“We should always endeavor to wonder at the permanent thing, not at the mere exception. We should be startled by the sun, and not by the eclipse. We should wonder less at the earthquake, and wonder more at the earth.”– G.K. Chesterton
This morning, Mary Hannah will walk into a classroom and assume her place as an elementary education major.
It’s not what she dreamed she’d be doing. By her reckoning, she should be sitting for her board exams next spring, proving her competency in catching babies, not slogging through pre-requisites in the quest for a teaching certificate.
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life. —Francis of Assisi
Recently, I shared a blog piece to Facebook. It wasn’t anything I had written, and honestly, the topic doesn’t matter. In the course of the ensuing discussion, however, an interesting (to me) theme developed that was finally succinctly summed up in a single phrase by a friend— the cult of family.
The idea, as I began to understand it, is that it’s a bad thing to be too family centered. (I’m not entirely sure who gets to define “too family centered.”) Apparently, large families are among the worst offenders. I’m guessing that the whole idea springs from the abuses of the Quiverfull movement, which are many, but I truly can’t be sure.
Every state has it’s own legal codes surrounding homeschooling. It’s our job to give unto Caesar and be sure we’re compliant. This year, I’ve put extra hours into researching the laws in our state, checking and double checking to be sure that Mathaus has met the requirements for graduation. (No worries there— he already exceeded them.) I take my administrative role seriously. I maintain thorough transcripts for my high schoolers, and I keep detailed portfolios and records for my younger students. If the state says I need to register with an umbrella school, I do it. If I have to provide a semester of state history, I do it. If I’m supposed to give a test once a year, I do it.
Sleeping arrangements were… creative while our guests were here. Thirteen people in a three bedroom house? Yeah, there was some ingenious rearrangement taking place.
For all intents and purposes, our summer should have ended Monday. But, seeing as how life has been chock full of things that have left us feeling less rested than we’d like heading into a new school term, we decided to exercise our ability to push everything out a week.
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Every once in a while, someone says something so profound within earshot that your soul can’t help but nod in agreement, highlighting the words, drawing your attention to the truth with an intellectual vigor akin to being grabbed by the cheeks, forced to gaze into serious eyes and demanding, “Are you listening?” I had this experience recently at the Charlotte Mason Institute East National Conference, where Dick Keyes of L’Abri Fellowship spoke on the importance of giving our children a deep well of hero culture from which to drink.
We are living, right now, this moment, in a brave new world. No, it’s not the literary nightmare Huxley imagined in 1932. It’s a different kind of new world; an ongoing experiment for which we’ve all complicity signed on. If a scientist were to sit down and formulate a hypothesis, this starting point for his wonderings would be this:
What is the outcome when parents are physically present but chronically distracted, engaged elsewhere for large portions of the day and unable/unwilling to participate in what was once considered normal family life?
Ah, summer. The season for gatherings of kin and kindred from far and wide. The time of year when politics and beer mingle amongst the loosely related, and all sorts of fabulous crazy comes bubbling to the surface:
Like your Great Aunt Mildred taking a really keen interest in the fact that you homeschool. Good times.