Is too much for the senses,
Too crowding, too confusing—
Too present to imagine.
Today was a home day. I spent it for the most part parallel to my kids rather than present for them, for which I feel guilty. But I also think maybe I should examine that. What exactly was the difference? Is it really expected in homeschooling to be intertwined with one’s children for every waking moment?
I got up at 7 in order to get Kevin, Brendan and Sean off to grocery shopping, college and high school respectively. That meant making breakfast for Sean while he took a shower, and packing lunches for both Brendan and Sean. Then making a fire (Aidan helped) and then making sugar shape cookies with Aidan. So far, lots of interaction.
Then when Aidan had eaten breakfast and the older ones were off, I went to the laptop and wrote. For a long time. Probably two hours. I think that is where I feel like I get disconnected from my children’ s lives. Writing, whether fictional or not, is absorbing. Everything in real life becomes shadowy while you are writing. It’s like one of those transitions in a movie to a flashback, where the screen starts blurring and the voices become distant. So even though I was aware of them around me, I wasn’t really in homeschooling mom mode. Physically present, psychically only half there.
They are ages 8 to 14 and perfectly capable of getting up, getting breakfast and getting their work started, which is what they did.
Then I worked with them. We did the required homeschooling things, but I think I cut corners when my mind is still partly not there. Less heart goes into it, and if there’s an easy way or a more creative and complete way to do things, I go for the easy way. Again, that’s not horrible…. if it’s not a pattern. But it does make me feel like I’m not quite doing what I should. And forget about keeping the house tidy. That takes observation and supervision.
Paddy and I did have some interactive time doing a prolonged math lesson — and then playing some drill games together.
Kieron was having a migraine so I made math into review practice for him.
Then Kevin and Brendan came home and we unloaded groceries.
Then the kids finished their work, and I helped.
Then they got their play time on the computer, and I wrote some more.
So on the surface of things, it probably wasn’t too much different from a day when I wasn’t preoccupied. But I think it was different. I think that on the good days I share reality with my children. Which schoolwork isn’t always. And there were a few moments of that, when I was making cookies with Aidan, and roughhousing with Paddy at the computer to dispel the tense boredom of a spelling lesson. But for the most part the reality was in writing, and they were not part of that.
December is almost always like this for some reason. Maybe because shopping and lights and decoration and all that are so over-stimulating. But I’m actually not sure why.
Peace on the whirring marts,
Peace where the scholar thinks, the hunter roams,
Peace, God of Peace! peace, peace, in all our homes,
And peace in all our hearts!
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