Our house was abuzz with activity today. Kids working on final edits to a folktale. Other kids trying to rescue a snow redoubt in the backyard from the never ending rain and warm temperatures. Pokemon upstairs. YouTube videos downstairs. Kids feeding the dog, or playing with the dog, or letting the dog out the door and chasing her around the backyard. A tangle of tweeny arms and legs as kids crawled all over each to look at the same book.
And all the while, the moms sat in the kitchen and talked about how hard homeschooling is. And how wonderful it is, of course. But lots of talk about how hard it is.
This happens every Monday, after class lets out. The kids play and eat and run around. And we talk about homeschooling. No matter how long we’ve done it, no matter how committed we are to it, there doesn’t seem to be a day when we don’t talk about homeschooling as a topic in and of itself. It’s like when you first have a baby, or get a new boyfriend; there’s no end to processing what it’s like to experience this reality.
I don’t know if it’s because what were are doing is so outside the mainstream that we have to keep making it make sense to ourselves. Or maybe it’s that it really is like being with a newborn; you’re sleep-deprived, spending too much time with one small being, and if you’re honest you have no idea what you’re doing.
Whatever it is, I love these women and the small community we’ve formed by coming together to teach our kids. I originally formed the class so that I would have some accountability about following through on the projects we started. And that’s still a big benefit of joining small groups of homeschoolers to study and learn together. But the biggest benefit for me is the coffee we share after class. Those women are great company as I try to do this thing that leaves me always wondering if I’m doing a good enough job.
Okay, enough of that mushy stuff. This is supposed to be a month where I describe what we actually do in a day.
This morning, we set up the house for the classes that meet here on Mondays. Half of the kids take Spanish in our bedroom from nine to ten-thirty while the other half study ancient African kingdoms in the dining room. We take a half hour break and then switch until twelve-thirty.
The classes are winding down for the semester and kids are working on many final projects for our big celebration on MLK Day. For humanities, they are finishing folktales and final projects. They are also working on scrapbooks about the nine kingdoms they studies this fall. So the entire first floor of the house was covered with scrapbooks, paper, glue sticks, scissors, and pictures printed from magazines they’ve read and documentaries they’ve watched.
We also spent some time discussing Nzingha: Warrior Princess of Angola and the slave trade along the western coast of Africa. I’m always surprised by how sophisticated the thinking of young people can be.
When classes were over, some kids continued to work on their scrapbooks while others headed off to other pursuits, both inside and outside. And the mothers? We gathered in the kitchen for coffee.