Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Year, New Outlook

First of all, thank you so much for all the lovely comments on my blogging anniversary post. What encouragement to keep going! (And if you haven't said hello yet, it's not too late!) Each note has been like a little gift to be opened. I am so blessed to hear from so many of you.

It's my first chance to post something in the New Year--and also my last day of Christmas break. Yup, our two weeks are up at midnight, so we'll start back tomorrow. I'd love to wait till Monday, but feel the need to push now in case we sell our house this spring...

...And that's the way the New Year looks to me: More uncertainty and more waiting. And more work! as we get our house ready to put back on the market in mid-February and then have to keep it picture-perfect at all times while still living in it with six kids. Sigh.

However, one less kid will be in it during our school days! Due to some serious mid-year reevaluation, we've decided to give Bantam8 the experience of a half-year in public school, in third grade. Here are a few reasons:

--Our oldest three all had a little stint in school, either in first or second grades. They enjoyed it and learned a lot and Mom got a break for that year or half-year.

--It's kind of like an extended field trip. 98% of their peers are not homeschooled, so it seems like a good idea to give our kids a taste of how the rest of the world is growing up! They'll have their memories of that experience to draw on all their lives.

--We like to send them when they're younger, while the kids are still kind to each other and relatively innocent. Third grade will be the oldest we've tried this. (I really wanted to do this last fall, but we were still hoping we'd be moving by Christmas. Now it looks like we can count on finishing out the school year here....)

--There's a positive side to peer pressure. In front of a class, whining, complaining, and slipping off to go play are not options. And if everybody else looks like they're going to finish their math page by lunch, well then, by golly, you can too!

--Art, music and gym class. Bantam8 will continue singing, acting and dancing with our children's theater group as well.

--This child is a slippery fish. He's the one who prefers to go shirtless year 'round, remember? But he's also slippery in that he requires a lot of my attention and energy just to keep track of where he is and what he's doing. He often slips away to do his own thing, and I'm running out of energy for sitting on him.

--Plus he's doing just great in all his subjects, so he's the easy one to let go if there are squeakier wheels calling for grease!

--Honestly, I think he's bored. If I could work with only him all day, he would soak it up like a sponge, but reading and doing workbooks just don't appeal to his active nature. And this year, doing high school for the first time with a freshman and a sophomore, I just don't have extra time to spend with him.

--I am interested to see what his teachers will say about him. When we put our other kids in school, it was enlightening to hear their teachers' perceptions of their strengths and sometimes, weaknesses. Bantam8 is a rather unique child and I'm curious what they'll say! I know he'll be well-liked by the other kids, as he is in the theater group. I'm also truly wondering if he can sit still if he has to. At home he spends 50% of his time on his head, hands or knees!

--I hope to spend the energy I'd spend trying to keep track of him on Chicklet5, my kindergartener that I just haven't had time to do much with!

Those are the pros, and of course there are cons too--not the least of which is having to go pick him up every day after school. But at least another mom/friend/neighbor is driving in the mornings, so I don't have to run out twice a day! And then there's all the paper that will come home, and expectations for parental participation, and getting him up and ready on time no matter what...and we'll see what attitudes he brings home. Fortunately it's only for a limited time!

For him, the big con is: He has to wear a shirt. "I know, Mom," he said when I broke the news to him. "And long pants," I added. "No," he said with a startled look, "I can wear shorts. I don't get cold." "But you would be the only boy in third grade in shorts in January." "I don't care." "But it would be weird." "Oh."

Ah...we shall miss him.

And now to sum up my own personal resolutions: I want to be a kindler, gentler mama in 2008. I felt like the Apostle Paul was entreating me personally this morning:

I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3)

Isn't that a good verse to make into a New Year's resolution?

And here's my New Year's prayer. It's the collect for the first Sunday after Christmas:

Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives...

Shine through me, Light of Christ--this year and every year.


Kerry said...

Yes, I have a sliperry fish 8 year old boy, too. I'd like to blame it on the age or gender, but, probably like yours, he's always been this way!

Unfortunately, he'd never survive in PS. He's a bit behind in reading (although his vocabulary and comprehension are way above his grade-level) and he would hate PS. He's alreayd told me that. :)

Anyway - I LOVE the verse you shared and I agree it makes an excellent New Year resolution. Hmmm...just might make it one of mine.

Question for you - do you have or know of a devotional reading based on the Daily Office?

Brea said...

Wow, what a wonderful perspective on sending your kids to PS for one semester; I've never heard of any other HS-ers do this!

My oldest is my slippery one. We try to have the 'you must wear a shirt November-February' rule, but seeing how we live in Texas, and I was in shorts and a tank top working in my garden last week ... eh, whatcha gonna do? :) But here's the funny part: My kids don't say, 'I'm not going to wear my shirt.' They say, 'I'm going to wear my belly.' They've been saying it for years, and it still cracks me up every time I hear it!

Thanks for sharing the verse. Blessings this new year to your and all your bantams ...


Amy said...

A "kindler, gentler mama in 2008."

You and me both, Sister!

A great verse, too.