Table Time

For lack of a better term, borrowing from what friends call theirs, we have started having a bit of time at the table together every day. I want to keep it up because so far, it’s actually a positive change for us. My boys have been just a little bit more interested in learning lately and I’m trying to run with that while giving Jenny time to do a few more things that might be requested by her teacher. Yesterday everyone did their own thing – Jenny working on various things, Ben reading a book (the only book he says he can read), Erik and Elias working on printing, Sam tracing in an Usborne wipe-clean book and Oliver moving back and forth from one activity to the next. Today we did an animal facts game. I read the facts on half a card and the kids had to guess which animal it was. Ben got five right and each of the three oldest got ten. It was fun and low stress and didn’t feel overly structured.

The fact is, we have structure but very little of it has been devoted to learning. Kids get up, have breakfast, the kid of the day has their two hour computer turn and usually a few others watch or help them. After that, they clean up the designated room in the basement, have lunch and start their one and a half hour turns on the tablets and/or Xbox. This means most days, they only have an hour and a half of personal screen time and some days they have two hours more. A movie is watched occasionally by one or all but generally they spend any other free time they have making up games, playing cards, Lego and every so often reading. With the recent push to get Erik and Ben reading and the start of my Usborne selling (and therefore buying), there has been an increased interest in books. But really, by the end of every day, I found myself wondering if they really would catch up. Or even start pursuing learning more as they got older. Or would it be like this every day? So two nights ago I had a sudden inspiration to ask them what they thought of a daily time at the table doing “schooly” things. It was a mixed response but we tried it out anyway. I have no desire to start traditionally homeschooling but I have toyed with the idea of enrolling Sam next year which would mean reporting to a teacher (and increased funding for him). A little bit of routine in this area would make it a lot easier to do that without stress.

Sometimes change is necessary and good. Sometimes it’s also hard. This change is likely going to be harder for me than my kids, though.

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Pulled Heart

My heart is pulled in many directions.

My best friend is moving away. It hurts. I want so much to be excited for her and her family but I’m aching.

My sister is getting a divorce. I believe it is probably the best thing for her but again, it hurts. I was a child of a broken home and I hate to think of my nephew and niece going through any of that.

My grandpa is dying. He has cancer that has spread extensively through his body. He is not likely to live for very long. A little over two years ago, his wife passed away and it really shook me. She was the first grandparent I lost and eight months later, my grandpa on the other side of the family passed away, too. When my mom’s dad dies, I will only have one surviving grandparent. It is part of life but my mom’s parents have always been so very dear to my heart. My grandpa found a place in my daughter’s heart as well and this will hurt for her, too. I hate to see my babies grieving, especially when they are so young. Two years ago, I wrote this goodbye to my grandma. I never expected to be writing another goodbye so soon.

I know that I will move on from these things, focus on the less-important tasks of packing and fixing my house so we can move on from our eight hundred square feet into something with a bit more elbow room. I look forward to that change. I look forward to someday doing what my friend is doing – moving somewhere that calls to my heart, to Whitehorse.

I long for a quiet in the storm, a break from pain. For just a moment. I said to Mike last night that I think this is enough. Enough.

And yet when I think on it, I know that these things impact me but are not the worst I could experience. I know this very well. It is not a child or even a parent dying or moving away. I have a home, I have a husband who loves me and healthy children. I do not take these things for granted. But I do hope for that calm and peace to wash over me. Father God, please wash me in your peace today.