Oh Friday, there you are. Takes for all.
Climbing up a mountain of school this weekend because everything in the universe is due on Monday. Did much better this quarter of getting stuff done (that’s a technical homeschooling expression) in a timely fashion, but even with all the teeth gritting due diligence, there is no way for me humanly stay on top of every quiz and assignment. You will always find me, two days before the quarter ends, alternately shouting and crying and begging and pleading. Don’t try to text me this weekend. I’ll be sitting next to children, clenching and unclenching my fists, trying not to curse the darkness.
With the quarter done that means we’re just about half way through the year. Nine and a half years down, only ten and a half more years to go.
So, if you’re looking for advice about homeschooling don’t ask me. The only thing I’ll tell you is, don’t don’t it. But if you have to do it, it’ll be fine. And by fine I mean a terrible lot of work and you will relentlessly envy everyone who sends their kids to school, except when the temperature falls below nothing degrees, then you will be really happy with yourself, but there aren’t that many days like that in the year, except this year, but still, don’t do it, unless you have to.
I do, though, have one tip for when you’re teaching a child to read. It’s too good to keep to myself so I’ll do the christian thing and share. As you know, all children are unable to transition from one activity to another without melting down. Actually, adults can’t really do it either but we’re better at pretending. So, with reading, you’re basically looking at an endless transition. The words relentlessly break off from each other. You read one and then you immediately have to transition to the next word. It’s really hard to let go of the word that you’re on, both mentally and emotionally, and embrace the very thought of the up coming word. This is why it’s easier to just run each word into the one before, never breaking them off into their own selves. It’s a closure problem, a leaving of something behind and moving on to something else.
Because this is true, it is absolutely fine to let a child look up for a minute and forget what she’s doing, to change the topic of conversation to what she had for breakfast or why she is wearing a bandaid or something, just for a minute. It’s fine even for you both to stare into space, to stop momentarily and watch what everyone else is doing. Small interruptions allow closure at the end of the word or sentence.
I mean, the pauses can’t go on forever, and once the child gets the concept of words entire to themselves, you can push harder. But I’ve found over and over that a child is helped by staring into the sky for a minute, if not after every word than at least after every three or four, and then five or six.
So there you are, the totality of my homeschool advice after nine years of trying. You’re welcome.
Matt has the most amazing thread going on his Facebook page. As we happened to mention on the podcast on Monday, there’s a rash of imprecatory memes all over Facebook. Bits like, “No woman gives birth smiling, whoever vows to trouble you this year shall suffer endless anguish, in Jesus name. Amen.”
The thread has been going on for what seems like weeks but I guess is only a few days, and now everyone around here is adding ‘inJesusname, amen’ to any available sentence. You’d think this could only be used sarcastically, but as I’m clenching and unclenching my fists next to various children, this kind of ending to a prayer is surprisingly heartfelt.
I mean, the allure of the prosperity gospel is based on the not fundamentally wrong idea that God is good. As someone who eschews utterly the word of faith and prosperity heresies, I do tend to lean rather heavily on the holiness and perfection of God. I know, in the depths of my being, that he wants me to be holy, and that is the characteristic through which I should filter the word ‘good.’ God is good, perfectly good. And I must never measure God’s goodness by what I, in the smallness of myself, think is good. I think not ever having any troubles is good. I think not suffering is good. I think having everything I want right now is good. If I take those ideas of good and apply them to God, I will always be disappointed and angry, or have to invent a new way of reading the Bible.
I do think, though, that sometimes I let my strong knowledge that my good and God’s good are not the same overplay themselves a little bit. I was knocked back, for example, when ploughing along through the New Testament, by Jesus pointing out to the gathered throngs that even wicked people know how to give good gifts, and God is not evil, so why aren’t you asking him for stuff. I might pretend that I don’t ask him for stuff because I don’t think I need anything but more holiness, but really, I’m deceiving myself. I don’t like to ask God for stuff that I need and want because 1. I’d rather go get it myself than to admit my helpless and dependent state, and 2. I have a bad picture of God whereby he is not good, but waiting to whack me with more suffering. This isn’t a totally unreasonable expectation because God has frequently allowed me to suffer, though usually in small mundanely irritating ways. Still, he said to ask, so I should ask. For everything that I need and want. Without fear of more suffering. Like for the children to finish their work in a timely and reasonable fashion. In Jesus Name Amen.
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