève des Ardents, commemorated the miracle till 1747, when it was pulled down to make room for the Foundling Hospital. Thesaint's relics were carried in procession yearly to the cathedral, and Mme de Sévigné gives a description of the pageant in one of her letters.
The revolutionaries of 1793 destroyed most of the relics preserved in St. Genevieve's church, and the rest were cast to the winds by the mob in 1871. Fortunately, however, a large relic had been kept at Verneuil, Oise, in the eighteenth century, and is still extant. The churchbuilt by Clovis was entrusted to the Benedictines. In the ninth century they were replaced by secular canons. In 1148, under Eugene IIIand Louis VII, canons from St. Victor's Abbey at Senlis were introduced. About 1619 Louis XIII named Cardinal François de LaRochefoucauld Abbot of St. Genevieve's. The canons had been lax and the cardinal selected Charles Faure to reform them. This holy manwas born in 1594, and entered the canons regular at Senlis. He was remarkable for his piety, and, when ordained, succeeded after a hard struggle in reforming the abbey. Many of the houses of the canons regular adopted his reform. He and a dozen companions took charge ofSainte-Geneviève-du-Mont, at Paris, in 1634. This became the mother-house of a new congregation, the Canons Regular of St. Genevieve, which spread widely over France. Another institute called after the saint was the Daughters of St. Genevieve, founded atParis, in 1636, by Francesca de Blosset, with the object of nursing the sick and teaching young girls. A somewhat similar institute, popularly known as the Miramiones, had been founded under the invocation of the Holy Trinity, in 1611, by Marie Bonneau de RubellaBeauharnais de Miramion. These two institutes were united in 1665, and the associates called the Canonesses of St. Genevieve. The members took no vows, but merely promised obedience to the rules as long as they remained in the institute. Suppressed during theRevolution, it was revived in 1806 by Jeanne-Claude Jacoulet under the name of the Sisters of the Holy Family. They now have charge of over 150 schools and orphanages.