Some days our homeschooling goes beautifully. We are on our game, learning all the things, and we stay focused, on track, and we get through everything that we need to do in a timely manner. Then we are able to move on to other things that we really enjoy. Or nap. Naps are good too.
Today was NOT one of those days.
But it was still beautiful.
Which is one of the main reasons I love homeschooling. It can be a success without being a neat and tidy notebooked, paperclipped, stapled, workbook process. It can be messy and chaotic and loud and scattered and done in fits and starts and still be really good.
This morning Cooter started off building with his Legos in his room. I know this because I could hear the sound of Legos being pushed and stacked and moved around. That is NOT what reviewing your times tables sounds like. When we finally sat down together he had his Star Wars: The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary that he got for his birthday on his lap. As I wrapped up what I was working on, he asked me questions–vocabulary questions–what does “reprisal” mean? What does “trumps” mean? I think we went through ten words before I realized that we were indeed “schooling,” only I didn’t tell him. Sometimes it’s best to let the learning just happen without calling it that.
Who am I kidding? With this one, it’s best to do that as much of the time as possible.
This afternoon I left them working on their writing, and I went to attack Mt. Washmore waiting for me on the couch. I was folding clothes when I heard Cooter call my name. I turned around to see him standing in the kitchen doorway.
“Well, I have a funeral to go to now.”
Because I know this child well, I didn’t clench or panic as I might have if it were any of my other children.
“Yeah? Why is that? Whose funeral?”
(WARNING: SPOILER ALERT FOR ANYONE WHO HASN’T READ THE HARRY POTTER BOOKS!)
“Sirius. Sirius Black.” He paused. I took in the too bright eyes and the smile that seemed plastered on. Oh my heart. “He was my favorite character.”
I rushed over to him. Yes, he’s nine now. Yes, he’s rough and tumble and getting too old to hold my hand in parking lots much anymore, but I RUSHED OVER and grabbed hold of him and held him tight.
And he let me.
“Oh, baby, I’m so sorry. I know. I know. It’s hard. I’m so sorry.”
We’ve been learning a lot about grief over the past four plus years. When my Daddy died, Cooter wouldn’t have much to do with Mama for a few weeks, and she was so afraid he was mad at her or blamed her. He didn’t. He just turned inwards. He did the same thing when Mama passed. Our Princess cried her heart out, tears for days, but Cooter just turned inward and was very stoic.
But today, today my little guy looked up at me and said, after I told him it was okay to cry, even if he needed to go to his room and be by himself to do it, “I’m going to burn this book. That’s what I’m going to do. I’ll finish these last few pages, but then I’m going to burn it.” He choked back the other unsaid things I heard in his voice and walked off.
This evening as he was reading the last of it in the car, he mentioned again his desire to burn the book when he was done. His sister, who was delighted to find her very own copy at the used bookstore (a copy of her own that wasn’t her big sister’s), begged him not to. “Do you know how hard it was to find that book?” Finally, we agreed that might not be the thing to do, and we talked about Sirius and how he had gone just on the other side of the veil. Just like Maemae and Cap had. They are still with us, right there, just on the other side. He nodded.
I remember when I read that chapter of the book. I had so hoped Harry’s summer woes were over. That he was going to finally have a good place, a good person who loved him, to spend his summers with and not the Dursleys. But instead, life dealt him and all of them another terrible blow, and his life was upended yet again.
Much like real life. Just when we think things might settle and be okay…..topsy turvy it goes, and we have to learn how to live with the new normal.
And so it would seem that on this day that no math was done (tomorrow will be really fun, y’all) and writing wasn’t finished, and we didn’t discuss the Bill of Rights as planned, that learning happened. Important and good and hard learning.
And that right there. That’s why I love homeschooling. From vocabulary inspired by Star Wars to holding my baby through his book burning thoughts to sharing our thoughts on life and death and grief together, I love it.
It’s not my favorite everyday, and tomorrow I might need to be reminded how much I love it, but right now, I wouldn’t trade it for all the free time in the world.
Love to all.