Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hello, is anyone still out there?

Well, I have not fallen off the face of the homeschooling earth (thanks for checking in on me Marsha!); in fact, I am more determined than ever to manuever the unknowns and make a long-term go at educating the kids myself. Their school has been notified of my intent and I have registered "The Sabourin Academy" with the Indiana educational department. I have a huge project which needs to be completed by July and then I will buckle down and make a plan regarding our start date and curriculum. At that time, I will step things up on the old blog here as I will really be needing some support and suggestions. You know something? I am excited, truly excited to spend this time with my children. I am glad to have a legitimate excuse for pulling myself together and growing up a little. I've been tossing the extra junk around here and studying books about establishing schedules. I feel confident that this is the best choice for us as a family. So come with me on this journey, whether you've homeschooled for years (we need your wisdom) or are toying with the idea of it (you can learn from my mistakes)! We can thrive as homeschooling mothers; I believe that with all of my heart!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Christ is Risen!

My son, Benjamin, and my niece, Isabelle, taking part in our Paschal joy with exuberance!

Friday, March 28, 2008

A Few of My Favorite (and not so favorite) Things...

Things I expect to make me happy but usually don't:

New Shoes

Another brown sweater

Loads of "Free" time

Weighing three less pounds

Avoiding something difficult

A haircut

Getting my point across

Assuaging my curiosity

Things that are surprisingly satisfying:

An empty dishwasher

A first cup of coffee

A great book

A real conversation with one of my kids

Holding hands with my husband

Going out for breakfast with a friend

Clean sheets

Rejoicing with those who rejoice, mourning with those who mourn

A hot shower

"unnecessary" beauty (i.e. a handknit sweater, a homemade card, carefully chosen words, satiny clerical vestments that change with the Church seasons, music, an ornately set table, etc.)

Morning prayers

Offering a sincere compliment

Freshly cut flowers in a vase by my kitchen sink

An organized sock drawer

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Life Unscheduled

Thanks to a week of illness and the beginning of spring break, I've had a taste, once again, of life at home, all day, with my children. On this particular Friday, it is snowing here if you can believe it. I'm still a bit queasy and exhausted from a nasty bout of something I'd hoped our family had this year sucessfully avoided when winter officially ended and we were all still standing and fever free. But alas...

Anyhow, I awoke to a day with no plans whatsoever, no built in time eaters like errands or jaunts to the park. I had no expectations, no deadlines were upon us, the morning was wide open - a thought that both frightened and delighted me simultaneously.

"Could you help me with this, mom?"

"Can we make collages out of magazines?"

"Can we sit together in the rocking chair and just be?"

Yes, yes, and yes. Our activities were seamless, one naturally flowing into another as imaginations sparked and new ideas materialized. This pace, slow and timeless, was at one point my more consistent reality but then recently its been rush and hurry, "You're late!", "What do mean you can't find your gym shoes?"

"It's nice of you to do this with me," said Priscilla, as we cut and colored construction paper, "usually you're too busy for this kind of thing"


You'd think that it would be better, more fulfilling to be without them for much of the day; I told myself for two years that it was. It stays cleaner around here, I get more writing done, but then they come home either gloom faced or irritable, secretive with experiences and conversations I am clueless about. "Do your homework." I am the bad guy. I am mentally, physically, and emotionally unavailable as two-year-old Mary is now up from her nap and needs to held and comforted throughout her transition from drowsiness to alertness, dinner must be thought about and assembled, squabbles begin immediately and I countdown the hours until bedtime.

I miss them, and am presently marveling at their ability to work together when they have to - building blanket forts, pouring juice for one another, playing peacefully without the stress of bus schedules, peer expectations, and timed math facts on their young shoulders. I love reading Ramona the Brave with my daughter, having the freedom to then sit quietly while she reads a chapter back to me, sounding out words one syllable at a time. I let go of the rigid uptightness forbidding boys from being boys, and two brothers who often struggle for a way to see eye-to-eye wrestled joyously on the office floor while I smiled and didn't stop them. None of it is easy, but I think I'll take the messiness of a life interwined with theirs and leave the sterililty of a vacant house, a seperate existence, behind me.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Every Bit Matters

Dear Sir or Madam,

You are cordially invited to the unveiling of my eldest son's blogsite, Every Bit Matters. I came up with this idea when Elijah started to become very interested in the mysterious world of internet technology. Rather than automatically banning him from such addictive, risky and time wasting pursuits as can only be found on the world wide web (hence increasing his fascination and likelihood to one day explore it on his own without my knowledge or guidance), I offered to help him set up his own personal space for expression and interaction with friends and family. The rules for maintaining his blog are as follows:

I oversee everything from his signing in to his posting of comments.

Whatever he posts we will read through together for grammar and clarity, thus hopefully giving him a stronger writing voice as opposed to massacring his communication skills through the excessive use of texting and hastily typed e-mails.

I want for Elijah to learn from me and not from peers at school how to navigate through cyber space, how to avoid the dangerous pitfalls of addiction and vouyersim. I want him to understand that there are ethics involved and that his internet "presence" should at all time reflect our morals and faith in Christ. And finally, I want for him to create, to compose, to become articulate and enamored with the process of shaping thoughts, dreams, and visions into stories. I want for him to be able to share these pieces with relatives who will relish in every word he offers as only relatives can.

I hope you enjoy his ponderings even half as much as I do!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Encouraged by the sun and good company

Ahh, the warmth of sun! Spring has finally graced us with its presence and I am renewed because of it. We've been out, out, out of this house as much as possible in the wagon, on swings, and on legs soft and flabby due to months of winter idleness. I slept hard last night, as did my children.

We did, indeed, show up at the homeschool co-op on Wednesday and were greeted very kindly by a small group of mothers varying quite a bit in age and personality. A couple had been homeschooling for years and others had not even begun yet, officially, as their own kids were only five-years-old and under. They assured me that Northwest Indiana has a ton of resources for homeschoolers and that, in fact, it is easy to over extend oneself while trying to take advantage of them all. This particular "resource" meets at the library three Wednesdays a month. The participating mothers sign up for specific projects having to do with whatever book they are reading through as a group that year, the current one being on Ancient Rome. They bring their own craft supplies and take turns directing the children. My Benji built a road using sand, clay, and small rocks. The older kids were doing something more intricate but I didn't get a chance to look closely at their project. I was encouraged to see at least four boys around Elijah's age (9).

I will definitely go back with my younger two for now. They seemed to really enjoy it - even Mary who gets nervous in new situations. I liked the fact that the women I met were genuine and honest about the highs and lows of their homeschooling experience. I liked that their reasons for homeschooling weren't cliche or predictable (i.e. the world is evil, lets hide from it). Some, like me, wanted more of an influence in their families' lives to promote faith, love and art as lived out by Christ. Others had children with special learning or emotional needs. Still others were concerned that their kids had started "dumbing themselves down" in the public school setting. It was refreshing to talk openly about my plans. All in all, I am encouraged and still determined to press on.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


So guess what? I broke the news to two of my neighbors over coffee yesterday, neighbors whose kids attend the same public elementary school that mine do, and they didn't even bat an eye at what I thought would be a controversial bombshell. "Oh I've thought about it, too," said one of them - obviously torn between her frustrations with teachers, assignments, peers and her insecurities about educating them herself. Then just today I had nine-year-old Elijah with me at the library for five-year-old Benji's weekly pre-school class (he was up alot of the night with a stomach ache and then miraculously felt better in the afternoon) and the children's librarian asked if he was homeschooled. "Next year," I told her and she nodded her head knowingly.
"I have a few friends who've been teaching for years in this district," she told me "and they are frustrated by how constrained they've become by state testing. I think more and more parents are considering the homeschool alternative."

Tomorrow I will go with my friend Kris and her four darling children to check out the local homeschool co-op. I am going to try my best to just observe it all casually for now. My life runs so much smoother when I take a step and pray, take a step and pray, instead of charging like a bull into experiences I'm not fully prepared for. All in all, I am encouraged by the small confirmations sprouting up quite unexpectedly in my interactions with fellow community members and in other strange circumstances, such as the grade school talent show I attended last Friday which involved a whole bunch of gyrating and, on a purely entertaining note, a five year-old boy who was a huge Phil Colins fan (or so it said in the program) and sang "I Can't Dance" in its entirety.

Stay tuned for my reaction to Wednesday morning's co-op meeting!

Love to you all!