Friday, March 1, 2013

7 Quick Takes: Embracing March Madness

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!
1.   In order to catch up with some school work, house work, and Domestic-Church Lenten adventures, I'd avoided my computer all morning.  I finally had the opportunity to read Conversion Diary during lunch time today.  At that point: I moved from jawbone-hitting-the-floor, to nearly not breathing, to hysterically laugh-screaming, all in a five minute span which felt oddly like eternity. because time. had. stopped.  I was referenced in Jennifer's Seven Quick Takes.  Wait.  WHAT!?????

 I felt like this:

And no, I'm not drawing any parallels between Jennifer and Alice Cooper.   (Aside from the fact that she totally rocks.)  

Thank you, Jennifer!  I am flattered and humbled and so completely stoked.  You totally just unplugged/unclogged/hosed away Suckuary for me. 

Bring on that March Madness!

2. As I belted out my scream-shriek and busted some happy-jig-in-the-kitchen weirdo moves, my progeny came running with beaming faces.  They were eager to know what was so exciting.  They have a vague idea that mommy "has a blog" and that I read other people's blogs when I hide from them  when we take breaks from our school work during the day.  I explained who Jennifer Fulwiler is, wrapping up with, "She has been on EWTN a few times!" 

 At which point Gianna ran off shouting, "Mommy is famous!"

I laughed and said, "Noooo not even close.  Mommy was read.  Mommy was noticed."  
Then I turned to Anna and beamed, "Do you know what this means?!"

She radiantly smiled, clasped her hands and gushed back, "YOU'RE GOING TO GET PAID!?"

No.  No. This doesn't mean that...

3.  As I'd mentioned in the post Jennifer linked, I have been reading a lot of parenting books again.  This week Dr. Gregory Popcak joined the party via Parenting with Grace: Catholic Parent's Guide to Raising Almost Perfect Kids.   Confession:  I have had this book on my shelf since John Paul was two or three years old.  He'll be eight this month.  I'd never read my way out of the introduction before now.  I am finally reading, marking it up, taking notes.  I can not recommend this book enough!

True, the 350 pages of small print explanation is a bit overwhelming. What parent of a tantruming toddler/preschooler/ grammar aged/teen aged kid (kids) has time (or at this point, an attention span) to read all of that?! Yes. I know.  I get it.  The book has been gathering dust in my house for nearly five years for precisely this reason.

That being said: if you share with me the experience of repeatedly not having the words or the blueprint for how to meet a given child-rearing situation (sibling squabbles, repeated disobedience, whatever) and are often nagged by the thought, "I was not equipped for this," then:  Get this book.  Skip to Chapter 3, "Tools of the Trade: Everyday Discipline that Makes a Difference" (Yes,  I skipped the first 70 pages! My needs are dire!), and dig into it.  I 'd never read a parenting book that lifts me up and feeds my mommy soul spoonfuls of hope, until now.  

Parenting With Grace has been immediately helpful to me (I'm implementing as I read), and I am not getting paid to say that.

4.  One of the things the Popcaks hit upon is the importance of parent-child relationships; without a good foundational relationship, all discipline will fail.  In effect, good discipline flows from the relationships we build with our kids.  Although I am home full-time and schooling my children myself, that does not mean I can assume I am "building good relationships with the kids."  More time with the children is an asset; it can also be more opportunity for me to blow it if I am not mindful of how I am parenting/correcting/teaching moment by moment. 

Honestly, I think I have unwittingly stepped onto the "not-so-good-for-relating" path more times than I care to admit.

Lent is a beautiful time to try, with God's grace, to improve myself in these areas.  To that end, I decided to let today's school day also serve the purpose of strengthening our relationships.  Since today's "Holy Heroes Lenten Adventure" included a recipe for making pretzels, I figured I should jump in with that project.  

I'll admit I wasn't psyched to introduce and then see this idea through.  My kids love to help to cook.  My anxiety hates the mess and pandemonium.  Hence, I have not enlisted their help much in the last year.  

Today's sacrifice was to take on the chaos, enjoy the mess, and capture it all on film.  I'll call it a success.

We ended up with something more like Pretzel cakes than pretzels, but they were so good, they ended up being our dinner!

5.  In that spirit of relationship building, today I opted not to teach Saxon Math, but to conduct a science experiment instead.  Our text always suggests experiments, and I always skip them in the interest of saving time and moving ahead...  but what fun is that?

Since we are talking about freshwater and salt water habitats, today's lesson proposed the following experiment:  make up two cups of water, one fresh and one salty. Have the students place a leaf of lettuce in each cup and predict/hypothesize what will happen to each lettuce leaf if left immersed overnight.   I had them draw pictures and verbally explain what they thought might happen.

They weren't all keen to begin, but very quickly they all got caught up in mixing the salt into the water, immersing their leaves, and drawing up their hypotheses.
Look at them go!  I never see this kind of intensity and interest when I am strictly by-the-book, intent on covering curriculum as opposed to exploring the curriculum...
6. Now before anyone gets sentimental about points 4 & 5, please know: each undertaking required grace-infused self-control, patience, fortitude, charity... from me.  These situations push me to my limits because I am a control-freak and an anxious person.  Opening the door to certain messes, mishaps, and unanticipated results is a massive exercise in trust! 

There were glitches and arguments between the sibs.  There was my ever-present temptation to bark orders for expediency instead of modelling good manners.  There were dropsies, there were spills.  For all I know, that lettuce is already too wilted to be any different tomorrow from what it was today.  (I figure if that is the case, it will be a good time to introduce the term "Error Analysis." )

Yet with all of the minor imperfections, the day was pretty perfect.

7.  I anticipate a lot more of this project-relationship building with the conclave starting this month.  There are myriad crafts/lapbooks/educational unit ideas to indulge in during the coming weeks.  I need to breathe and give myself permission to step away from my curriculum, and explore history as it unfolds around us.

These are the times  I am grateful to be home, schooling the kids; it is a privilege to discover and to grow in our faith together.  I look forward to this kind of March madness.

1 comment:

  1. Ha! I thought you'd be excited when I saw that Jen had linked to you :)