Sunday, July 22, 2012

Weekend School

We went to the library on Friday morning.  H2 selected her basket of books and retired to her favorite rocking chair to look through them while she waited for her sisters to make their own selections.  I walked across to the periodical section to see what homeschooling magazines might be offered.  As I browsed, I turned to look back at my H2.

She was not where I left her.

A quick glance revealed her new location; she sat in a miniature chair with her book open flat on a miniature table in front of her.  She held her hand in a small fist with her index finger out as she pointed to the words on the page.  She was "reading."

My heart caught in my chest as I saw my small daughter working so seriously at being big.

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E12 found a book on fashion drawing.  At first glance she was dismissive.  But later she pulled the book out, and soon she had a stack of clean paper and freshly sharpened coloring pencils at hand.  She studied and drew and studied and drew all weekend.

I said, "This is what Individual Pursuits is all about--finding something you love to do so much that it is what you want to do even when you could be doing something else."

"I hate Individual Pursuits," she said.

"Then I don't think you understand Individual Pursuits.  Do you like what you're doing right now?"

"Yes!  I love it!"

"Then that is an Individual Pursuit." 

"Okay, I guess I like Individual Pursuits--as long as I can do this!"

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I made peach jam on Saturday.  M10 and J8 busied themselves with finishing some of S9's birthday presents, so S9 found herself at loose ends.  I invited her to help me in the kitchen.

She happily cleaned glass jars and measured sugar.  I asked if she wanted to empty the dishwasher or stir the hot fruit.  She chose stirring.

About 2 minutes later she said, "This is hard work!  I'd rather empty the dishwasher!"

"Are you sure?"  I asked.  "I thought you'd like to cook."

"This is so hot and so hard!  I'd really rather empty the dishwasher."

We switched jobs.

We worked companionably, and now we have a clean kitchen and 9 pints of homemade peach jam.

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A friend invited us to swim at her neighborhood pool with her granddaughter.  We were delighted to be invited and happily threw ourselves into the pools--big kids in the big pool, little kids and mom in the little pool.

At first the 2 little girls pottered around getting used to the water, but after a time they began working in earnest to accomplish something.  They retrieved little rocks that our friend threw for them.  They jumped up and down splashing.  They put their faces in the water.

Suddenly A5 realized that she'd taken her feet off the bottom and that she'd propelled herself forward.

"I can swim!" she yelled excitedly.

"I saw you!  You did swim!" I yelled just as excitedly.  "Do it again!"

She was eager to comply.

She swam again and again and again.

I homeschool for many reasons, but one of them is so that I am around to see my children's joy as they master something new.  A5 had stars in her eyes on a hot July afternoon.

 Her radiance lit my heart.

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