Back to School

I actually completed over 90% of my list!

Tammy thankfully took the time to blog about the blessing of housekeeping from a book by Cheryl Mendolson. The book, Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House, incidentally, is listed on Ambleside Online as a resource for a home economics book, and I’m almost convinced that I will use it as my daughter and I learn some things about housework and its larger purpose together. According to Ms. Mendolson (and Tammy),

Housekeeping creates cleanliness, order, regularity, beauty, the conditions for health and safety, and a good place to do and feel all things you wish and need to do and feel in your home. . .it is your housekeeping that makes your home alive, that turns it into a small society in its own right, a vital place where you can be more yourself than you can be anywhere else.
~. . .what a traditional woman did that made her home warm and alive was not dusting and laundry. Someone can be hired to do those things. . .Her real secret was that she identified herself with her home. Of course, this did not always turn out well. A controlling woman might make her home suffocating. A perfectionist’s home might be chilly and forbidding. But it is more illuminating to think about what happened when things went right. Then her affection was in the soft sofa cushions, clean linens, and good meals; the pantry; her intelligence in the order and healthfulness of her home; her good humor in its light and air. She lived her life not only through her own body but through the house as an extension of her body; part of her relation to those she loved was embodied in the physical medium of the home she made.

When I wrote the Fall Break post on last week, I almost immediately experienced “analysis paralysis.” How will I get all of this done? I can’t do it all, I thought. I became absolutely depressed by Wednesday when I completed the item “sleep later” on two days straight. It became obvious by that time that several of my “to do” were in conflict with each other. Also, as much as the baseboards needed cleaning, I was dreading the task (probably why it’s taken so long). My knees and back are not what they used to be, but God in His goodness sent an angel—my five-year-old, who thinks cleaning with Mom is almost as fun as dollhouses. So she got down on her knees, I got down on my knees, and we began to go around the floor. The baseboards looked good, and it felt even better to accomplish something that was slightly difficult for me—so good, in fact, that we kept going. We cleaned the bathroom and kitchen doors—it’s amazing the dirt and dust that can accumulate on a door. The doors looked so good that we kept going–to the kitchen cabinets. The kitchen cabinets now look brand new, but alas, we stopped. I’m excited for the kids as they’ll get the railings on the stairs during the next break, and praise God for the scientist who invented ibuprofen (smile).

My strength is renewed, I’m looking forward to this week, and I actually think everyone is ready to get back to school, believe it or not. The oldest actually started working to get ahead—can you hear the Halleluiah Chorus? She’s very proud of the fact that she’s ahead—way ahead—in her reading list, and I think it motivated her to get ahead in other areas. The five-year-old kept asking, “Is today still not a school day?” It was interesting this week to see her at play, which often entailed some educational component (making a book, growing a plant from pepper seeds, making hats with paper and feathers), but in her mind, school means breaking out the books. Bad momma, but I’ll get better. I still need to look over her materials for the next couple of weeks, but I still have time tonight if I manage it well.

We’ve got about a week and a half of “normal” activities, and then we’re taking off for Vicksburg, Mississippi. We’re studying the Civil War, and the plan is to bring it to life by visiting one of the major battle sites. We’ll also see a bit of Natchez, billed as one of the wealthiest antebellum cities in the country. Although I realize the story told from a Confederate perspective might be different version than that of the history books (that will be a part of our studies, too), but I still am thrilled to make our studies leap off the page. Sure do hope you’re doing well, too.

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4 thoughts on “Back to School

  1. Wow! Vicksburg and Natchez. You must have an awesome husband to take you guys on some great trips. I was wondering if your husband was able to participate in cleaning any of the other rooms(laundry room and office)

    Love you,
    your husband

  2. Oooh, that was a good quote. Thanks for typing all that out. I'll have to check the library for that book.
    I can always use some motivation to do better at cleaning!

    He,hee, I never do that baseboards. I use that job as a "reward" for those little ones who have a bad attitude. They're usually pretty clean around here!

  3. I hope I don't offend you, but this statement made me smile…."but in her mind, school means breaking out the books. Bad momma, but I’ll get better. I still need to look over her materials for the next couple of weeks, but I still have time tonight if I manage it well."
    I suffer from these conflicting thoughts, too. On one hand, I know how much they learn if left to discover their interests. On the other, I feel afraid to walk away from the traditional methods. We have walked away from traditional methods the last few years, and it's still scary sometimes. But, I can't deny the fact of how much my children have learned. Sure we still use some books sometimes, mostly math, but most of their learning is coming from their own initiative, reading, being read to, life experiences, things outside the home the participate in, and lapbooks and other projects we do together. It's so much less stressful, too.
    I pray God will lead you to the balance you're looking for. It can be really hard to find when you begin questioning things we've always been taught. I can tell that God is leading you on a journey. Enjoy!
    LetitiaEdited by SandBetweenMyToes on Oct. 27, 2008 at 8:54 AM

I'd love to hear your two cents!!