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Cookies and Classical Ed

March 22, 2010

I made cookies to take to book club last Wednesday evening.  So of course, being St. Patrick’s Day, they were shamrock-shaped and covered in green icing.  It was such a wonderful homeschool activity.  We covered math (fractions and measuring), reading (the recipe), science (mixtures), home ec…

OK, now to be honest…I made cookies all by myself!  Making cookies seems to be THE cliche homeschool activity.  Yes, you could cover math, science, and reading, but frankly, it’s a pain sometimes to have three little helpers arguing over whose turn it is to put the salt in and I just didn’t have the patience for it.  I also had one child with a fever and I was in a hurry to get the dough finished before the baby woke up from his nap! 

A really does like to cook, and is getting much better at following a recipe (with supervision) and the others like to help me bake, and do get a chance, though not nearly as often as I could (and should) let them.  But some days I just don’t want help.  So it was on Wednesday.

I did let them cut out the dough however.  Since it was St. Patrick’s Day, I said we needed to make some shamrocks first of all, at least enough for book club.  But I’ve learned to not limit them to what I think are appropriate holiday shapes.  So we ended up with St. Patrick’s Day dinosaurs, St. Patrick’s Day horses, a St. Patrick’s Day bus, some letters and numbers, and A’s St. Patrick’s Day snowmen (which he was good enough to label so no one else would eat them!)

Someone at book club couldn’t believe I brought cookies made from scratch.  “You made these?  I don’t know how you find the time!”  I told her we hadn’t had much going on that day.  “Oh, not much going on–you only homeschool and you have a new baby!” 

I get this from people every now and again.  How do you do it?!   How do you find time for anything else in your day?  Sometimes I’m sure people must think that since I’m classically educating my children at home, of course I have them chained to a desk for eight hours a day, right? 

To the lady at book club, I didn’t say that we had actually treated that day much like a holiday, that we have the freedom to do that.  We had a leisurely breakfast and played with a super happy baby until about 11 a.m. when we decided that maybe we should do something academic after he went down for a nap.  Having a child with a fever also bought me an extra hour and 45 minutes when I would have been taking him to and from Kindermusik class.  We had plenty of time to make cookies. 

In several conversations recently, I’ve gotten the impression that people either felt sorry for me or thought I was a little crazy that on top of everything it takes to have and care for a newborn baby, I had to worry about homeschooling too.  In truth, I am so thankful for this choice that we’ve made.  Back when I was suffering through morning sickness, I was so grateful every morning that I didn’t have to get the boys up, dressed, fed, and to school at a certain time when just pulling myself out of bed was a monumental task.  Now, I still can’t imagine having to get everyone up and out of the house in the morning, especially with a new baby in the mix. 

Homeschool on the whole has made my life so much easier these past few months.  We’re not tied to a schedule, we go with the baby’s routine and fit our work in when we can.  If we’re utterly sleep deprived like last week, we can slow down.  If he wakes up unexpectedly early, we can interrupt writing to read aloud while he nurses.  We can set our own pace, and if we haven’t done Latin in weeks, you know what?  It’s ok.  We’ll get back to it eventually.  Meanwhile the boys get to adore their baby brother and get to be hands-on in every aspect of his day.  (Well, almost every aspect.  As they point out, only Mommy has the milk.)  They don’t have to leave E to go to school, they don’t have to miss out on any part of his baby days that are going by so quickly. 

Yes, they’re still being educated, and not always as thoroughly as I would wish.  But alongside math, history, and writing, they’re learning life lessons and they’re developing patience for those times when little brothers take a lot of Mommy’s time and energy.  I see their love grow daily for this new little person in our family.

So yes, I do homeschool and have a baby.  It’s not a burden.  In fact, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. March 23, 2010 5:37 am

    Thanks for posting this! In less than six weeks our little guy is going to show up and I have to admit that I am nervous about how it’s all going to go. It’s good to see that you guys aren’t just surviving, but that you are thriving!

  2. March 23, 2010 8:16 am

    There are days I feel guilty that we don’t get more accomplished. Working around a babies schedule, a 4 year old who sometimes does and most of the time doesn’t want to “do school”, a 6 year old who would spend the entire day in his room playing legos if he could, as well as an 8 year old who lives in a dream world where arts and crafts and audio books are the only things on the to do list, isn’t ever easy. I am actually amazed that we get anything done. But somehow things get accomplished and there is learning going on. I am so glad I don’t have to worry about getting kids off to school each day and picking them up afterward. I love this lifestyle!

  3. March 23, 2010 8:44 am

    Amen. I just lived through the same reactions with Molly cancer situation. Homeschooling was SUCH a blessing! Once people got to know us better and worked past their stereotypes, they started to think perhaps I wasn’t so crazy. 🙂

    I would love to know what your bookclub has been reading. Is it listed in your 2010 list? Perhaps I should check there first. 😉

  4. March 23, 2010 9:02 am

    You nailed it on the head! Homeschooling is very much a blessing when life happens. You should consider submitting this to Latter-day Homeschooling as a guest post! 😀

  5. March 23, 2010 6:35 pm

    People just don’t know what they’re missing.

  6. March 24, 2010 12:27 pm

    This so mirrors the thoughts and feelings I have been having lately. Beautifully put. Thank you.

  7. March 26, 2010 7:41 am

    I am not so sure that kids aren’t picking up way more than we think- I find myself doing more life and less education (hope the state read that). They are lucky to have you-

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