Friday, July 31, 2015

School Supplies

I still consider myself a "newbie" to this home education adventure. But, as I look at my calendar (and my curriculum), it stuns me to realize that we are entering our ninth year of Barnard Academy. Nearly a decade. Wow. We continue to take it a year at a time, trying not to make any declarations or predictions about future years. After all, I was the one who once said of homeschooling, "That's sweet. But I'll never do that."

A fellow mama on this journey sent this article recently and I had to pass it along. For those of you on the Book of Face, it might be familiar. I exited the Big Blue Portal some months ago; so, I might be late to this "sharing" party. The author of Homeschool This, a 20-year home education veteran of four children, begins her post by responding to the "Big Six" homeschooling questions one often gets asked. I resonated with most of her answers. Actually, mine might be considered "same tune, slightly different words."

1. How do you do that?

Grace, creativity, solid curriculum, good pencils, library cards, grace, and a fabulously rich community of fellow home educators. Did I mention grace?

2. Why do you do that?

Lots of reasons but for those who are interested, I happily refer you to Most (un)Likely to Homeschool .   I openly admit shameless self-promotion. It's endearing, isn't it?

3.  You're insane--who would do that?

Apparently, the asylum is pretty crowded.  

4.  What about socialization/academic rigor/character/etc.?

Umm...this is where how I respond in my head isn't necessarily "positive, encouraging, K-Love."  As my boy-men interact, intelligently and congenially, with a multi-generational crowd, I sometimes answer with a list of their activities, classes, service opportunities, books they are reading, etc.--essentially, their resume.   But, I pray it's the low-hanging Fruit that answers those kinds of inquiries. 

If I could find a winsome and gracious way to say, "How's that working out for the non-homeschooled kids?", I would.  I did some theatre in high school.  Maybe I could work on that.

5.  Can they go to college?

Of course, they can.  If they are called to do so.  That might sound strange coming from a Professor and his wife; however, what is most important to us is that they love God with all their heart, mind, and soul--and seek His will for their lives.  If college is in that plan, excellent.  If not, so be it.  At this point, they both have higher education in mind.  Even if Mini-Hooper goes in the first round of the NBA draft. 

6.  I could never do that!

If I can, anybody can.  Yes, you could--if you are called and convicted to do so.  The home education lifestyle is not for everyone.  My hope has always been that I would be supportive and affirming of whatever educational options my friends choose--and I trust that those who know me best would call me on that, if my attitude were to ever reflect anything contrary to that position. 

Lisa Renee goes on to emphasize the importance of a vibrant homeschooling community, tons of books, art supplies galore, flexibility, "going deep", and to just calm down and relax!  Ah, yes, 'tis the key.  Confession:  I have my "moments" of frustration, impatience, and "yick"--just as all parents do.  A self-imposed timeout and a handful of "emergency chocolate chips" does wonders.  As does perspective.  

I owe a debt of gratitude to those who have entertained my questions, encouraged my heart, sent me helpful links, and loaned me obscure books no longer available online, but are somehow still "recommended" on the curriculum list.   

For those who blazed the trail, before the days of curriculum fairs, online communities, and co-ops, I stand amazed.  And humbled.  

For all of those fellow sojourners--starting from the Memphis days of Kindergarten with He Who Is Now Taller Than I and a pre-school version of Mini-Hooper, who walked around the house chanting, "a noun is a person, place, thing, or idea" (Thank you, First Language Lessons of the Well-Trained Mind for the 2-for-1 deal in that instance).  For the one who encouraged me to "go deeper, not faster" and presented me with one of the coolest homeschooling t-shirts I've ever seen--thank you, and you were so right!  For those who walk this path, here in the rhinestone of the buckle of the Bible Belt (or may have gone East, but still South), the simple knowledge that we are in this--together--is priceless.  And makes those emergent chocolate situations a bit more infrequent. 

And for those dear hearts who encourage and support this adventure, no matter their schooling choices, graciously putting wind back into our sails when the salt maps have crumbled, you are appreciated.  Deeply.  Let me make you a "better than Sonic Happy Hour" milkshake as a small token of my esteem.  

I mean that.  


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Wish I'd Said That...

“We are so utterly ordinary, so commonplace, while we profess to know a Power the Twentieth Century does not reckon with. But we are "harmless," and therefore unharmed. We are spiritual pacifists, non-militants, conscientious objectors in this battle-to-the-death with principalities and powers in high places. Meekness must be had for contact with men, but brass, outspoken boldness is required to take part in the comradeship of the Cross. We are "sideliners" -- coaching and criticizing the real wrestlers while content to sit by and leave the enemies of God unchallenged. The world cannot hate us, we are too much like its own. 

Oh that God would make us dangerous!” 

~ Jim Elliot (1927-1956)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

What's In A Name?

As I pondered my latest blog post, I realized that Ninja, the blogosphere name that I had attached to my youngest son, wasn’t quite as relevant now as it once was.  Having achieved his second-degree black belt and finding other interests capturing his imagination, he came to the decision, with our support, that a sabbatical from the Studio was a good idea.  I thought to myself, “Self, perhaps Ninja is no longer the proper blog handle”.  However, I know my youngest well enough to know that seeking his input was imperative.  And, no, Self did not reply, in case you were wondering.

I didn’t have to wait long to obtain the go-ahead for change.  In fact, as he perused my most recent post (he is a faithful reader, bless his heart), he mentioned the need for a name change.  So, we put on our thinking caps--they are quite attractive accessories.  First, I suggested “Maverick”, his basketball team nickname.  They all came up with nicknames for each other.  So fun.  There’s also Tank, Shotgun, and 12-Gauge.  It’s about shooting hoops, not shooting Bambi.

All of a sudden, his eyes lit up, the perpetually mischievous grin appeared, and he said, with quiet but obvious delight.

Mini-Hooper.  Get the pun? Love it.

The offspring formerly known as Ninja has picked up the roundball with the same intensity and drive that characterized his martial arts tenure.  And, much like his black-belt days, what he lacks in height in makes up for in bravado.  And skills.  This four-foot-and-change kiddo has moves.  He runs drills, shoots free throws from all over the driveway, and challenges his big brother.  Mini-Hooper tells us that once he is drafted to the NBA, upon the signing of his first multi-million dollar contract, he will buy us our own private island.  I also get the Jane Austen collection and my Philosopher will be treated to original, first-editions of his beloved, C.S. Lewis.  All of which will be housed in this amazing manse whose attributes expand and extend on a daily basis.  

Much like the Seinfeld episode in which George takes his “would-have-been-inlaws” out to his non-existent house in the Hamptons.  En route, he regales them with tales of floor plan, decor, and the like.  Two solariums.  And some equine occupants named Snoopy and Prickly Pete.  I should add that I have decidedly more confidence in Mini-Hooper's ability to deliver than Mr. Costanza.  But, I digress.

My Own Private Island.

Courtesy of Mini-Hooper.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Hump-Day Hilarity: Dude Perfect

My guys introduced me to these Dudes.  Hilarious.  And, I think the Singer is my favorite.  Or maybe, the Screamer. Anyhoo, enjoy. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sunday Evenin' Hymn Sing: I Will Sing the Wondrous Story

"I Will Sing The Wondrous Story"

I will sing the wondrous story
Of the Christ Who died for me.
How He left His home in glory
For the cross of Calvary.

Yes, I’ll sing the wondrous story
Of the Christ Who died for me,
Sing it with the saints in glory,
Gathered by the crystal sea.

I was lost, but Jesus found me,
Found the sheep that went astray,
Threw His loving arms around me,
Drew me back into His way.

I was bruised, but Jesus healed me,
Faint was I from many a fall,
Sight was gone, and fears possessed me,
But He freed me from them all.

Days of darkness still come o’er me,
Sorrow’s path I often tread,
But His presence still is with me;
By His guiding hand I’m led.

He will keep me till the river
Rolls its waters at my feet;
Then He’ll bear me safely over,
Where the loved ones I shall meet.

~Francis H. Rowley (1886)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Sounds of Summer

Kids splashing in the pool.  The satisfying "thwap" of a flip top on a can of ice-cold Coke.  The rousing cheers of sun-soaked boys in response to the words "Let's go to Sonic--it's Happy Hour!". I'm sure that you can add to this list.  This summer, there have been several new sounds to add to the memory bank.

He Who Is Now Taller Than I, having embarked on the self-styled fitness regimen to which I earlier referred, is the purveyor of the first sound.  The back door closing and the subtle "swoosh-swish" of his jump rope hitting the chattahoochee patio as he skips rope.  This is not your double-dutch, "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear turn around" rope jumping of elementary school recess days.  These are impressive, boxer-like repetitions, averaging nearly 1200 turns daily.  I'm impressed.  It makes me tired just watching him.  Through the window.  Of our air-conditioned home. 

Clickety-clack, space-bar, space-bar.  Clickety-clack, space-bar.  My Ninja provides the second cut on the soundtrack of summer.  He has found a passion for creative writing, inspired by several captivating book series (Warriors, Harry Potter, and the Chronicles of Narnia), the formation of a young writers club (Writers of Rivendell), and his seemingly endless cache of imaginative creatures and realms.  He makes lists of names for his stories, carries a notebook around with him--in case an idea strikes him, and then transfers his tales to the Mac. "Mom, can I work on my story?".  "No, son, we don't want you to be creative, use your imagination, or exercise your vocabulary muscles."  Not.  

Naturally, the sound of the kitchen appliance Ninja, making Yoda Smoothies or late-afternoon "better than Happy Hour" milkshakes, completes the triumvirate of summer ear candy.  We start off healthy in the morning; but, then, around 2:00 in the afternoon, something happens.  The internal body clock that remembers, with alarming accuracy, that this is the time for all good citizens to head to their local Sonic for half-price slushies and limeades.  Thanks to the new cucina addition, we serve up some pretty decent afternoon delights.  It's amazing what a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream, some chocolate syrup, a slosh of milk, and ice cubes can do for the soul.  Of course, if you have have Oreos or some such delight on hand, crush them up and toss them in the concoction.  It's the "Diet Coke with a cheeseburger" theory.  

Good things.

Disclaimer:  This blog post is not brought to you by Coca-Cola, Sonic, or the makers of the Ninja blender.  I promise.  

Saturday, July 11, 2015

One of the Views I Love the Most

Of course, if you are a country music fan, you now have the Lonestar song strolling through your brain.  And while the view I do love the most is "my front porch looking in", these vistas run a very close second.  And, it's right down the road from Poohsticks and my multi-tasking cows.  Eye candy and ear candy.  It's a two-for-one kind of day.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Just Saying...

This is my Father's world,
And to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings
The music of the spheres.
This is my Father's world:
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas--
His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father's world:
The birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white,
Declare their Maker's praise.
This is my Father's world:
He shines in all that's fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass,
He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father's world:
O let me ne'er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the Ruler yet.
This is my Father's world:
Why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King: let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let earth be glad! 

~Maltie D. Babcock (1858-1901)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Hobbesian Hump-Day Hilarity

Hobbes.  As in Calvin and Hobbes.  I'm not going all esoteric philosopher on you.  Just jungle cat. We're having a bit of a C&H binge around these parts.

The original Calvin & Hobbes, p. 29.