Thursday, January 21, 2010

Volcanoes and Life's Many Lessons

Our Volcano

I am learning all the time.  The tombstone will be my diploma.  ~Eartha Kitt

Today we had our first chemistry lesson in the back yard:

Baking Soda + Vinegar = Awesome Volcano!!!

Yep, as many of you know, we're homeschooling. And with the new year, we're getting more into the thick of it. Joshua is almost five and Noah is 2 1/2. And so far, the more we get into it, the more confident I feel. Well, sometimes.

Take this week, for example. For about a year now, we have been reading The Magic Treehouse series. 
Just this book series alone has been such a wonderful tool in homeschooling. With each book, there is another topic for me to delve into with my sons. For about the past week, we have been reading Vacation Under the Volcano. From that, we of course begin studying volcanoes. And the natural progression from there is earthquakes. And BAM!, we have a natural way to discuss with our boys the tragedy in Haiti.

We have a lesson in compassion and empathy, in culture differences, in gratitude for our blessings, in geography, in current events, in geology and in prayer.

Of course, it's not always that simple. Homeschooling requires organization and planning. But as I've been sick this week, I've had a lot of time to rest on the couch and have worked a lot on our curriculum. But our lessons come very naturally. They are not really forced. They stem from what is going on in our life and from what books we are reading.

Next month, we will have a lot of lessons based on the Olympics. We will read about them, study their origin, have our own relay races, look up the countries of the competitors, and create art projects based on them, such as tissue-paper torches and our own paper flags. Did I come up with all of these ideas on my own? No! The internet has made searching for curriculum ideas so much easier.

So, yes, homeschooling is going very well right now.

And yet, last night, in my emotional, tired, sick state, I had a moment. It was 11:00 pm and Jason and I had just watched a very dumb movie, Post Grad. As ridiculously stupid as it was,  it still somehow forced me to be a bit reflective, and not in a good way.

What am I even doing with my life? How am I contributing to the world in any way? I feel so unimportant. I am not making any difference in this world. I will have absolutely no impact whatsoever on humankind. 

I am a stay-at-home mom who is homeschooling her kids. As long as everything goes well, this will be my life for the next twenty years or so. Cooking dinners. Cleaning toilets. Vacuuming. Creating lesson plans. Doing laundry. Etc, etc, etc. Do you see how I could feel a little, I don't know, small, trivial, nonessential, or insignificant?

As if my mom knew I was going to be feeling this way sometime soon, she sent me an article last week in the mail, "We Forgot the Future and Our Children," by Zoe Deen. Talk about mother's instinct. It is a very well written article discussing the importance of raising children. I would encourage any stay-at-home mom to read it. Turns out, I'm not totally insignificant.

It seems that even in times of doubt, I am provided with a mother who knows, a husband who listens and friends who understand. Thank God.

Magic Treehouse Series

For a look at our curriculum (which is still, and always will be, very much a work in progress), just click the below link.

We Forgot the Future and Our Children
By Zoe Deen

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