Yes, I know that experiences cannot be equaled and in case I was not sure about it, after the past few weeks, there is definitely no doubt in my mind. Over the past week and a half, our boys have spent many, many hours outside, in the water – ponds, creeks, etc. playing in the sand, feeling the seaweed, smelling the different smells, watching lobsters hide, seeing small schools of fish, as well as larger ones. Not to mention watching out for poison ivy and poison oak as we hike through the neighboring forests and seeing, feeling and smelling all the wonderful things there. Charlotte Mason definitely knew what she was talking about when she said the only science a child needs for the first 6 years should be nature study.
We have been doing Ambleside Online for 2 years now, and I could never really fit in nature walks like I should, even though I wanted too, and I thought I tried. I am hoping these wonderful experiences will encourage me to try harder. Really, it all boils down to having the right schedule. I find that I can stick to a schedule pretty good if I have one (and I’m the one that makes it, which is good!)
We are told that to raise good and happy children, the relationship between the mother and the father must be a good and happy one as well. One of the ways to attain this is to make the relationship between husband and wife a priority over the children, that way the children can see how a good relationship should be and how they should act, for seeing has more of an impact than telling. Homeschooling is not only about the children, it is about us, the teachers as well and therefore we need to nurture ourselves and take care of ourselves first.
We are just a few short weeks from Rosh Hashanah and we have had the most amazing few weeks. We do not get to interact very often with homeschoolers – we do not really have that much in common with the ones we know who are local, and to interact with religious Jewish homeschoolers on top of that is even more of a bonus. Don’t get me wrong, it is not that I have an issue being the “different” one, not at all, however, occasionally it is good to meet others who are different like you.
It was good for the children to be able to play with other religious Jewish homeschoolers, and it was good for me to be able to talk to not just one, but two mothers who have similar philosophies as we do. It was so exciting to talk to mothers who have had at least double the amount of years of homeschooling behind them than I do for it gave me a chance to see where I could be as a homeschool parent – what kinds of ideas I could try to use, from “experts”. I was also glad I was able to share some of our experiences and see that I could be of some help as well. And, it was nice just to talk!
I once heard from a rabbi that all the spiritual connection and chizuk that we get from Rosh Hashanah through Sukkos is set so that it carries us through the dark times of winter, yes, we have a little bit of light from Chanukah, but there are no Yomim Tovim until Pesach, and our neshamas need the spiritual connection. So too, I felt that Hashem has given me this boost of the visits of two wonderful mothers (and their children!) to help give me chizuk for the next while. I felt lucky to have such wonderful conversations with one of the mothers that came. We took the children out in the afternoon and then they still did not have enough time together, so her son came over for a sleepover. After the mother left, I felt not only spiritual happiness and chizuk, but I found it gave me chizuk in general to do some stuff around the house that I was trying to get done. I tried to soak up all the chizuk and spiritual connection that I could so that it would carry me over until the next encounter.