“Why else do any of this if not to become who we want to be?”
― Anthony Doerr,
planting potatoes, the first of our spring garden
journaling about expectation; working through Latin and spelling
nature play and the discovery of sticky grasses
illustrating the life cycle of a frog
new buds, spring’s early arrival this year
an afternoon of painting outdoors
more nature walks, a space for thoughtful observation
the most telling image of our days: a mixture of focus and blurry movement
a moss wig, more nature play
reading in the trees
a math lesson with her older brother
Sometimes I don’t notice the patterns to our days until I begin piecing them together like a puzzle. The big picture can be lost in the details. While I planned this monthly practice to be a gift for the children in years to come, I can see it’s a gift to me right now, helping me connect random details in a broader way, to see the larger story of our month together. What a joy. In a brief way, I’ve reflected on this month and am re-setting for the coming one. Here’s February, the good and the hard.
Spring arrived early this year, flecking our February days with green and our hands with dirt. I accidentally formatted a memory card with several images of our outdoor work and learning before I had uploaded them to my computer, a frustration I’m hoping will release as I write it here. Some moments prefer to be treasured in our hearts, I suppose. February felt atypically energetic, busy, and emotional over here. Much of my heart felt consumed by prayer for a family of friends fighting cancer, and then more intense pangs of heartache and prayer when he passed away. In the simplest of ways, I am grateful for all of the early Spring growth, for busy hands, and warm light. It’s such a fitting complement to the intense emotion and prayers of the heart.
We took a class on growing potatoes this month and then planted Yukon Golds in our garden. We’ve also been transplanting sod–preparing for a larger backyard project this year–and weeding or harvesting garden beds right alongside our more academic lessons. Language lessons and maths seemed fairly basic this month with little art and few projects, something I’m writing here so that you know in between the lines nothing is perfect and sometimes steadfastness trumps ideals on this journey. I also noticed we all read fewer books this month and only a brief bit of science and history, something that requires the stillness and focus expended in other ways the last few weeks. I hope March will teach us a better balance between the various activities in our days, and as such I’ve decided to jot a list of books for the month for my oldest children to work through, with attainable deadlines, too. They have a large capacity for stories and reading comprehension, and I realize part of my mother role is to present goals and hard stops so they can test their capacity. Although it’s not necessary for everyone to do the same, I’m “talking out loud” so that I record the ways we stumble on this journey, and also how we learn and try again.
BOOKS IN FEBRUARY
Read-a-Loud | The Horse and His Boy