Asking for Help

When we lived in the jungle, I had no problem asking for prayer support from people.  We were clearly in over our heads, and any help was appreciated.  I’ve been feeling the same way all year as our family faced unemployment.  I didn’t realize how much stress I was carrying until I spent the month practicing yoga.  Time on the mat pushing up against my limits opened me up. I often ended the session in tears because in shavasana, my defences finally lowered.

Andy’s school was closing, and he was going to need to find a new gig.  Schools tend to hire in May and August–at the end of the old year and the beginning of the new school year.  May came and went.  He had lots of hopeful contacts, but no offers.  All summer he worked at building up his private tutoring, and that too seemed promising.  Maybe we would both work as part time freelancers?  Could be rather precarious, but some of my favorite people make it work.

And then the perfect job listing came up, a job that would use all his experience and help him gain new skills, a job that would be a great fit.  I barely let myself hope.  He applied on Friday; the next Monday we started Vaction Bible School.  Our memory verse for the first day of VBS was Psalm 138.8.

The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.

That verse came like a gift ready for me to open.  And so I prayed it all week.  And all week long, our friends prayed.  And yesterday we got word that Andy will be working at De La Salle North–a Catholic school!  Jesuit even!  A school based on service and mission.  And our friends rejoiced with us.

Loving What Must Be Done: The Simplified Organization eCourse

jan-10-036I’ve recently started working through Mystie Winckler’s wonderful Simplified Organization Online Course.  I’m a little torn.  There’s a part of me that wants to work through the whole course (and get my life magnificently organized!) before I start to write about it. But it’s probably a bit more realistic to start already and celebrate my small win.

In the second module, Mystie talks about clearing our space to neutral–getting the kitchen cleaned up the night before so that it’s ready for the next day’s meals or cleaning the table off so that homeschooling can happen.  And I’ve got to tell you, I love setting myself up for success like this.  It feels like a little surprise I’m leaving for my future self!  I’m going to be so happy in the morning if the counters are wiped down…even though it’s hard to follow through with the work at the end of the day when I’d like to go to bed.

And what I’m realizing is that for me it’s not clearing to neutral.  It’s way more positive than neutral!  It’s almost like a creating a provocation from Reggio or the Charlotte Mason maxim about atmosphere as education or the unschooling practice of strewing.  I clear the counters as an invitation to myself to create the next meal, the next masterpiece.

Curriculum Fail

I’ve been in full planning mode for the last few weeks.  Plans were actually in place, but I’ve been fleshing them out a bit more: books on hold, supplies ordered (new playdoh for the toddler!), ink in the printer + a 1,000 copies made.  In the midst of this productive activity, I bumped up against our first real curriculum fail.

Curriculum Planning meets gluebooking

I don’t know if it’s because our kids are still young or because we don’t use much in the way of purchased materials, but this is the first time I had researched and purchased curriculum that just wasn’t right.  It seemed like it was right. A grammar curriculum based on picture books?  Yes please!  But when I really started digging in, I found out that it was not going to be a good fit for us right now.

I’m not telling you the name of the grammar curriculum on purpose.  I think in another season, it very well might be a very good curriculum.   But it’s just far enough outside of my 8 year old’s skill set that it would take a great deal of modification to be workable.  Between designing a history program from scratch, wrangling a toddler, and working from home, my energies are limited.  I didn’t have it in me to modify the curriculum so that my girl could use it.

So we choose something else.  Something simple to supplement the extensive read-alouds, (newly) independent reading, and cursive practice.  That sounds so straightforward.  But this little bump in the road was enough to undermine my confidence and make me feel like I was in over my head.  And of course I am.  This educate-your-children-yourself gig is kinda a big deal.  Maybe that’s what I needed?  To acknowledge my limits, to know where I need help.