“We don’t do SCHOOL work! That sounds so boring. We’re LEARNING! We’re having adventures.”
But Gemma-Rose mentioned the forbidden word the other day and no one corrected her. She said, “I wish we could do some school work, Mum.” And we all agreed. We sighed deeply, thinking longingly of all those books we are half-way through reading, untouched for a month or more.
School work? Adventures? Normal everyday life? Whatever we call it, we are longing to return to our usual routine.
It’s been 5 weeks since we had a ‘normal’ week: one week of an unschooling holiday, another at the beach, a week of wedding preparations, and one away at a homechooling camp, another week of yet more wedding preparations and … finally, the wedding itself. Yesterday, our eldest daughter Felicity was married to her beloved Graham in our parish church.
The wedding was such a joyous occasion. All those weeks of work culminated in a perfect day full of happy memories, abundance of grace and… many extremely tired people. I hear the bride is still running on excitement. But the beautifully presented mother-of-the-bride has been transformed into an exhausted woman bearing huge bags under her tired eyes. Gorgeous flower-girls and bridesmaids, who were flitting about like butterflies yesterday, have come to a standstill.
And just a few moments ago I heard those forbidden words once again:
Gemma-Rose is longing to get up early tomorrow and do ‘normal’ things. She wants me to continue reading White Boots which we never seem to get closer to finishing. She wants to practice using that new analogue watch she never has time to glance at. She wants to play the piano and have some more lessons. She wants to write some letters and go on a Wednesday adventure…
I look back at the last 5 weeks and I am sure the girls have learnt so much even though we have not consciously thought about ‘school work’ in a long time. At one point, I suddenly remembered the official records book which has been languishing forgotten in a basket. I gathered all the girls and then we brainstormed:
“Tell me everything we’ve learnt recently so I can write it all down in the book.”
The girls fired examples of learning at me from all sides and soon the pages of my book were covered in my untidy scrawl. Yes, plenty of learning had taken place. Everything that has happened in our recently hectic life has been an opportunity to learn. I haven’t had to look for rich experiences to place in front of my children. I haven’t had to bring the world to them. The world has thrust itself upon them and it has been good.We have had great fun going on holiday, and catching up with friends at the homeschooling camp. It was exciting preparing for our first family wedding. We enjoyed the wedding immensely and are savouring these last hours with Felicity and Graham before they leave for their home on the other side of Australia… but…
Sometimes it is good to have a quiet life with time to read a few books together, to consciously strew a few things in my children’s pathway, to have time to sit and sip coffee and chat and discuss whatever we like…
We love normal, quiet times and I am hoping, like Gemma-Rose, that soon those days will return and I can say, “We have a whole free day to learn whatever we like… What shall we do today?”
Congratulations, Felicity and Graham.