Sitting with the Swing (or, reminding myself why I home educate)

Lean-To 2

Tiger Cage 2

Tiger Cage 1

Lean-To 1

I come home from this place, dreaming. Full, still. And with two questions haunting me, that Andy Crouch asked the crowd...

1. what is one thing you want to start doing

2. what is one thing you want to stop doing

Somehow I cannot answer these questions except with a vague ache to remember why I home educate my children. This, coupled with a deep wish for more solitude and freedom for myself (the two seem somewhat in conflict). See? I have no answers, only more questions.

Sitting outside with the swing that my kids managed to craft and sling to the pine tree, sitting with the lean-to (I see now I needn't ever be homeless because they can whip up a lean-to if need be), standing in the (oh so messy) living room and looking at the "tiger cage" my oldest daughter built today... I still have no answers. Just a deep sense of remembrance: this is why I home educate.

If you think of it, pray for me. I don't mind if the answer to your prayers is yet more questions. Maybe they will lead me to rest, to swing, to gaze up at the lean-to ceiling and breathe. Maybe I will find a few answers lingering in the fabric of what my children's fingers weave.

Lean-To and Tiger Cage photos by L.L. Barkat.

On another note, I decided to keep a running list of the books my kids are reading/listening to. Thus begins the list...

List of Books (eldest, 11):
Spiritually Correct Bedtime Stories: Parables of Faith for the Modern Reader by Chris Fabry
Understood Betsy by Corothy Canfield Fisher
The Hobbit by Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by Tolkien
The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis
Emmy and the Home for Troubled Girls by Lynne Jonell
Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell
The Keys to the Kingdom: Mister Monday, by Garth Nix
The Keys to the Kingdom: Grim Tuesday, by Garth Nix
The Keys to the Kingdom: Drowned Wednesday, by Garth Nix
The Keys to the Kingdom: Sir Thursday, by Garth Nix
The Keys to the Kingdom: Lady Friday, by Garth Nix
The Keys to the Kingdom: Superior Saturday, by Garth Nix
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare
Macbeth, Shakespeare
Missing Mountains: We Went to the Mountaintop but it wasn't there; edited by Kristin Johannsen, Bobbie Ann Mason,
and Mary Ann Taylor-Hall
Putting on a Play: A Comprehensive and Practical Guide to All Aspects of Amateur Theater by Michael Legat
Putting on a Play: The Young Playwright's Guide to Scripting, Directing, and Performing by Nancy Bentley and Donna Guthrie

List of Books (youngest, 9)
Magic Treehouse Series, books 1-11
The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
The Edge Chronicles: Beyond the Deep Woods by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
The Moffats by Eleanor Estes
Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows
Ivy and Bean: Take Care of the Babysitter by Annie Barrows
Dealing with Dragons by Patricia Wrede
A Giant Problem: Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles Book 2, by Tony Diterlizzi and Holly Black
Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke
Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz

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Blogger Erin said...

Lord, multiply her time.
Lord, meet her in the lean-to.
Lord, meet her on the swing.
Lord, meet her in the math lessons.
Lord, be nearer than their memory verses.
Lord, speak clearer than the read alouds.
Lord, move in the solitude.
Lord, refresh in the midst of the fray.
Lord, show your agape-self in the faces of the least of these.

Give us eyes to see and ears to hear.

(Is the tiger cage built by your same symmetrically drawing daughter? Her math mind impresses me so much.)

9:41 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Oh! A poem prayer for me. Thank you so much Erin. As for the tiger cage, no, it was built by eldest daughter who is also quite the artist and rather scientific.

10:13 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

Two math minds in one house? I'm blown away!

That prayer is also for me too. Feeling overwhelmed with the educational and relationship-building task at hand these days.

11:34 AM  
Blogger Joelle said...

Dear L.L., I always (let's see, that's a looong, long time as I'm an ancient 25) promised myself that I'd homeschool my brood. Now that I've taught/am teaching, I'm not so sure. I think it's a question that must be listened to in each person's unique circumstances and time, a discernment process that takes patience and careful listening. No advice for you, amazing mother, but perhaps a suggested reading (for all that free, solitary time you have on your hands): David Benner's Desiring God's Will. A discernment practice he suggests is consolation vs. desolation, acting as if you have made a choice and living with the inner response to that "choice" for a few weeks, months, however long you can spare. Then live with the other choice for a time and note the differences in emotional, spiritual, mental responses to each. An idea....

7:01 PM  
Blogger Joelle said...

P.S. Are those marshmallows in the tiger cage? I didn't know the felines were fond of sweets. Will have to tempt my kitty.... :)

7:03 PM  
Blogger e.o.w. said...

deep bow and big smile...

10:01 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Erin... I speak the prayer for you then too.

Joelle... I think I read about that process in Ruth Haley Barton too. Your thought on it followed me into my sleeping hours last night. Yes, a good way to think things through. Oh, not marshmallows. Styrofoam "peanuts" from packaging. : ) Not kitty friendly I assume.

E.O.W. ... and I bow and smile in return. : )

9:23 AM  
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4:48 PM  

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