Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day Memories

I remember being in a card shop with my mother, I must have been around 7 years old, and trying to find a creative way to buy her a Mother's Day card with no money of my own. In my 7 year old brain, I found the answer with this creative little white lie, "Mom, can I have money to buy this card for my friend's mom?" Yeah, I totally thought I was putting one over on her. I got the card though, mission accomplished.

I've got some new Mother's Day memories now, this time with me as center-stage mom. This year the family woke me up with breakfast in bed, cards and flowers. Nicholas chose yellow roses
because they are my favorite. Sydney chose pink tulips because they are her favorite. Later on they performed a song and dance ditty, all original and made especially for me with lyrics about loving and adoring me. I pretty much love this holiday!

Friday, May 7, 2010

I'm inspired, pass it on.

Inspiration (noun) - Stimulation of the mind or emotions to a high level of feeling or activity.

"How do you run a homeschool for multiple children with varying learning styles and ages while balancing home maintenance and other responsibilities? It is this: be inspirational. Be inspirational. BE INSPIRATIONAL." - Oliver & Rachel DeMille

This is a quote that I keep on my refrigerator. I found it in the book Leadership Education:The Phases of Learning, borrowed from my good friend and fellow homeschooler, Sarah. When I first decided to stick up on my fridge, surrounded by kids photos and artwork, I thought I would find out how to be this inspirational homeschooling mom easily within the pages of this book. Too bad for me that I got distracted with life and other books and it took me like 8 months to get to the end. Ironically enough, 8 pages before the book ends is where I found the answers I had been craving.

This resource listed Four Arts of Inspiring while being within an Inspiring Environment - Variety, Exposure, Dance (as in being lead with ease, not actually dancing) and Being Inspired. I see the sense in providing my children with variety and exposure to many styles of learning, topics they enjoy, letting them make their own choices in schooling, etc. The "dance" is something that reminds me of the old adage "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink". You can try and force the kids to sit down and listen to a lesson, but it doesn't mean they will learn anything. It simply suggests being creative and gentle in your approach - not demanding. In the example the book gave, the children slowly learned to spell and enjoy it by starting out writing letters to family members and quizzing their mother on her spelling. They didn't realize at first that they WERE being taught. No pressure on them, so no toes to step on - hence the "dance".

The Fourth Act, the Act of Being Inspired, is a harder one for me. It talks of the parent being inspired in their own life and sharing that inspiration with their children. Do I do that? I hope I do that. Does passing on my love for literature by allowing my children to see me read and leaving my books strewn throughout the house count? Does allowing them to see me prepare, and then later be denied due to low iron count and grieve for my perceived failure, to donate blood platelets to a friend suffering from Leukemia count? I am not sure I quite grasp this Fourth Act.

Maybe my new membership to AIR will help to spread inspiration. The acronym does stand for Assembly of Inspiration and Reason after all.
Perhaps I will be inspired by others in my attempts to be a role model for my own family. I have already gained so much confidence in myself and my ability to reason and think logically just by allowing myself to be surrounded by fellow free thinkers. I am excited to see what the future holds for both the group and my family as we continue to grow and branch out in the community and show our compassion in humanitarian efforts in direct correlation to our (non)belief. Knowing that I am helping carve a place in the community for my family to belong to is, well, an incredible feeling. I guess you could say I am feeling inspired.

"Inspiration does not come from the quote itself, but rather the person behind it."
~Russ Myers