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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The end of history

It's a big day. We finished history today.

Four years and three months ago, my friend Kristen and I gathered our kids together to start a homeschool history program called The Story of the World.


(our very first class back in '07--The Excavation)

We know many people who have started this four-volume series, but very few who have finished in close to four years. That is partly because each of the four volumes has about 42 chapters in it, meaning we often had to  keep going into the summer to finish up a volume.

Who wants to tell them we'll be doing history in July?

Last year, when our family joined the virtual public school in Massachusetts, we thought our days doing history together were over. But, that was just an interruption: As soon as I quit the virtual school, we went back to meeting weekly.

We have been so fortunate to have this relationship since it has kept us both accountable. It was hard to say, "let's take this week off", when I knew our friends would be reading the chapter in anticipation of our weekly meeting.


Yes, this is history.

Now you may wonder, what do the kids remember from four years ago? If you are paying attention, you'll notice that my son D isn't even in these early photos because he was so young when we started. Even now, as we finish, he is just in his first months of first grade. But, I believe that for the older kids, we've laid down a strong foundation and an interest in history.

No, they may not remember every detail, but they will recall the big events. And when they encounter it again, I hope it'll jog their memory, much like it did mine as I read about the journeys of Marco Polo, the history of the Korean War, and even the Fall of Rome.


Except for this---no one will remember this.

In a couple of weeks, we'll start history again, but this time, we're spending two years studying U.S. History in depth so that we can delve into the big events.

I don't know what it'll be like to only focus on a single country instead of traveling the globe every week, but I do know one thing:


I'll have these five along for the ride.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

When the storm passes

My seven-year-old son had one of his epic meltdowns yesterday. Loads of tears, anger, frustration. The pulling off of bedsheets. The throwing of stuffed animals. The shouting of many "s-" words (no, not THAT one, thank goodness).

Looking back, I didn't react all that well to any of this. I got angry and made lots of threats of Halloween candy going away, video game privileges being revoked, future play dates cancelled. . .and then I calmed down and came downstairs to continue schoolwork with the girls.

It was too quiet upstairs, so I turned to head up the stairs to see what was going on, but instead saw his still-little-boy body crumpled in a heap on the living room chair. I felt a bit of anger bubble up at the idea that he had left his bedroom without my permission, but his form was so small and sad, the feeling went out like a snuffed candle. 

I tentatively sat down on the same chair, hands ready to contain another explosion but there was only a sob-filled body. He clutched at me, and we cried and cried together, both apologizing for the words spoken in anger.

I had one thought that would not leave me as I sat there holding him in my arms: Will he remember this?  I remember being yelled at by my parents. Spanked, even. I remember those hiccuping sobs in my bedroom, but I think I was always alone. I don't remember reconciliation. 

Will he remember the aftermath of his (our) raging? Will there be any memory of us hugging, and then going upstairs together to put back together his broken room? Will he ever recall us going outside for a dog walk/bike ride side-by-side in the rain as he chattered happily? Or will he remember my quick anger and empty threats and his hiccuping sobs?

Time will tell, I suppose. I also hope writing this down may someday spark a little memory in his brain of the time his mama held him, and we both whispered I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. . . into each other's ears.

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