Just like the balloon that slipped away, so has the first week of homeschool.
I could never take back the failures I made in the homeschool, but I can only remember the sweet memories, my children looking up from their work to tell me I’m the best teacher, or my eldest coming to me to give me a hug after some struggles, after some tears, after some frustrations.
It’s Friday and we are having our wind-down. I finished a load of laundry and the boys helped put away the folded clothes. My eldest made a rule in our home this week that everyone should fold their own clothes. This after we learned about the Separatists and how they believed rules were important and how they created the Mayflower Compact in the New World.
We ate lunch earlier after my little one woke from his nap. We were supposed to have the day off today but because we went to the doctor yesterday, the work carried over today: Heritage Studies and English. We thought we’d have the day off when we began the week, but I was reminded to be flexible and was forewarned that plans in the home school won’t always go as expected. I can see that for sure now. Emergencies happen.
We read My Red Balloon by Eve Bunting and remembered the Parisian short film The Red Balloon. My little one gathers his stuffed dog named Dos and his blanket to cuddle as we watch. He says he’s afraid to watch the part in the film with all the boys who bully the little boy with the red balloon. He tells me exactly as it happens.
This is the first time we watch TV this week. They have a greater appreciation for the film than they did the summer they first saw it. My eldest has an appreciation too for reading the exclamatory sentences in the story by Bunting as well. He’s good with mechanics and has no trouble learning the four types of sentences this week. Yet he struggled with comprehending the literal and interpretive ways to read a story. He enjoyed learning about Shays’ Rebellion and the Constitutional Convention, George Washington and his mansion on Mount Vernon, and the three branches of government and the Great Compromise.
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My preschooler struggled with the color red all week, but today he understands it because he sees the balloon on the screen. He knows black, white, green, yellow, orange, and blue. He learned how to draw circles and color them. In fact, he used circles to create a dinosaur and colored its eyes red. I prompted him to collect red things throughout the house. I told him to bring me 5 blue items, 5 yellow. He cut cardstock, marked some jagged, wavy, straight lines too and then glued them on green card-stock. He learned the capital letter and lower case letter A and matched apples on the tree I made for him. He played Uno with his brother and worked on the Starfall app on the tablet.
At the end of the movie The Red Balloon, the little boy collects all these balloons that land from the sky and he is whisked away, far away above the rooftops. We never see where he lands but we know that he has a victory after his red balloon was popped by the bullies that were taunting him.
I remember a couple that we had dinner with some time ago who commented that homeschooled children are not very social. He said he knew a family like this. While many people still may not understand why I would want to give up a career to stay home and homeschool my children for long hours throughout the day, I’ll gladly take this burden knowing that the eternal value is far richer than any consulting project I sign up for can offer. I know that doing this is an alignment with Deuteronomy 6: with teaching my children, discipling them, and caring for their every need. I don’t think that when they are grown I will regret spending time with them as much as I did, teaching them, nor will I wish I would have spent more of my lifetime in a high-rise office, making more money every year, keeping up with the latest innovations and practices.
I know for sure that my children have a better chance to land on firm ground with the foundations of God in the homeschool than they would being whisked away by the currents of the present culture, a plethora of balloons on the way to who knows where.