It occurs to me that I should make note of the ways that learning is still happening even in the last couple of weeks, with the Nutcracker and now us being sick. This is about as bad as it gets for us, in terms of ‘doing homeschool.’ But even still, Boy spells words for me, or asks me how to spell them. He’ll come up with a problem like, “What’s 31 x 24?” and then we’ll talk it through together, and he can solve these problems even though he doesn’t have any multiplication facts memorized, just by using the operation of addition, breaking the problem down into smaller sub-problems, and ‘setting numbers aside’ to add at the end. He still reads his books, though not as much as usual (I think he’s had headaches and generally been pretty groggy). I’m reading him a chapter every night of an Egyptian Mythology book by Donna Jo Napoli. She brushes on some pretty deep notions in that book, and also Egyptian mythology is just neat, the illustrations beautiful. Girl has been asking a lot of questions about what letters are what, and (finally, I think) has the number symbols 1-10 down. She counts things all the time, and is good up to the teens somewhere. As always, she has her projects. She’s been making Christmas tree ornaments and paper dolls and snowflakes with her dad’s help (Papa makes very good use of Pinterest for craft ideas, which is funny, because I never do). And she’s done things completely on her own; making ‘pixie dust’ pictures with glitter glue, getting out all the boxes of hand-me-down American Doll clothes/dolls we were (very generously) given last year, and spending hours dressing them and trying to do their hair. Both kids have been working on puzzles. Tonight they made up a song together, a Christmas carol about having guests to our house, to the tune of ‘Angels We Have Heard on High.’ Girl announced it, Boy sang it, then Girl closed with a prayer, talking about how God made us, and everything, and our world, and how she loves our world and her life.
I’m telling you these things, but I’m also telling myself, to remind myself that everything is okay. My kids are learning, and they are doing. They fight, which is maddening, but I remind myself that they are forging a relationship that will last them a lifetime, and those skills will help them in all future relationships. They ‘sass-mouth’ us sometimes, but I try to remind myself that they definitely have a voice, and don’t mind telling us what they think, and those are good things. They feel confident that they deserve to be heard. (I just try to let them know when their tone or their words sound disrespectful to me, or hurt my feelings. I will ask them if they think they could restate what they are saying in a kinder or more respectful way.) And they are both incredibly, incredibly loving people. Affectionate and sweet. 90%…well 80%…of the time. They are so funny. Witty. Goofy. So observant.
So even when things seem like kind of a mess, like they do at this juncture, I still feel like this is the best we could be doing for them.