Friday, June 28, 2013


I was talking to a homeschooling friend this week, and I asked how her year had gone. "We all grew," she said simply. "We grew spiritually, and academically, and in every way that mattered." She went on to tell me how she sometimes felt a bit insecure...had her children learned as much at home as they would have at Christian school? But in the end, to her, it came down to the fact that they had grown, and comparisons to schools and other homeschools did not ultimately matter.
Just the way she worded her response reminded me of Luke 2:52, and I found myself thinking about it often this week.

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

I think in the past this verse has puzzled me more than anything. It's difficult to wrap your head around the fact that Jesus was both truly God and truly human. (For example, if Jesus is God, how can he grow in wisdom? in favour with God?) But this week I stepped back from the puzzling details and focused on how this verse shows the full humanity of Jesus as a child.

By growing in wisdom, stature, and favour with God and man, Jesus was simply doing what all children normally do.

Indirectly, this verse tells us what God's calling for all children is. He expects children to grow mentally, physically, spiritually, and socially. I think my friend's measure for progress in her homeschool is a good one, and I hope I remember it when the day comes that I start comparing my homeschool with everyone else's.

These meditations sparked many others in me:
What is wisdom, and where does it begin? (Proverbs has a lot to say on this.)
How does growth happen? ("I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.")
What is a parent's role in fostering this growth?

I've also been reading a lot about Charlotte Mason's ideas lately (in When Children Love to Learn), so my mind also made some connections there:
How does all of this fit with Miss Mason's assertion that "Children are born persons"?
How does it fit with her thoughts on the role of the teacher? (to train the child in good habits and to "spread the feast" of the good, the true, and the beautiful)

Does this verse spark any thoughts in you?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Adventures in Nature

Last Friday, I decided to take the boys for a nature walk. I found out that there are quite a few hiking trails around here (within 10 minutes by car). I looked online for a trail to explore, then went to Google Maps for directions. This should have been my first clue. It said the trail I wanted to take was 13 km away, and 31 minutes by car. Impossible, I thought, and double-checked to make sure it was calculating for a car and not for a bike. It was. I assumed Google had made a mistake.
I got the boys into their hiking shoes, grabbed my camera, my stroller, my baby backpack, a picnic lunch, and the necessary diapers and wipes and set out to find the trail. It was nearby, and very easy to find. The first hint of possible trouble came when I arrived at the turnoff to the "road" that led to the trail --it was a one-lane track through the woods. But it was clearly marked, and looked dry. It also said the trail was only 1.5 km away. So I turned in. About a kilometer in, there were a few puddles, but nothing worrying. Then I rounded a curve to find quite a big one right in front of me. No problem, I was almost there. I drove through it with a splash, only to find an even bigger one in front of me. I decided I'd better stop and check if I could get through it. I hopped out, grabbed a stick, and probed the puddle. "I think I can do this," I muttered. I got back in, estimated the shallowest route through the puddle, and made it. But that wasn't the last puddle. When I came to the next one, I thought, I'd better check how much further I have to go. So I got out of the car again, ran ahead a bit and found out that I was almost there. So I probed the puddle, figured out the best way through it, and went for it. We made it!
As soon as I got out of the car, I realized something big. I'd forgotten our natural bug repellent! The mosquitos descended on us like a cloud. But since I'd been through so much just to get us there, I decided we just HAD to go on the nature walk, anyway. I put MM on my front in the baby carrier (no way was a stroller going on that trail!) so I could chase the mosquitos off him, carried the camera bag, gave SA the picnic bag, and we were off. It was beautiful. The Pisquid River was right next to us. There were so many interesting flowers to see. And we didn't enjoy it at all because we were being EATEN ALIVE! We had to keep going, we could never stop or the mosquitos would catch up to us. I don't have a single picture of this adventure because I couldn't stop long enough to take the camera out of its bag. Seriously! (It was heavy, too!) After a long walk, we came to a sign, and I realized that instead of the "loop" I thought we were on, we were on a straight trail, and to get back, we'd just have to turn around and go back the way we came. So we did.
As we left, I had to decide if I was going to drive back the way we'd come in, or keep going on the "road". To keep going looked shorter on the map. "It can't be worse than the way we came in," I thought. Well, it was. We stopped and probed so many puddles that I lost count. I prayed before I crossed each puddle, and thanked God on the other side.(I wasn't taking any risks. I'd forgotten my cell phone, too.) At one of them JJ hopped out of the car, too, and got his shoe stuck in the mud. SA was very finished with this adventure by now, and just wanted to go home. We finally made it to a dirt road. I decided to turn right (either way should have gotten us to a main road soon enough), but had to turn around when we came to the biggest puddle yet, one that looked like a pond. I decided it wasn't worth it to get out and probe it. I made a 100-point turn (It was a narrow road, people!), and went back the other way. After that, it was a breeze. We made it back to civilization without further incident.
SA never wanted to go on a nature walk again. I told him we would, but we would find a different trail. He's changed his mind by now, anyway. He found the map of the trails lying around this week and spent at least half an hour analyzing it and talking to me about the trails, and the river, and the road, and which way we should go to get where. Clearly the trauma did not leave a lasting impact.
Good, because we are SO doing this again! With proper bug repellent, next time. And maybe after it's been dry for a week or so.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Time to start blogging again

It has been a while since I blogged regularly. Since Facebook arrived on the scene, actually. I've been looking back at our old Xanga blog, though, and realizing that I miss sharing at that level. FaceBook has the pictures and the status updates, but a blog is so much better when it comes to remembering your daily life, thoughts and ideas. It has so much more scope for creativity and humour.

So, what's the purpose of this blog?
- a place to process and express what I'm reading and learning (I learn so much better when I talk about what I'm learning!)
- a personal memory book of our homeschooling years
- a way to share and interact with friends and family

What can you expect to see here?
- my thoughts on what I'm learning about homeschooling in general and Charlotte Mason in particular.
- stories from our daily life that are too good to be forgotten (though they often are if I don't write them down).
- my thoughts on other things I'm learning about, such as style, or cooking, or homemaking (yeah, definitely a learner there...).
- some favourite things, maybe recipes, or quotes, or songs...things I'd like to share.