One of the things that I internally battle constantly is the illusion that homeschooling should be a life of idyllic learning and family creativity and harmony. Even though I've 'lived the life' for four years now, I still expect that there will be some magical glow that surrounds our days.
But often, homeschooling is reminiscient of bringing a new baby home from the hospital, with the full expectation and adoration of new life, hand in hand with a brutal nursing schedule and diapers full of questionable material (which we celebrate each time!).
So when something happens that looks like my flawed image, it is worth celebrating and celebrating publicly.
This week I declared a reading week. I wanted to do something different since the kids are so wound up. I had nightmares of pushing through math and handwriting with wiggling, giggling kids. I also was feeling deeply unsatisfied (ashamed?) of the small amount of time that we just sit and read together, and how easily it has become to default to the television.
So this week is reading week. We will do a couple weeks worth of reading, sitting and cuddling in front of the Christmas tree.
So, of course, every good reading week starts with a trip to the Library.
Yesterday, I gave Caleb specific instruction. 'Caleb, I want you to look for three or more chapter books to bring home'. We got to the library. Caleb says to me 'Mom, I only want to get chapter books about real people, not story chapter books.' We've been reading Johnny Tremain, and Caleb has read a few biographies as part of our beginning study of US history.
'Okay Caleb'. So I show him the biography section in the Children's room and how to find who he was looking for (he had already decided on Franklin and Washington). (I should add that every trip to the library this Fall has included a brief suggestion... 'Caleb, here are the biographies'... but yesterday was the first time he 'heard' it.)
It was tremendous to hear Caleb exclaim about all the names he recognized. "Mom, look.... Mom, check this out... Mom this.... Mom that".
I figure if the ONLY thing I concretely equip Caleb with during his third grade year is a love for reading biographies, I've done enough. It took a tremendous amount of self-control to not scream for joy out loud in the library.
(By the way, he came home with Three biographies: Ben Franklin, Paul Revere, and George Washington. And he was thrilled to find the one of Ben Franklin which was written by Mary Pope Osborne - author of Magic Tree House books.)