Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Storm Clouds are Building

Starting school this year reminds me of the feeling just before a storm. Well, if you like to watch the wonder of God through powerful lightening shows and the soothing, pouring rain. If storms raise the hair on the back of your neck, you won't get this post.

You know the feeling when the air outside seems charged with electricity and the dark clouds cast a surreal coloring to the landscape? You know you have work to do-the batting (hmm, is the word "battening"-is that a word or a southern pronunciation?) down of the hatches...maybe even locating flashlights and candles. It's still calm, there's only a stiff breeze starting, but you know the trees will soon begin to dance with the powerful stormy winds. Your adrenaline is starting to release through your veins and you may even be looking forward to the possibility of a little time with no outside communication. Your mind starts to imagine playing games or reading in the stillness of a hushed home lit by candles.

I am experiencing this quiet but anticipatory time in my heart right now. By outward appearances, there may not be much school prep going on, but my mind is charged with ideas I want to try this year. The thought of teaching Bethany makes my heart smile. Helping Hope advance past the early stags of reading brings me joy and hoping that Ashlyn will enjoy the intrinsic value of challenging independent work fuels me on to plan a great year. I'm reading (for the third or forth time) Karen Andreola's A Charlotte Mason Companion which spurs plans for weekly nature walks, more art study and challenging dictation (don't tell my kids that last part!). I'm gearing up for the quiet time when the answering machine picks up my calls and we're unavailable to the outside world. Self discipline for me and the girls is a topic that spins through my head. Sharpened pencils and copious brainstorming notes bring on the adrenaline rush, just as an exciting storm does. I know there will be some challenges ahead, but I feel confident that we'll get through them, just as the storm eventually passes...

I know I have plenty of non-homeschooling moms (and dads) read this blog, but I think you can still relate. If the unique smell of the inside of a brand new book and the smells, sounds, and sights of fall bring on memories of a new school year, you get it. If your kids are starting public school and together you've picked out the lunch boxes, new clothes and cool pencil pouches, you know what I mean. Our God is a God of order and fall brings a new routine of order to families. The lazy days of summer are fading and our bodies long for the consistency that school brings.

I hope this sweet time just before school starts is equally exciting for you. I have a rare moment when my house is almost empty and completely quiet, so I'm grabbing my notes and Karen's book and heading for the couch!


Luke said...


"Batten down the hatches" comes from sailing, I believe... yes, it does (yay, Google). "Battening" seems to be strips of wood used with caulking to prevent leakage during rough weather [http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/56700.html].

Love reading your blog, and I am always thrilled when you take the time to comment on my posts!

May your school year be filled with all the wonder, excitement and joy you anticipate, and more blessing than you could hope for.


Wendy said...

Don't tell my parents I wasn't sure of the word...they're modern day sailors and wouldn't be too proud of me ;)

Supermom2JakeAndEmmy said...

LOL, neither would your brothers or your cousin, for that matter! I think you guys are going to have a terrific year. Do you recycle materials? (pass down from Ash to Hope, to Beth . . .) or do you buy new core every year?

Wendy said...

For the most part, we pass them down. Especially in the younger years, there are some workbooks and things that get written in, and have to be replaced but it's minimal. Occasionally, Sonlight will add a new book or two that we want, so we'll order that and if we do, we order a new Instructor's Guide (at a discount) so the schedule is accurate.