|The view from the school's playground...gorgeous rolling hill, cloud-puffed sky..|
"The more things change, the more they stay the same."
This phrase has been running through and jumping over hurdles in my brain the last few weeks (and maybe months) as I've perceived a shift in our culture -- and particularly my own life and choices -- to re-learn and resurrect so many of the "old ways and traditions" of doing things...from cooking, "home-making," crafting, minding our finances, etc. (I blogged about this topic too -- if you are interested.)
I honestly do think that much of it can be attributed to the economic downturn and people needing to make some serious lifestyle changes. However, I really do think that there is a hunger for our history and collective past -- a nostalgia of sorts for another time where people were content with less and seemed to live fuller.
Sidenote: In case you've ever wondered, that quote is attributed to Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, a french writer of note.
Anyhow, back to my thought process of late...
On Monday, as my friend, Ninon, and I pulled up to the Eleanor Roosevelt Community Learning Center to enroll our children and start this crazy, "never say never" home school journey, I couldn't help but think of that phrase as we looked at the most prominent structures on the charter school's campus.
It's a beautiful building that used to be a one-room school house back in the day. Now serving as the school library, it has a solid, historic feel to it. Like it's seen some things in it's day and it's not sure we're up to the challenge. I like it.
After filling out paperwork to enroll the five children (two of mine, three of hers), we met with our Educational Coordinator to get some general information on the both the school and how their school/program works. It was a challenge to get all the pertinent information with my four children playing in the room; however, I was so very grateful that our coordinator, Jeri, was understanding and even encouraging in the children's play and interruptions.
After that, we walked over to that majestic library and started to pick out curriculum...lots and lots of curriculum, stacks and stacks of curriculum. And that was just for my two children.
Between the two families, we loaded up the cargo area of my van with piles and piles of books and resources.
Did I mention that we didn't have to pay a dime? Because it's a public charter, tax money is paid out to the school on a per child basis -- just like regular school.
By this time, our kids were a wreck. They had been fairly patient for the two hours that it took for all of this to be accomplished, so as promised, we headed out to the playground area to have lunch and let the children finally run and jump and go crazy.
And they did...they swung, they slid down slides, they ran, they did it all...and eventually we ended up here...a curious fun-looking playhouse.
As we walked up to it, I recognized the handiwork of this sign...
...a Sarah Geesey work of art, a dear friend, who has beautifully modeled homeschool for years and the one who first filled me in about Eleanor Roosevelt. She definitely has a style all her own that I think I would identify most anywhere (however, since she's the art teacher at the school, it makes perfect sense that her work would be represented out here).
One of the coordinators saw us looking and came over with a bucket of chalk. The kids shrieked with delight when they realized that the inside of the house was all chalkboard! They quickly went to work!
|Ethan (Ninon's son) is a sweet little ham. My two girls are in the background.|
|My daughter Hayden thought this was the "best day ever."|
|The kids (minus McKenna): Ethan, Hayden, Camden, Ryan, Declan & Hadley|
When we arrived at her lovely, homey, home that exudes charm, warmth and acceptance, Ryan and Ethan jumped out of the van, high-fived and cheered with glee, "we're home schoolers!"
After a lovely visit filled with affirmation, information given and questions answered, we piled back into the van to head north.
As we drove home from Sarah's back up to Fresno and our homes, we saw the most gorgeous double rainbow. I have never seen colors so vivid painted against a bruised-purple sky from the impending rain storm headed our way.
It was like a love note from God to cap off an exhausting, overwhelming and exciting day and the signal of a new fresh beginning.
I definitely don't have it all figured out yet -- not even close. I've only read one "how to" home school book and I haven't even been able to attack that plastic bin full of curriculum.
But I'm hopeful.
My children are happy...relived. Confident. Content.
All things I wish for them in a "modern age," but so very grateful to be able to provide via a "days gone by" method of instruction.
We'll be back on Thursday for our first of many weekly trips down to take advantage of art, music, language and other hands-on, value-added classes. The kids can't wait!
And, so, the adventure begins...