I found myself facing an interesting juxtaposition this week. On the one hand, I joined in for the first time with the Hearts at Home Third Thursday Thoughts blog hop, writing on the topic of "No More Perfect Homes." And I firmly believe what I said - i.e., that there are many more important things than an impeccably-maintained house and that a woman's worth has nothing to do with the physical state of the building she calls home.
But, on the other hand, I purposed to be diligent all week in sticking to the recent cleaning schedule I've devised for my home. In fact, after spending almost all my waking hours between Christmas and New Year's significantly de-junking and reorganizing my home, I've been serious about the cleaning schedule for three full weeks now, actively walking away from Facebook and other distractions for the express purpose of getting my daily chores done...every day.
I know, though, that I'm not falling prey to perfectionism about my home. Admittedly, I am quite jazzed about how much better things look around here in the last few weeks - for the first time I can remember, I would actually be okay with someone dropping by unannounced! - but I'm just as excited about my new habits precisely because they're new. You see, in all my long married life - over 20 years - I've never before even attempted any semblance of a regular cleaning routine. That's an embarrassing admission, but it's true. So I'm enjoying the sense of accomplishment I get each day when I complete an assigned household task and can then "dismiss" it from my daily Microsoft Office Reminders list. And finishing doesn't take long because I've purposely kept each day's list manageable.
I still don't think I'm anything approaching a natural "Susie Homemaker" like some of my friends. But it's nice to feel that I'm at least not shirking my household responsibilities anymore - and that I'm finally acting as a decent role-model in this regard for my girls. As a bonus, I've also found that I'm enjoying my recreational activities - including less-than-before-but-still-regular time on Facebook - a whole lot more knowing I've done my work first.
We had a pretty good week with our home learning endeavors as well. On a couple of days some of our morning activities seemed to take longer than I'd anticipated so we had to make some adjustments - one day cutting a couple of things to make it to our afternoon art class and another day going longer than usual - but that's a normal part of homeschooling. I will admit to being a little concerned about our rate of progress with math and spelling - but I'm trying hard to dismiss my anxiety and, instead, hold to my conviction that working diligently each day will yield success in due time - according to each individual child's abilities - no matter how our rate of progress looks compared to anyone else's. Easier said than done, even for individualization-advocate me! But we're using good materials and are certainly working on it every day, so I just have to trust as we persevere.
On the other hand, I love how well the girls are writing - i.e., organizing and composing their thoughts into meaningful stories and essays - thanks, I believe, to our long-standing habits of daily read-alouds and oral narration and, lately, our studies using the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW). True, we usually have to do a couple rounds of editing to eliminate all misspellings and the occasional grammatical glitch. But, given a choice, I'd rather have it this way. After all, if a child can readily narrate, explain, and describe in a creative, engaging manner, the mechanics will come over time with instruction and experience. On the other hand, having an ability to produce a mechanically perfect piece on a first draft usually means it's short, formulaic, and boring - and who wants to read that?
I have also really been enjoying our 2013 science curriculum, the "Heaven and Earth" books in the Answers in Genesis God's Design series. For one thing, the girls have responded very well to my increased expectations of them - they're now reading each lesson independently and taking notes before we discuss things together - which is important for their long-term study skills. But, more importantly, I'm thrilled we're all learning more about the young-earth creation science perspective - evidence that demonstrates the validity of the biblical view of creation from a scientific viewpoint. Of course, most young people and adults these days have never had the opportunity to study scientific alternatives to the theory of evolution - in fact, they're lied to and told at every turn that the theory is fact when, actually, it can never be proven as such - and that's a tragedy because learning more broadly is so fascinating and compelling. But that's all the more reason to be thankful for the academic freedom we enjoy as independent homeschoolers.
Finally, I was beyond excited that we learned in our history lessons this week about Constantine. I'd known that he was the Roman emperor who essentially - finally - ended the persecution of Christians, that he'd convened the Council of Nicaea, and that he almost certainly came to a personal saving faith in Christ. But I didn't know that his Edict of Milan actually granted religious freedom to all people in the empire - Constantine actually says that his "purpose is to grant both to the Christians and to all others full authority to follow whatever worship each man has desired" - or what a strong influence his Christ-following mother was on him. So, as usual with The Mystery of History, I learned something myself and was inspired. And I loved introducing the girls to one of my heroes of the faith.
For some reason, I didn't take many photos this week, but just for fun I have these, which include shots of all the cats: Prince in one of his cozy hiding places, Sparkle hanging out with the girls on Friday evening, and the other three - Sweater, Clawde, and Sapphire - where they spent most of this afternoon lounging together.
I'm linking up once again with the Weekly Wrap-Up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers. Click here to read other weekly wrap-up posts.