We’ve decided to homeschool again this year. (We homeschooled for three years when the girls were younger, and they’ve been in public school for the past two years.) I can barely contain my excitement! Seriously, I have to keep pinching myself.
But I have moments when doubts creep in. There are things school can provide that we cannot. The teachers are so experienced and the children have a whole community surrounding them at school. Our girls have gained confidence at school simply by learning within a bigger group. Will we be “holding them back” by keeping them home?
We have plans, of course, for choir and piano lessons, nature school, friends, extended family, and homeschool groups. So, that is one sort of answer. And when I have doubts, it helps to remind myself of our plans.
But, there is a bigger reason for our homeschool decision. There are things that we can provide that school cannot: family closeness, days outside in wild places, hours reading aloud together, and the space to pursue creative projects. And let us not forget this baby here. We have him. We have this moment in time, this chapter of life, to be together. Our girls have years and years to be in school. But this little boy will grow up and won’t be happy to bounce along on his sister’s back for much longer. So for now we’re at home, together. And I am so grateful.
His sense of humor is pretty much the best.
As August draws to a close, we gather a rainbow of vegetables from the garden, and I take stock and give thanks. For the abundance of this little patch of earth we call home, we are so very grateful.
Our box of seeds arrives in January when the world is white and dark and cold. We plant the seed babies when summer still feels very far away and nurture the seedlings along with special care during those early weeks. We transplant them into the ground, covering them with plant blankets and hoping for the best. At first they look so fragile and so small. But then, often overnight it seems, they burst forth into fullness and surpass our garden dreams.
We give so little in comparison to what they produce. Every single year this amazes me — just to watch them grow.
I’m looking at this beautiful wild land from the road, noticing how it stretches out and turns into forest, effortlessly. This is a farm, farmed so thoughtfully as to allow the natural world and the cultivated world to coexist side-by-side. Our farmer friend, Ben, has taken time to come to know this land and raise animals here with sensitivity.
We are grateful to be one of the families nourished by this place — nourished by the food Ben raises and also by his ethic in caring for the land.
Oh, Sally, it is so good to see you.
The way you talk about babies is so refreshing and life affirming.
“When babies look at you, they really look at you. And then when they smile — well, that is just about the nicest thing there is.”
My favorite part was walking back together, through the woods, in the deep darkness.