Friday, September 22, 2017

Homeschooling and scholé

I finally got around to making a "fine art gallery" for our budding artists. I thought this pin was so cute at least a year or two ago, and it has always stayed in my mind since. Funny how that works. And I still have other pins in my head for a future date, or a future house. 
Even though my children are one and three years old, lately I have been feeling like I am actually homeschooling. Oddly enough, I love it. Even though it is something I don't really want to do, too counter-cultural especially in Portugal, something that hasn't been decided by my husband and I, it is something that seems to naturally grow. I guess even people who have their kids in school still "homeschool" to an extent. Some 'homeschoolers' just delegate a little less. When you are constantly envisioning what you'd like your family culture and family traditions to look like a year from now, five years from now, ten years from now, etc., and when you see really great ideas about what could be so healthy and happy for your child's development... who is FULL of potential and can be shaped any which way (the vulnerability and potential of it all really scares me)... you don't want to delegate education. You don't want to hand them over to another "curriculum" or program that is not that dream that keeps growing in your head. At least when they are so small. 

My homeschooling friend sent me this podcast with Dr. Christopher Perrin, which touches on classical education and the Greek concept of scholé. I LOVED IT. I identified so much with this concept of learning, even as adults... perhaps especially as adults, because then kids just follow along. I think back to a few really restful dinners or coffees I've had with friends where there was this intense exchange of ideas and communion. Or the theology of the body congresses I've been to, where everyone was learning the same thing and so excited just to meet each other and talk to each other. 

I liked Dr. Perrin's suggestions about how to do "scholé" with kids, which is an environment of beauty for all the senses, reading to them, contact with nature.  Those have been all of my goals, too. I also have the goals of musical instruments, art/drawing well, sports, living the liturgical year with a special snack and book at home, praying together and doing the housework together like Laura Ingalls Wilder. For now, these goals just aren't possible to achieve if they're at a school all day. So it's exciting to learn more about this scholé and be able to shape our family and our future in this way. 

PS Another podcast I liked was "No-Fuss Art for Morning Time" and we bought the preschool chalk art course, which is what is pictured above. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017


Windy day

I've been listening to lots of Leah Darrow podcasts lately and especially helpful was the one called Press On! The Beauty of Perseverance. I could tooooootally identify with the tough spot she was in, where you discern something is good to do, then when you are actually trying to do it, a MILLION obstacles seem to come out of nowhere. It could apply to my life in general right now. I especially think of trying to go to mass during the week. We see the great, wonderful effects, but then something comes up or we have a poopy diaper and ran out of clean diapers to change it with. Or a million doubts of if it's worth it, if the kids will ever behave, etc. come up. I also think of the project on the sidebar I clearly discerned was something I should do. And now every single time I have do actually do something for it (which is very little), the only babysitter I depend on is out of the country. Swell. But this podcast really helps put things in perspective. This seems to happen with every good thing or good endeavor. And perseverance is a virtue, something to keep working at. 

From the podcast: 

If you can't fly, then run; If you can't run, then, walk; If you can't walk, then crawl; but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward. - Martin Luther King

It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer. Albert Einstein

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Nothing. Talent will not, nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not, unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not, the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan press on has always solved and always will solve the problems of the human race." Calvin Coolidge

Friday, September 15, 2017

DOCAT video

Another video in the DOCAT series: 
(This time with the whole family!
PS I was already pregnant ;))

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Room for improvement

Addie is becoming less and less babyish, more and more like a girl. I am catching more and more glimpses of her as a teenager and even adult and it is BREAKING.MY.HEART. Motherhood, terrifying. 

I am reading Little Town on the Prairie and  it is always so helpful to see Ma's lifestyle and parenting skills because they really contrast starkly to current parenting styles. I read a part in which Laura is getting a calf to drink milk, a regular morning chore for her. The description sounded exactly like my life right now: constant messes, little children learning to do things, my clothes and theirs getting dirty. Except Laura is really calm and doesn't get upset, and I see red every time there is a mess or a spill. Especially since Davy was born, I have been uncomfortably more aware of my own shortcomings. It seems to get that way more and more. Yet I am feeling grateful for this awareness too, because that means I have to really take time away from my kids for my spiritual life. And the problem is in me, not in THEM, not in our circumstances, not in not having my dream life conditions right now. There is so much I have to do on my part. 

From Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder: 

"Teaching the calf to drnk was not easy, but always interesting. The wobbly-legged baby calf had been born believing that it must butt hard with its litle red poll, to get milk. So when it smelled milk in the pail, it tried to butt the pail. 
Laura must keep it from spilling the milk, if she could, and she had to teach it how to drin, becasue it didn't know. She dipped her fingers into the milk and let the calf's rough tongue suck them, and gently she led its nose down to the milk in the pail. The calf suddenly snorted milk into its nose, sneezed it out with a whoosh that splashed milk out of the pail, and then with all its might it butter into the milk. It butted so hard that Laura almost lost hold of the pail. A wave of milk went over the calf's head and a splash wet the front of Laura's dress. 
So, patiently she began again, dipping her fingers for the calf to suck, trying to keep the milk in the pail and to teach the calf to drink it. In the end, some of the milk was inside the calf." (chapter "Springtime on the claim")

"'This earthly life is a battle,' said Ma. 'If it isn't one thing to contend with, it's another. It has always been so, and it always will be. The sooner youmake up your mind to that, the better off you are, and the more thankful for your pleasures.'" (chapter "Blackbirds")

Monday, September 11, 2017


I listened to this podcast called "Oh, Motherhood" and thought some parts were really funny, especially comparing toddlers to "little drunk people." Tooooootally. I also really liked how they said they are alway "recallibrating" when it comes to their prayer lives. And how hard it is to take small children to mass. I HEAR YA. I am also always recallibrating our daily schedule, my prayer life, my priorities, our family traditions, our priorities, education, our goals, etc. On one hand, that's what makes this phase of young motherhood so beautiful also: you are completely defining your family. Drawing on a blank slate. You can erase and start over, or erase and make adjustments. As kids get older, you get more ingrained in your parenting habits and decisions and it's harder to make big changes. But now everything inspires me. 

It's also really, really hard because of this blank slate. I am always discerning, always unsure, always changing things due to their development changes and surprises. I try to set a priority, but then a million things take over. My three-year-old not napping every now and then has been KILLING ME. Her moodiness and uncontrollability has been killing me too. Being pregnant and trying to do things at night, then not sleeping well, then regretting it terribly the next day has also been killing me. But in general I am excited with the planning of this school year and its activities and schedules. Addie is getting older and it's exciting to have more options with what to do. Last year around this time I was so depressed and stressed out about it, but a year later we are in a completely different and better phase.