Thursday, June 24, 2010


: giving hope or promise

On Tuesday, I took six children with me to the Frist Center: A, B and K and three friends. I didn't really plan it that way. It just sort of happened. But it had some great advantages over other ways we could have spent our day: it was air-conditioned, there were two exhibits the kids were very interested in seeing and ArtQuest never fails to entertain. That said, I was pretty exhausted by the end of the day. K's friend is a lot like her - they seem to be almost the same person in different bodies, in fact. And two K's is an exhausting proposition.

The day after our visit, a friend posted the following comment on my facebook page: Thanks so much for taking O. Telling me about the exhibit, she said, "Shannon had us tell her what our favorite piece was and why - just like she did at the Greek exhibit. She's like a teacher! I love her. She'd make a really good teacher." That's almost verbatim, because I repeated it to myself many times in my head so I could tell you! She liked your other questions, too - like why did artists have series, etc.

This was so unexpected and spontaneous that I found it very encouraging and I told the mom that one of the best parts for me was hearing their responses to my questions. In fact, O's response about why artists create things in a series was one I've never considered - that one piece doesn't have the same power that a series does when seen together. I love seeing an art exhibit through their eyes and learning from them. And it was encouraging to hear a child who is bright, engaging and fun think that I'd be a good teacher - since that's pretty much what I'll be when I start homeschooling Anna in (gulp) less than two months.

I was also encouraged to meet with a few neighborhood moms last night who homeschool their middle school daughters. I found most of my questions were technical (where in your home do you sit? how much space do you need? what grammar curriculum do you use?) and that as long as I focus on my excitement about tackling renaissance history with A, the fear stays at bay. Because I am excited. As I talked about how A and I want to weave history and literature together, a friend suggested getting a blank timeline that we can fill in as we go. I love this idea and suggested to A that we start that this summer, by filling in the people she's read about in her historical fiction books. She's read books set during both World Wars, the Victorian Era, the Revolutionary War, the Depression and much more, but I'm not sure she knows where in time those events relate to one another. So starting with fictionalized historical characters is a great way to get the ball rolling and help her see how much she already knows about history.

It is encouraging to feel myself and hear myself get passionate about what A and I will learn together. And I hope some of that passion will get me through what I anticipate will be the most difficult part of homeschooling: the emotional side of it. As I walked home from the moms' coffee last night with a friend, I told her that I think the hardest part will be conflict resolution. Both A and I are prone to avoid or deny conflict rather than work through it and that won't be an option if she's going to learn well. We'll have to actually work through things instead of pretending the problem doesn't exist. (My friend is a counselor, so she found it pretty funny that this is my big concern about homeschooling.) That said, it will be healthy for A to learn how to work through conflict at an earlier age than 37, which is when I'll be putting these skills into action and it will undoubtedly change me for the better. In fact, I have a feeling that by this time next year, I may have learned more than A. And that would be very encouraging indeed.

Images are some of the history books I've purchased for A and I to read next year (or now).

1 comment:

Variations On A Theme said...

Oh, you dear, dear lady....