I think that it must be true with most things for most people, that walking, doing, growing along side of another gives added meaning to the journey.
This summer we had big plans to explore some subjects together. Or I should say I had big plans. But we know what they say of the best laid schemes of mice and men... Instead of ticking off to-do lists and lesson plans, mostly this summer we just enjoyed the sun. My husband spent more time than was expected with us so we took advantage and hit the beach and the pool, family style. Often. It's been a fun summer, filled all up with just what summer should be: salt water, sun-kissed cheeks, playing with friends and cousins. And we still have a few weeks to go.
What we did make time to explore was learning Hebrew and reading the Bible. So far we've made it through the Hebrew aleph-bet. We quiz each other with flash cards. It makes it fun. We've tackled the bible in a few different ways, but I just couldn't find something that clicked. I had a hard time fitting in helping my 7 year old read his bible and then having time to read mine. We were all over in different books at different times. No one even seemed to remember what was read. It felt disconnected.
My nine year old uses these Bible bookmarks for independent bible reading each day. I'm not sure why it took until just last week to make this a whole family habit. The bookmarks have a theme and then five bible passages that go with the theme for the week. They are a wonderful, simple and effective idea. And I don't mean just for the kids, for me too. We, the whole family, are getting into the habit of reading the passage to ourselves before we even get out of bed. Then we talk about what we read at breakfast. It's been rocky getting my 7 year old to attempt to read the verses on his own but we're making progress and he's getting excited that he knows the answers to the questions we ask around the breakfast table.
And I am reading each day. Before I even wake all the way up, I am reading. In my foggy state I'm reaching my sleepy arm over to my bedside table and I feel for the leather cover and I pick it up, open and read. I don't know if I'm conveying just how big this is for me. I read the bookmark passage (and usually significantly more). This is the first time I've found a way to be consistent with starting my day in The Word. I do see a pattern here. It takes accountability to my sons to give me motivation. But I think that's okay. Good even.
Isn't that why our smart God put us in these families and didn't make us solitary beings?
Oh there is one more thing we've been diligent about this summer...piano. My sons seem to really be doing well. One day it occurred to me that I require music practice for them but I don't play an instrument. So...can you guess??. I'm taking up piano. It is so challenging. I'm just self teaching for now until I learn some basics. I'm following my 7 year old's book. He loves being able to teach me scales and all the cute music theory he knows. As I try to play a G scale with both hands and I can barely get the fingers to find the right keys at the right time, I'm awed at the progress of my sons. All this learning and trying and memorizing, all these synapses connecting and muscles storing memory, it's great work and it requires a great amount of energy.
When I learn with them I remember just how much I am asking of them. And so I can relate to their challenges and empathize with frustrations in an real way.
Summer is beginning to wind to a close and a new school year is peeking around the corner and I am thinking about how grateful I am to have these boys at home with me. Learning with them and walking this life together has been more of a blessing than I can say. I'm realizing that my planning for September is really just about honoring this one-piece life where God is the center of all subjects and family is who we learn with and who we love and the line between school and life really barely exists.
I'm seeing it in our new bible reading plan and in learning to play the keys, but really when family does anything altogether it always seems to have a deeper impact. Whether it's history, or science experiments, or playing in the pool, or making dinner, when done together it's a lovely thing. When all the different ages and abilities tackle the same subject matter it becomes something more than it is; it sticks deeper into the memory. In the act of doing something--anything, in the company of others, especially ones you love, special connections are made.
Just sitting here all thankful and needed to write....