: an idea formed (as an opinion) prior to actual knowledge or experience
Last week, I ordered A & B's next math book. This week, I received the used copy of K's math book for next year. This morning, I reminded the girls that we're going to start math next week. B was. not. pleased.
Frankly, she's been like this for weeks anytime I mention school work. While we'll be doing a smattering of math throughout the summer in order to keep our momentum (and math facts), I plan to officially launch our school year in late July with a unit study on the 2012 Summer Olympics. A, K and I are excited. B, on the other hand, leaves the room anytime we talk about it.
So today I laid it out for her. She can go back to public school - to homework, wearing standard school attire, following someone else's schedule, studying the assigned subjects - or she can be homeschooled. What she can't do is have the best of both worlds. She can't take a public school summer break and get shorter homeschool days during our school year. She can't follow their calendar only until it suits her to switch to mine.
I said this to her firmly but with compassion. Because I have my own set of preconceptions that have rocked my idea of what summer is and should be. As I explained to B, I wish our summer contained long stretches of completely unplanned time. I would like nothing more than to alternate trips to the lake with trips to the library all summer long. Instead, A has ballet Monday through Thursday and K has speech Tuesday through Thursday. So those long stretches? Calling them weekends would be more accurate. This isn't A's fault. Nor K's. It just means that B and I have to try to match our preconceptions with our reality.
To do this, I try to picture holding my preconceptions in my two hands and slowly opening my clenched fists. Some of what I want will slip through my fingers. I can either spend the summer mourning the things that fell through the cracks - or I can be thankful for what is left there in my open palms.
B has some choices. She can choose to enjoy the summer we have or spend it bemoaning what's missing. She can let her idea that the Olympics aren't a school subject dampen her experience of the games or she can take joy in learning more than Bob Costas will tell her.
I'm the same way. This summer I'm trying to not only find a rhythm that works, but take joy in what comes my way and only momentarily grieve the things we might miss out on this time around. Because summer will come again - and sometimes the moments we receive surpass those ideas formed without actual experience.