“The Scarecrow listened carefully, and said, ‘I cannot understand why you should wish to leave this beautiful country and go back to the dry, gray place you call Kansas.’
‘That is because you have no brains,’ answered the girl. ‘No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home.'”
-The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
In a recent blog post I shared all about planting our garden, only to discover on this past Saturday morning that the bulk of what we had planted had been eaten by a family of groundhogs. Our entire day Saturday was spent rectifying the situation, digging a 1 ft deep trench around the garden and putting up fencing. It was an all-day slog, half of it done in pouring rain and in between nursing and napping babies and feeding children. It was a ton of hard work and come Sunday, I just wanted to get out of the house. It can be a point of tension for Brandon and I sometimes on the weekends–he, working outside of the home and eager to be home and rest and work on projects here. I, working inside the home all week, eager to get out on the weekends and be refreshed elsewhere. On Sunday he agreed to drive up to a favorite spot of mine on the parkway for a hike and picnic. No sooner had we hiked to the top of the ridge and he took a few photos for me of my finished Timber cardigan, when the skies opened up and began pouring on us again. We got back to the car muddy and soaked (again) and ended up eating our picnic in the car at a pretty overlook. It was fun and refreshing. But still, when it was all said and done everyone was eager to go home and get cleaned up.
It’s funny how our ordinary days can feel so gray and blah sometimes and we are eager for more beautiful country, but in the end there really is no place like home. In the end most of our lives are lived in the ordinary moments, and it’s these I’m convinced we’ll look back on with the most fondness. All the glory we didn’t realize was such until later. I think that’s why I teared up when I read that quote from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz while reading to the children. Sometimes it feels like we aren’t doing enough, sometimes I feel like I’m not giving them enough, like I’m not enough. Like these days are too gray and dreary for them compared to all the fancy and exciting things other families are able to do for their children. I’m hoping that this proves true–that there’s no place like our home for them, our simple ordinary growing-up-together years.
We are wrapping up our final official day of school TODAY (!!!) and with tomorrow’s fresh new month begins our “summer break.” Now, of course, I don’t plan to quit all things educational, but our schooling will look less like ploughing through the necessities and more like soaking in our curiosities. I hope to do lots of reading on a blanket in the yard, lots of adventures and hikes and exploring. Learning along the way, delving deep into whatever strikes our fancy. Making time for crafts and fun, garden discoveries and kitchen experiments, field trips and camping. Sadly, these are the things we have so little time for during ordinary school days. I read a comment by a fellow homeschooling mom recently who said they don’t take breaks for summer because schooling is their way of life and they don’t feel the need to take a break from it. I’m trying not to feel “less than” upon reading that. The reality is, the last couple of months have been quite a challenge with Phoebe and getting our work done and she and I both need a break. I don’t think a break or a shift into more passive learning is a bad thing or gives schooling a negative connotation. The reality is, learning is hard work sometimes, and taking a break can be refreshing. Just like escaping to the mountains for a rainy hike makes coming home all the sweeter. I so want to recapture for her (and I!) the joy of learning and discovery and remind her that learning is a part of every facet of daily life. But at 7 years old, I don’t feel the need to constantly call everything we do “school.” I believe that giving the children a wealth and breadth of experience and information will enrich their minds and souls. I still think they need long stretches of play, free time, time to explore, imagine, and discover on their own. What better time than summer for such things? So yes, we will keep practicing flashcards and we’ll keep reading books together, but mostly we are hoping for some fun and some adventures.