Friday, August 28, 2009

Ready or Not, It's Time to Hit the Road!

It's our last day in Maine. I'm at the library (again) so Miss Priss can assist with her last children's story/craft time. We really didn't have time for this, but I didn't have the heart to tell her so. She's enjoyed it so much and has decided she wants to be a librarian when she grows up. In fact, the director told her that she could work as an intern here when she's a bit older. Did I mention before that this would most likely not happen at our library at home? It's been wonderful for her.

Back at the cabin, our clothes are packed up and the dry groceries, as well. I've been washing linens and packing them away in plastic tubs to keep the rodents out over the winter. I need to finish that project, pack our toiletries, enclose all the utensils in gallon plastic zipper bags (rodents again), take the trash and recyclables to the dump, pack up all the blankets, finish packing all our books and school materials, get the travel bag ready (full of games, activities, and snacks) for the drive. . . . I know there's more, but that's all I can think of now. I also have a slight headache.

Speaking of the drive: for years now, Dh has maintained that we can do it in two days instead of three. The girls and I have decided to give it a go this year. That means we'll be driving about 700 miles each day. The Plan is to depart tomorrow morning at 7:00 and then stop south of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, perhaps getting as far south as Hagerstown, Maryland. I researched possible hotel stops online yesterday afternoon. It's a bit tricky, since we need a place near the expressway and that also accepts pets. Also, I don't want to leave it til the last minute, as hotels near the expressway fill up with travelers in the early evening. I think we should go ahead and make our reservation. Dh has agreed, but has not mentioned it again. Hmmm. I'm the planner in the family and also tend to be realistic (okay, sometimes pessimistic) about things. He is not. I think I should push the reservations issue when I get back.

All of this to say that I'm not ready to go back now. I have a full schedule of commitments and responsibilities awaiting me at home, none of which I'm overly jazzed about at this moment. I know it will be fine when I get there and back into the swing of things, but still. I will miss my quiet life here in Maine. I'll miss my friends here. I'll miss the church we attend here. I'll miss the quiet. I'm not ready to go.

But go we shall, tomorrow at the crack of dawn (or close enough). I've been doing this for years now, so I know the drill. And I'll slip into my old life as easily as I slip on a sweater.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Getting Ready to Say Good-Bye

This is our last week in Maine. Miss Priss is ready to go home; she misses her friends. Tiny Girl and I are not. While we miss our friends at home, it's always sad for us to leave our friends and life in Maine.

Frankly, I like my life better in Maine.

As my good friends know, all I want is a quiet life (in the words of the inimitable Digby Whitman). It eludes me in my city (okay, suburbs, but sometimes that's worse), but I wallow in a quiet life in Maine. I hang clothes on a clothesline here (not allowed in my neighborhood back home). We enjoy casual, drop-in visits with our friends and neighbors in Maine. Drop-in visits are almost unheard-of at home; everyone's too busy. We sit on our dock and watch the bald eagle and ospreys circle high above the lake. We watch the herons and loons with our binoculars. We read and play games and relax.

At home, we are busy with activities almost every day of the week. Some weeks, every day is filled. It's exhausting to think about now.

But I've done this for a few years now. Although there is a bit of re-acclimation time, both the girls and I adapt. We enjoy our activities. The city where we live offers many events and opportunities for educational and just plain fun things to do. And we'll throw ourselves into our lives there with abandon.

Until next spring, when we'll all begin to long for Maine. . . .

Friday, August 14, 2009

Angst Abated; OR How Things Fall into Place

I'm feeling better now, although I'm not sure why. I am grateful that anxiety attacks over whether or not I am ruining my daughters don't last that long. A few things happened to help.

Today we are at the library in our small town here in Maine. We were here yesterday, as well, for me to hook up to their wonderful WiFi connection, when Miss Priss (somehow) began to help the children's librarian, Miss Joanne, plan for today's young children's story and craft time. Before I knew it, both girls were selecting the story and craft, making copies, cutting out paper frogs, and making plans to bring in other supplies needed and assist this morning. We came in early this morning for them to prepare further. Now, they are upstairs with Miss Joanne and 20 preschoolers/young elementary children, making the craft; then they'll help clean up.

I sit here, astounded. First, because Miss Priss took major initiative with this entire project. It was amazing to witness; she seemed so mature and responsible throughout. Also, it stikes me that nothing like this could have occurred so naturally at our library at home, which is much larger and the librarians do not know us by name (perhaps not even by sight, although we are there a lot). Moreover, were we not homeschooling, it couldn't have happened at all.

In another scene, Tiny Girl and I sat down together yesterday (still at the library) and talked about our plans for her school year. She had many ideas, which I wrote down, and we both were excited about some things we're planning to try, such as a research project on horses for her alone. Miss Priss have yet to have her planning time, but she and I are looking forward to it.

And it all makes me think how grace flows in quietly, mysteriously, often when and where we're not even looking for it or expecting it. But it's perfect, every time.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Angst: A Homeschooler's Constant Companion

Although I wish it were not. I just re-read my June post about our plans for nxt (this) year. Oh, how confident I sounded! How utterly decided and filled with certainty, despite the few holes.

Alas, the feeling has passed now that it's time to begin.

Over the summer, I did some research: The Idiot's Guide to Homeschooling (don't laugh!) and Homeschooling the Middle Years. Perhaps I should have followed the adage, if it ain't broke, don't mess it up by researching anything else. (What, you've never heard that one?) So now I'm re-thinking a few things, toying with our schedule, fiddling with our plans, tying myself in knots. . . .

We begin our year slowly and ease back into our studies. That fits our family best. Perhaps once we get back into our routine, my butterflies will settle down. But what if I'm missing something crucial? Some experience, some method, that will mean the difference between academic excellence and mediocrity? Or between a passion for learning and an apathy for it?

Arrgh. The girls are impatient to leave the constricting confines of the library (where I can use the WiFi), so I have to just embrace the angst. Believe me, that's easier than ignoring it.