That’s right: we bought a new pool for the backyard. It’s one of those simple set pools – a no brainer. Not really something to write home about. Unless….
You see the pool we had the year before last was very similar. Sixteen by four feet deep. The problem we had then was the lack of level ground. So my super duper handy dear husband made a custom level platform that was to be the envy of all simple set pool owners who’s pools resembled a bowl of soup on a slanted table. You get the picture. So dh makes this perfectly level framed, supported platform to support our summertime pool madness. It was great! But alas, these pools are not made to last forever. Two years later we find ourselves in need of a new one.
Original Pool Platform
So, as not to mess with the custom, supported, perfectly level platform that now lives in our backyard, we wisely ordered another pool exactly the same size as it’s recently demised predecessor. Another sixteen by four feet simple set pool. When to what did our wondering eyes did appear? Was a simple set pool; large enough to cause fear!
That’s right – the dimensions of the actual pool superseded the dimensions that happily lived on the box. What do do? Dh never ceases to amaze me. He creatively and quickly, managed to carefully build out the existing platform, and managed to transform it into a new perfectly sized platform – where our much larger than anticipated pool now sits happily – and perfectly level. I stand in awe.
Newly Built Out Platform
Horray for critical thinkers! I came across this post this afternoon while having my cup of tea (and taking respite from attacking monster sized dust balls hiding underneath things) and I just had to share it with you. It is a rebuttal to Steven Downes argument. Stephen Downes, a senior researcher with the National Research Council who also writes and speaks extensively on education issues, published a brief entry on the court ruling in California in which he essentially equated homeschooling with abuse.
What I love about this rebuttal is this blogger’s ability to expose this argument for what it is. Weak. She has creatively and intellectually explored both sides of this weak argument and is able to clearly back up her statements. Her thought process is clear, coherent, complete and even funny. Please take the time to hop on over to Principled Discovery and read her post – Note: to homeschoolers: Don’t be psychotic! This is exactly the kind of critical thinking that I posted about the other day.
Is your curriculum holding you hostage? Do you sometimes feel trapped or burdened by all those books that you must ‘get through’? I know I do and continually face this battle. You see I’m one of those analytical types, who gets some sort of twisted satisfaction out of checking off things on a ‘to do’ list. Then there’s another part of me who resents the list and wants to run freely with face bent to the wind and hair flowing freely behind me in a curriculum free field of joy….but I digress.
Lately I’ve noticed that there is a lot of us out there feeling the same way. We know we need to teach our children and not the curriculum, but we are faced with fears of daunting lists of learning outcomes. I don’t know about you, but when I focus on ‘getting through’ the books I lose sight about why I’m really doing this and the resulting effect is much unhappiness. And when Mama’s unhappy…. no body’s happy.
Here’s something that might cheer you, while on the HCOSwebsite today I was reading the school newsletter. To my glee I discovered Sarah Bennet’s article on the very same topic. While speaking about curriculum packages (which I have), she had this to share:
As for the practical implementation of the packages, remember that the curriculum is there to serve you – you don’t need to serve the curriculum. Feel free to alter assignments, to skip chapters, to do some things orally rather than having the student write down every answer, and to go at your own pace. You don’t have to do every assignment or answer every question. Customize the curriculum to fit your own needs. If your children are feeling weighed down take a look at what they’re being asked to do each week and alter it – maybe you can do some work on the white board (it’s amazing how a different writing surface and coloured markers can make even the driest grammar assignment fun), or do some work out loud together instead of writing it down, or decide to do every second question instead of every one.
Needless to say there was much relief and rejoicing after reading this. How many times have I had this said to me? Yet, I continually need to hear it and be reminded. Perhaps I’ll be more patient the next time I need to remind my kids of something. For now, I’ll be thankful of the reminder and free myself (again) from slavery.
This Thanksgiving weekend (yes, it’s Canada’s Thanksgiving) I had some time to ponder what I am truly grateful for. Sometimes in the busy day to day we can get utterly lost in the deep of the world. Things that matter spin by when we’re not paying close attention. It’s the seemingly small things like a quick hug from your child, or an invitation to cuddle at bedtime. Your husband stopping to fix your necklace or give you a quick embrace. The phone call from a friend that cares, someone stopping you at church to genuinely ask you how things are. They could be the ‘aha’ moments you have with your child when the light goes on, whether its about math or a deeper question about God. A simple ‘Thanks for praying for me mom, I didn’t have any bad dreams last night'”, that can stir gratitude in our hearts. Gratitude to whom? Who are we thanking for these small gifts? I don’t know about you, but I have my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to thank deeply for many, many, many things. Too many to count really.
“Oh, come on Cheryl, really. It’s easy to thank God for the good things in life. But what about the bad times? The rough times? The sad times? Can you really thank your God for these?” My answer to this question is “Yes!” I am able to do this. For it’s in the bad times that I learn perseverance. It’s in the sad times that I am comforted. It’s in the tough times that my faith is strengthened. It is in these darkest moments that I develop a deeper gratitude for all He has done for me. For His unfailing love for me. It is these very times that allow me to grow as a human being.
So this Thanksgiving, I ask you this. “What are you thankful for?” “Are you thankful to anyone greater than yourself?” “Can you be grateful in utterly tough times?” Not without shedding tears, no doubt. But when the tears are gone, can you hold your head up high and stand on solid ground? What do you put your faith in?
May you be blessed this Thanksgiving…..abundantly.
Happy Father’s Day Dad!
This post may be late, but the message is not. I saw my Dad yesterday and took him out for lunch. It was good to see him. My Dad is a hard worker and would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. He was the man to teach me about caring for those less fortunate. My family never went to church, but Dad taught me to give to those less fortunate than myself. We used to go for walks in the city when he lived there. Often we would pass a homeless person who was begging. My Dad always reached into his pocket to offer up whatever he had. He never judged them or tried to figure out the motive of the beggar, he just gave.
Later, as an adult I came across a passage in my bible that said to “Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” Mathew 5:42. We are not told to anticipate what the beggar may do with what we give him. We are told to simply give. Give within our means? Give within reason? Sure, you decide. The way I see, it is it’s not really my money anyway. According to the bible, all things belong to God.
I share this with you not to preach, but to simply share something personal I discovered while pondering the values passed on to me by my Dad. This simple gesture of his I observed as a child has imparted meaning to me that I hope to pass on to my children. I will often empty my pockets (or lunch bag) in front of them in order to “give to those who ask”. I don’t ask them to do the same, I only hope they are watching.
So, thanks Dad. I love you.
This is my first post. I’m creating this blog for friends and family and anyone else who is curious about homeschooling, and just what goes on in the daily life of a homeschooling family anyways! I am new to this blog site, so bear with me while I get my web feet, not to be confused with webbed feet.