Friday, October 24, 2008


Karey Swan, in one of my favorite books, Hearth and Home, talks about a stitchery she saw once that said, "If a mother's place is in the home, then why am I forever in the car?". The border showed many activities: soccer, ballet, gymnastics....
I repeat this phrase to myself frequently.  It is something I continually have to assess. Are we out of the home too much? If so, is this beneficial to us right now? If so, how can I make this situation easier? And on.
Some of my most favorite memories of childhood include visits to my grandparents' farm. Days were slow, agendas were loosely planned. It was common to sit on the front porch and "watch the rain fall." Some of my fondest memories are sitting on my grandmother's lap, snuggled into her belly, listening to the gurgles of her stomach. Doing nothing. Feeling loved.
These memories remind me that I must take time in my days to allow these unhurried moments, for the sake of making memories for my children, and making them feel loved. Instead of phonics? Get hot chocolate by the fire, and read about the odd Kiwi bird. (Which is what we did this morning!)
Viola! A science lesson. 
Even if our days seem full, and we are in the car more than we would like, you can achieve this kind of day by incorporating moments that allow you to sit and relax with your children. Some wonderful ideas here and here.
And lastly, a checklist for unschoolers. Even if you aren't a "Unschooler", this list is worth looking at to incorporate the "real living" aspect of homeschooling in your day-to-day life.


Rain said...

I Love Hearth & Home. I need the reminder. As I was falling asleep last night I could hear myself saying "hurry, hurry"; which is what I said a great deal this week to my children. It was indeed too 'busy' a week. Hot chocolate and a fire with books sounds really good.

dorothy said...

These are the things I think about so often. Wow, there's so much to ponder in this post and in those great links you shared. Thanks:)

tonia said...

thanks. ;)

this is so much in the direction of my thoughts these days (obviously)...i am having a homeschool revolution here. good things. can't wait to see where God leads!

love the picture.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love this; being reminded about the most important things. The picture of your daughters in front of the fire is wonderful.

You articulated what I am curious about in observing the Mommies ahead of to balance the "activities" and family time. Because ballet and soccer were very important and beneficial to my husband and me (respectively). Thank God for His peace and guidance. I also tell myself that with 5 children, they may not have ALL the lessons.

Really lovely. God Bless you all. Mary Brooke

Anonymous said...

Oh and thanks for the "Hearth and Home" recommendation; I have heard of it...alot of the ladies around me grind our own wheat for baking, but I am currently buying everything from a bakery that does that. Mary Brooke again

Andrea said...

Mary Brooke,
We are in the car a lot this year. Like I said--I'm asking the questions: "do we need to do this?" In my case, it's yes. So, then, if it's "yes", then how can we incorporate those things in our day (or the care, or waiting while soccer practice, or ballet lessons) that nurture, care, and love our children? That is the main point I was trying to get across. It might not *look* like another family, but we can always be mindful of what is important, and "work with what we have" so to speak. =)

Andrea said...

that's "in the CAR" not "CARE" =)

TulipGirl said...

Comments are closed on your post of the James Whitcomb Riley poem. . . I remember my Mom had us memorize that when we were homeschool kids. *grins* It's one of my favorites.

Monica said...

This really speaks to me today. The weather is getting cooler and the leaves are falling. For my family this means much more time indoors which I find challenging. I'm really wanting this Winter season to be one of growing closer and not wishing it away for the warm days of Spring. So many simple and fine opportunities are missed because of my own attitude it seems. Thanks for this post- I look forward to reading the links and checking out the books. As always, you're thoughts are precious and appreciated. Blessings.

Anonymous said...

As always- I enjoyed reading of your memories of time with your grandparents.
Thanks Andrea- great pic also!
Hope your family is well-

Rebekah said...

Great reminder. My husband and I decided not to involve our children in anything(sports, clubs, etc.) outside of home while they are in elementary school. Not that we think it's bad, but it works best for our family(and my sanity!). With four children I know the days are coming when we are running the roads quite a bit, so we are enjoying the way things are now, and I'm in no hurry for things to change! :)

BufOGiRL said...

The Lurker Rises from her cozy nest to say.......great post! One memory I cherish is of my own grandmother's stomach gurgles, so warm and comfortable. Those kind of memories are what make the unbearable times bearable. Thanks Andrea, I love you!

Beck said...

For a family that doesn't homeschool, this becomes an even bigger consideration, I think - the need to balance the time they're gone from home with fun, meaningful time at home is VERY important to us.

laurel said...

Thank you for the links. This is something I am really struggling with right now. We don't go a lot of places. To look at my calendar, it looks like we lead a very slow, simple life. But I still rush around the house, trying to get stuff "done". I really have a hard time being slow and intentional. I want to focus on this more, especially right now, with the often fast paced holidays quickly approaching.

Anonymous said...

So glad I found your blog. You certainly qualify for a mentor for me. Just what I prayed for.... Dear God Help needed...Please send me mentors...Mothers that teach, mothers that I love the pic of the girls by the fire with the hot cocoa.Have a happy day at home. Smiles Angelia

SpejoryMama said...

This sweet post is a nice reminder not to get bogged down with the details. I have been SO caught up in those lately. We are taking the next two days "off" to visit friends and family, go to the zoo, and just see stuff.

We homeschool in front of the fireplace too :-)

Jenn V.

Ann Kroeker said...

Ah, this post is music to my ears.

This year we have continued a slower approach to our kids' education (not that the kids are slow--what I mean is that we're eliminating the rush-around frantic approach). We do have certain things that we hop in the van to accomplish, like a one-day/week co-op.

But managed to keep a lot of things in the home or nearby. We even managed to find an outstanding piano teacher who happens to live in the next subdivision over. When the weather is reasonably warm, we can bicycle over there.

It's a hectic and harried world. Why add "hurry" when we don't need to?

Enjoy your "slow zone."