Monday, July 12, 2010

Make It Work

Do you ever look at your children and wonder how this amazing, creative soul came from you?

As I sat and watched Grace have her her first private flute lesson today, I marveled at how good she is. Yes, I am prejudiced because she is my child, but she is truly talented. The instructor would like to take her on as a student and suggested she join an ensemble of children age 10-12. She corrected some bad habits Grace has, like constantly shifting her feet while she plays, and holding her thumb in the wrong position. She recommended some repair work be done to her flute to increase the quality of the sound. We left with a book to purchase, her number to schedule another lesson, and a sense of pride in Grace’s accomplishments.

Grace looked at me and told me this is her school. This is where she wants to learn. I truly believe this teacher can take Grace’s talent and mold her into a great flutist. I don’t know how we are going to fund this. I had visions of dollar signs dancing in my head as each (the lessons and the ensemble) are separate fees, but to quote Tim Gunn, we will “make it work”.

It sometimes humbles me that these are my children. They are born into the world with gifts and talents that may have something to do with genetics, something to do with experiences, something to do with nurturing, and something to do with divinity. How is Lilah able to sit and create such amazing art? How can Grace be playing the flute just ten months and make the music she makes? How can I continue to nurture and develop, challenge and support these amazing girls?

Christine over at The Thinking Mother wrote about the positives and negatives of homeschooled children. I took from her article that being home gives us the opportunity to focus in on the positives. Since Grace wants to be a meteorologist, I have found her a comprehensive weather text. She enjoys math, and I will offer her challenging material through Singapore Math. Lilah loves cooking and baking and may wants to open an etsy shop. I will offer her a cooking course through Ms. Cindy. She loves art and I am stocking our shelves with art books and will give her the chance for an independent study through Artistic Pursuits. Christine feels that some homeschool parents focus too strongly on the positives and gloss over the negatives. If we focus on their strengths while ignoring their weaknesses it is akin to educational neglect. I recognize their areas that they struggle in. Grace needs to grow as a reader and I will closely follow her and monitor her book selections. Lilah does not enjoy math and we sometimes struggle through our lessons. Both girls need cursive practice. Both need to develop this writing skills.

So when I focus on their positives, marvel at their accomplishments, offer them pathways to achieve their goals, and support their individual passions, I do it with the awareness that their weaknesses will also be attended to, mindfully thought about, carefully planned for and consciously monitored.

And when my mind gets a moment free from all this thought......I find myself marveling and appreciating the two gifts that God gave me.


Theresa said...

Great post! That post at the Thinking Mother had me thinking, too! About the areas that we need to work on and how I can cull their natural talents, abilities and desires.

The expense of music lessons is daunting. We are trying to figure that out as well.

It may sound New Age-y but I truly believe that things have a way of working out the way that they are meant to and that you will find a way!

Jessica said...

I have been thinking about their goals that they have set for themselves. Grace loves music and it is her way of relieving stress. We need to keep that. She has expressed interest in being part of a Destination Imagination team but since that does not tie in strongly with her goals, we may have to let that go for now. We also have been thinking about joining a coop (that is an hour away). All their friends are part of this coop. But it does not fit well with our teaching philosophy so I am wondering if I should let that go to free up a day. At this point we are not committed to it. I am going to make up a mock schedule. I want to make sure we have time for lessons every day until 1:00 and time for playdates in the afternoon with extra curricular lessons in the late afternoon. Whew. It is tough to manage two schedules. Double the work of just one girl at home! :)

Theresa said...

So funny. We worked on setting goals last night :)

Both A & P love art and we were planning on them taking art classes again this fall. But if we do the homeschooling, I am thinking of easing us all in. We are very fortunate to have a co-op fifteen minutes away that meets on Mondays. It follows a trimester schedule, so I think we would wait until the second trimester. There is a homeschool soccer activity on Wednesdays in the fall that I think we would do and a Mixed age Girl Scouts on Fridays (with many co-op members) that I think we would do. Also, an organic farming co-op that we are all VERY interested in. I think all of that, combined with some field trips and playdates may be just enough to keep us busy without overwhelming us and giving us the time to get settled with lessons. Oh and did I mention choir and bell choir? That is Thursday afternoons.

Amazing how fast our schedule fills up! :)

Rosemarie said...

Hi Jessica,
I just wanted to say that I have been enjoying all your post over the past few days. The one about all the teaching material was so like me. I have been out of the classroom 7 years, knew I would never go back and am still trying to get rid of stuff.

Hope you are enjoying summer and maybe see you sometime. William talks about Lilah and Grace often- since that day at the beach. They made a big impression on him:)

Jessica said...


We would love to get together soon. My girls have only been to the beach a few time so far this summer. My email is We can try to plan something!

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