Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Pep Talk

Over the last few months Duck has been attending singing lessons with a young SAHM who lives just a few blocks from us. We had known this young lady previously from the church circle in town - that was before she was married with kids. Being a homeschooling grad herself, and a SAHM, we were glad to give her some business when Duck expressed an interest in singing.

After a few singing sessions, this teacher started talking about homeschooling. I have heard the story before, "I wanted to homeschool my kids, but didn't think I could manage with two girls of school age and a baby boy, too." It's a widely held fallacy (or sometimes just an excuse) that public school is better for the older kids if mom has an infant to care for, as well. Her husband was not homeschooled, so when she had doubts about it, he encouraged public school.

Our short conversations about how we homeschool seemed to be polite exchange only - maybe a little curiosity, but not real interest in changing her situation. So, I answered her questions and expressed how much our family has benefited from homeschool. With no intention of changing to public school now that we have a baby on the way. She would smile and nod and the conversation ended. Very typical of conversations I have had in the past with curiosity seekers. Little did I know what God was doing.

Soon the conversations became more probing and she told me she had been speaking with other homeschooling parents from her church. Again, I am cautious about 'pushing' homeschool on anyone. Too many times I have seen people jump on the band wagon without really having a conviction from the Lord to train up their children in a homeschooling atmosphere - something that I see as crucial for success. So, I continued to talk positively to this young mom and I gave her Voddie Baucham's video 'Children of Caesar' with a preliminary warning that he is staunch in his homeschooling beliefs.

Well she watched the video - three times in two weeks. She watched it with friends, with her husband and with her parents. She told me about the behaviours she has seen in her public school daughters that disturb her and her husband - and they are only in grade 1 & 2. She wanted more information. I had to be careful not to spoil things for her and not to build her up for a fall either.

Homeschool is hard. Some days it is impossible! Anyone wanting to get into homeschool needs to know this and be prepared. I told her about my experience and how the responsibility falls on me for each day to happen with contentment even when things go awry. I talked about the benefits of my close relationship with Duck and how when things are tense/stressed at home, it is usually me that's responsible for letting it get that far. I told her I wouldn't change it for anything! That my husband and I are committed and convicted to the successful raising of a 'person' - not just emulating public school and creating another clone for society.

Then I held my tongue, 'you take it from here, Lord.'

She has continued to move toward bringing her kids home. I'm glad to see the slow steps she and her husband are taking, because it shows she is taking the whole process seriously. She has borrowed our old grade 1 & 2 school books to look through. She has ordered curriculum catalogues and visited other homeschooling families to see how the day goes. It also appears she will take some of my other advice and attend a homeschooling conference this spring.

It is exciting to see a young family taking the step to be full time parents. It also brings anxiety - 'have I given good counsel? do I pose a good role model? Am I presenting a balanced view of benefits and challenges that will come? have I given a good testimony for the life God has provided by following His will?'

Only God knows - I'm sure He will show me the answers to these questions in time. Until then...

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
1 Peter 3:15

Monday, February 22, 2010

Who Are You?

Something new has happened in our house. Actually, it's happening outside of the house twice a day. Duck has a job.

A few weeks back, we were receiving strange messages on our voicemail. We all just assumed that the voice of the senior lady was calling the wrong number and we would have to be home to catch the call to tell her. The messages were generally the same, "hi, it's Barb. I'll try to catch you later or you can reach me at home." We don't know a 'Barb' and certainly didn't know how to get her at home. Even after three messages, she never left her number.

Finally, my husband was home to receive the call from her. This time she asked for me by name - ? So, he took her message, complete with phone number, so that I could call her back. Turns out she and I have never met (I always enjoy proof that I'm not crazy), but she had been given my name as someone who may be able to walk her dog for her. We talked over the details and arranged to visit her the following day.

'Barb' is a senior living independently in condo with only her little dog as regular company. For those of you who have never dealt with seniors on a regular basis, this scenario means the dog is spoiled rotten!

Anyway, she needed someone to take the dog, Missy, out twice a day for short walks. With her condo only a five minute drive away, my husband and I decided Duck could take on this responsibility until the end of April (that is the estimated time of when I will not fit behind the steering wheel of the car). Barb and Missy were happy with our suggestion and the deal was done.

Now, just before lunch and again before supper, we drive over and take Missy out to accomplish her duties. Sounds pretty simple, right? Don't forget, this dog is spoiled. First, we have to put on her outdoor clothes. Then, the walk needs to be at least 20 minutes, generally in the direction that Missy wants to go. When we return, she must be towelled off thoroughly because the snow clumps in her fur. Finally, we enter the kitchen and brush her teeth - because the vet prescribed this treatment.

It is a great lesson as part of homeschool and we may continue for a couple of days per week after April. Just not the full 7 days per week, which is a real drain on our daily scheduling.

All in all, Duck is learning a great deal about fulfilling a job well and taking care of her money. Get's ten dollars per day! That's $60 a week, because we volunteer our time on Sunday, and then she gets an extra $5 for teeth brushing. At this point, even though most of the paycheque is banked, Duck has more cash in her wallet than I do.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Living in the Fast Lane

Wanna know a fast way to feel really stupid? Try to program your computer. Yep, that's what we have been doing for a week now. The computer guy put a new operating system on for us, but we decided to program all the hardware ourselves (because we are cheap). How hard can it be, we asked ourselves. Unbelievably hard!

What we have realized through the process is that these computer guys got together and created their own language with back slashes, colons and short forms that make absolutely no sense to the common person. We could not have had a harder time if we had removed our brains before we started - actually, that may have helped!

In the end, the computer is running well. A new system has us on high speed for internet that also delivers our phone line, as well - no more Bell bills! The high speed is great for accomplishing tasks quickly and even listening to speakers/sermons on line. We have lost our program for watching/recording tv, though. The old operating system (Vista) had the program built in, and we used it alot. We did manage to put on a much simpler tv program, but there is no remote control (gasp!) and we haven't quite figured out how to work it, yet. So we'll still be roughing it in that area.

I have several posts ideas written out to share with the blog world. Now to find the time to do it...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I'll Be Back

Right now we are having our computer rebuilt - to be better, faster...and more expensive. I have spent the last few days copying everything important onto CD because the computer guy is wiping the system clean and putting on a new operating system, as well as some new hardware.

Call it an impromptu internet fast, ala Jennifer at Conversion Diary. Kind of a forced fast, really. I think of things to share here on the blog several times daily and then remember it has to wait. Knowing my memory these days, I've had to implement the old fashion blog - pen and paper!

Hopefully, the technology will cooperate (HA!) and I will have my computer back soon. Think of me!