Monday, March 26, 2012

What we did: Introduction

Whenever I visit my daughter, Erin, I run into a couple of young moms that I've known from before we moved away from New England.  When I knew them back then, they were very young moms with first babes.  Now, they are more experienced and have more children, three and five, to be exact.  That's a lot of diapers, sleep deprivation, first baby steps and birthdays.  Their mom-lives are busy and full as they each raise precious families.  Whenever I see them, they ask questions along the lines of "What did you do?" and "How did you ever do it?"  When I'm not around, they sometimes ask Erin, "What did your mom do?"

Photos unrelated to this post from recent visit up north

Our family is sort of "known" back there as the big family that homeschooled  (we have six children). We lived in a small college town - a fishbowl kind of town - where plenty of people know you and know your business.  I never minded that because, well, I didn't have anything to hide.  I couldn't hide anyway. I had the only 15 passenger van in town and people knew where I was whenever I went anywhere.

It's sort of funny now when I go back, to hear people talking about us.  My son-in-law, who works in our old town, gets interesting comments when people who meet him for the first time find out he is married to our daughter.  Oooooh, you're married to a Pinckney.

Anyway, back to the two young moms.  I've thought a lot about their questions since returning from my recent trip.  I've been wondering ... how did I do it and what did I do?  Time fuzzes the edges and I expect my memories have softened a bit.  What probably felt really hard back then feels nostagic-ly sweet these days ...babies that smiled and toddlers that played cheerfully and children that did their chores and finished their schoolwork with plenty of time to play peacefully outside and then come in for their baths and dress for dinner. Oh, wait ... that's not real life.  That's a fairy tale.  

The true story is that there were plenty of bumps in the road, discipline issues, smart mouth children (well, one anyway ; ), mishaps, mess-ups, frustration, exhaustion, occasionally the desire to run away to someplace quiet.  My dentist says that's why I showed up in his office for dental work.  I could sit and read pretty magazines without interruption.

I have more uninterrupted time these days so I thought I'd use some of it to share some memories of what we did.  This is not an advice series nor an attempt to advocate any particular style of homeschooling or living.  It is simply a recollection.  If you're a young mom looking for guidance; if you want a "how to" on child raising, organizing, etc. etc., you should go somewhere else.  (I'll share a few links at the end of this post)  If you just want to read a bit about how one family did it, some of our Ebenezer stories, read along ...

Julie and Mary Beth, and Erin, too, thanks for the spark.

A very few links because honestly, I don't spend that much time reading blogs about children and homemaking and schooling and all that jazz any more.  You probably know more good ones than I do. When I sit down to read online, other than my family members' and friends' writings, I mostly read quilt blogs these days!  But here are a few.  Feel free to share your favorites in the comments if you wish.  As my friend, tonia, says, we're all big kids here, so if you don't agree with everything, that's ok.  Read and glean.

Auntie Leila is very funny and thoughtful.  Check out the categories in her sidebar and you're sure to find something helpful, well-written, and wise.
Michelle and Stacey write about how they get through the day.  They have 8 young children, between them
Ann, of course, has many lovely posts on learning at home.
Susan is not writing her blogs any longer, but if you search them, you'll find some goodies on the learning atmosphere and home life.


Leila said...

Thanks for the link to the blog. We welcome your readers! I love what you say here, and I hope you will post what you remember, because the young ones need it ;) God bless!

ed elliott said...

Well, I was eye-witness to one way you did it. You all cleaned up the rooms more than once each day after playtimes -- all togehter with great unity. It was such a habit for all of you, when seeing it for the first time it was wonderful to observe the orderly division of labor, executed by all without a word. It was a thing of beauty to see- I remember it 15 years later.

Beth said...

Ah, Eddie ... thanks! Habit is something I'll be talking about at some point as I remember.

Laura A said...

I love this idea, Beth!