I was evil mom today — let us not dwell on the details, but only say that I had one of those Evil Mom moments that you would give anything to take back, where you hear yourself saying things you never imagined you would say. Sigh . . . so much for my application for sainthood.
On a lesser note, I was feeling very down about my homeschool group, which has effectively dissolved over the course of the year.
So — feeling defeated, seriously considering sending both kids to school next year, I prepared to go out for the night for an event I had planned to go to a long time ago. I had never followed up, however, and turns out the event was cancelled. But I had to get out of the house.
Well, first, I got a call from someone in my old homeschool group telling me about a wonderful, newer homeschool group that is very active, has regular get-togethers, and best of all (for me) has lots of social/support stuff for adults as well as kids. Yay! I rearranged our schedule around the weekly park outing immediately. My acquaintance and I had a great chat on the phone, laughing about the stresses and strain homeschool life, and my mood was greatly lightened. Whoo! Totally unexpected boon.
Then I had a little inspiration. The MN Catholic Homeschoolers conference started today, but I was not planning to attend because I had all these other things going on, and I hadn’t gotten all that pumped up about the speakers. Wanting to get out of the house, and knowing Eggmaster was planning a night of drumming and recording because he thought I’d be out of the house, I decided to head over.
I can’t think of anything better I could have done! My plans were cancelled, my day had seemed in the dumpster, and before I knew it I was in the very place I most needed to be. We call this Grace, friends. Grace Abounding (I’d add “To the Worst of Sinners,” like John Bunyan, but I’ve always heard that title described as perversly prideful.)
I only got to attend one workshop, one on homeschooling through high school. The room was packed, seemingly with parents with massive families who had sent at least one child so far to a good college. Mostly it was a chance for all these homeschooling parents to chime in on the rewards and challenges of homeschooling, especially as kids get older and the subjects get more complicated. It sounds so simple, but it was a wonderful thing simply to see heads nodding in agreement with many of the personal comments, and to hear the room erupt with laughter at one of those little quirks only another homeschooler would understand.
Sigh . . . breathe out . . . eternity is long enough and the world is big enough to hold all the worries, failings, successes, surprises, joys, and disasters we could name, and then some. This is such a mysterious source of relief to me.
I really enjoyed browsing the vendors as well. It was always entertaining to share my little story of how I accidentally came to the conference — such a little thing, a nothing, but when the first woman I bought something from responded wholeheartedly and spontaneously with “Isn’t God amazing?” I had to say yes. And as I continued browsing all the vendors I felt so fortunate to have ended up there, seeing so many wonderful things I had not even known existed.
I could have bought up so much of what was sold by Illuminated Ink, but I settled for a Saints Bingo game to give as a gift to our parish Director of Religious Education and some paper airplanes that you color and then fold up so they look like angels — and I mean serious archangels and seraphim, not some cutsey country thing. They have these cool 3D coloring things that go with various feast days, but I forced myself to hold off. Our Lady of Guadalupe was really calling my name, though — when the e-mail coupons come, who can say what will happen.
I also picked up Elizabeth Foss‘s book Real Learning. (It even has a foreward by Melissa Wiley!) I love just the sense of grace and gentleness–mixed with some earthy reality–I get from both of their blogs. I’m ready to be inspired.
I also grabbed a book I never would have expected to like, but I think I’m going to find it very useful all the same. Fr. Francis Weiser’s The Holyday Book (subtitle: The Celebration of Holydays, Feastdays, and Festivals) is from the 1950s and it has a very old-fashioned look to it. Would it be too hyper pious and outdated. Well, no, actually! From what I’ve read it’s a very readable, factual presentation of all those holy days by season, with details about how people in various countries have traditionally celebrated them, with recipes, songs, poems, prayers, activites. If anything, the oldness of it keeps it from being diluted with lame ideas that are supposed to appeal to “modern” children.
I also picked up a book of Singapore word problems. I am still feeling the need to consolidate and firm up our math — we’ve blown ahead very quickly and at this pace will soon be starting 6th grade Singapore. I’d like to slow down a bit, using the Singapore book and revisiting the Primary Grade Math Challenge book, ideally to get Violet to try the “Einstein level” this time.
So in all a good haul, and then I stopped at the store and saw this! (That’s Faygo Rock and Rye, baby.)