Saturday, October 31, 2009


Five years of boyish blessing, five years of long hugs, five years of careful observation, five years of deep thoughts, five years of trying to be just like Daddy. We're so thankful for five years with Nathan.

To celebrate, we spent a day in Lawrence, exploring the KU campus and enjoying the natural history museum.

We also ate amazing pizza, found my new favorite tea shop, listened to Jacob cheerfully call out "Jayhawk!" every time one came into view, and stopped the entire family whenever Ammo needed to attend to her baby's "needs".

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tea Time

Most every day, after putting the Little Force of Destruction down for his afternoon nap, the remaining kids and I gather from the far corners of the house and yard and assemble for tea. This has become one of our favorite routines, taking a drift-aimlessly-around-the-house time of day and making it instead a time of savoring.

We savor our hot tea--gingerbread spice is the kids' favorite, while I cozy up to Earl Grey--and modest snack.

We savor poetry. The kids adore the lyrical language, and our only rule is that no one interrupts during the reading of a poem. Every week or so they will clamor for me to help them memorize a poem that has struck their fancy, so that they have a growing log of beautiful words and rhythmic thought filling their little minds. You should see the grin spread across Nathan's face as he recites

"There was a young lady from Niger
Who smiled as she rode on a tiger.
They returned from the ride
With the lady inside
And the smile on the face of the tiger."

And it is a time of savoring one another. When we are through, the kids often dismiss to a "moops," which, if you have never read The Penderwicks, means nothing to you, but to them it is an all-important kids only meeting, usually conducted in our stall shower.

We have done this in a hit-and-miss sort of way since Julia was 3, but this year it has become an indispensable element of our joy-filled days.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Why we home educate

People often ask, "Why do you homeschool your kids?" In response, they often get a fuzzy pros-and-cons sort of answer. But when it comes right down to it, this is why I homeschool:

Because God made this incredibly huge, unspeakably beautiful, mind-bogglingly complex universe rather than a simple black, empty sky.

Or take a simple blade of grass, which is tread underfoot or chewed by ruminants, and look closely: GOD PUT HAIRS ON EACH BLADE!

Why? Why did He bother to make such common things so intricately, fascinatingly, wondrously beautiful? Why did He create the heavens to be so vast, so varied, so undiscoverable?

Because everything from the galaxies to the grass bears His fingerprint, in which the close observer can discover traces of His amazing creativity, limitless power, intimate care.

As I educate my kids, I see the world for the first time all over again and feel the wonder of discovery. I strive daily to stoke the flames of awe in their little hearts rather than quenching them with wonder-killing "scientific" explanations and laws of "nature". I point with my children and say, Behold our God!

Moving from the book of nature to that of history, I can show them that there is nothing new under the sun, and that the wisdom that comes from fearing God applies in every time and place. We see that tyranny is mankind's continual default, and that all historical solutions--whether monarchy, socialism, democracy, feudalism, oligarchy--have ultimately failed to solve this problem, because it is a problem of the heart.

I can introduce them to art and music and poetry that fill them with affection and praise for our holy God, showing them true beauty rather than the Satan-hijacked imposter which so quickly turns our affections to baser things.

There are so many useful occupations I can train their hands to do, so many lofty goals and ideals I can instill in their little hearts, so many noble examples of godliness, bravery, and steadfastness that I can put before their eyes.

Keeping them home is by no means the only way we can do these things, but it is the way we have chosen.

We homeschool because we want to help our children to see the God-saturatedness of absolutely everything. We homeschool because we want to train them up in the way they should go, in every area of life. And we homeschool because I love it.