To Do/Done
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“One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.”

Marie Curie

A Challenge is issued:

So often we see what’s undone, what’s misspelled, what’s untidy. We stare through the interesting conversation going on before us and see that the kids are – horrors! – still in their pyjamas. We see the swaths of history unlearned rather than the science mastered. We see the one box unchecked on the list.

Twice this year I have caught myself in the middle of particularly egregious examples of this. ‘Oh,” I sighed to Rainer one morning, “We’ve covered so much less than I thought we might this year. Yes, we’re doing far more than any other year by an order of magnitude, and it finally feels like the wheels are on and we’re moving, and the kids’ reading is finally looking solid, but…”

Can you recognize that ‘but’? I laughed as I caught it. Better by far isn’t enough?

Tuesday, likewise, I was rather down about the fact that Matthias had a cold and declared himself too muddled to homeschool after our breakfast chapter of “The Witch of Blackbird Pond”. He played a few games on his DS, rested a bit, and then surprisingly informed me that we’d do our partner reading of “Geronimo Stilton” after lunch. And we did. A sick boy who has struggled with reading, taking the day off, and yet doing his work at his instigation. Did I notice it? Yes, I was pleasantly surprised.

It wasn’t til I was on my way home from Weight Watchers, walking along busy 18th St. as the cars drove by in their busy self-importance, that I realized that ‘pleasantly surprised’ was hardly the proper response. I was mulling over the lecture I’d just given on how very little perfection has to do with progress, thinking of how I’d challenged them to keep a ‘victory log’ for a week, recording their many successes. It struck me as something homeschoolers might want to try…and suddenly Matthias’ choice burst over me like a wave. That afternoon had been extraordinary. It was a moment like the clear calling of a bell, and I had nearly missed it in the rounds of the everyday, in the muffling of my inattentiveness.

So I challenge you who have taken the great leap of faith off the cliff and are responsible for educating your children:

Keep a victory log.

Take a vacation from ‘To Do’.

See the ‘Done’.

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