Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Roadschooling Reflections

The tricky thing about blogging is that I can post our trip and you see smiles and happy faces and you, the reader, are left thinking that this was the best trip ever.  The reality is that this was not the best trip ever.  It was good.  Many wonderful memories were made.  My favorite memories of this trip were:
  • wandering through Navy Pier
  • taking the water taxi
  • meandering Main Street with Aunt Val
  • meeting cousins for the very first time
  • spending the day with good friends who we have not seen in too long
The harder parts of this trip, the parts not seen in the photographs I shared were:
  • the stress of navigating a city where taxis are not readily available nor are subway stations as accessible as what we are used to
  • the stress of straying so far from our diet
  • disrupted sleep
  • bickering children
  • a crabby Mama
  • people on the street that will confront you and your children begging for food and money
  • when you offer food to the people who ask, they scoff at what you offer and say they “already were given that today”.  
  • the tremendous cost of living expense Chicagoans pay.  9.75% people!  
  • realizing once again how very much I hate flying.  

Through the good and the bad, lessons were learned.  I learned that we have the choice to get bogged down by the blues or we can choose to let go of whatever it is that is making us crabby and celebrate the moment.  This is a lesson I learn over and over as it can be a hard one for me.  

Because I felt that nutritionally sound food choices were challenging for me in Chicago, I tried a vegetarian weekend!  Oatmeal, veggie burger (made on site), Mexican tortas (vegetable), fresh made beet, celery and carrot juice...  It felt very good.  I am moving more and more towards this diet/lifestyle.  I am not 100% committed at this time but I find myself eating less and less meat.  I am also not imposing this choice on my family.  This is a choice that is completely theirs to make.

I have also been struggling with how homeschooling is working for our family.  Being a homeschooling family allows us to take trips like this, unconfined to a school calendar and preset vacation time.  I could, and have, written entire entries about the pros of homeschooling.  Lately I have been focused on some of the negative aspects of homeschooling.  Spending this much time together can be difficult.  An habit that one of us had, that is usually just an annoyance, can become a huge issue when we are together all the time.  I wonder sometimes if being apart 7 hours a day would make it better when we come together at the end of the day.  Realistically I know this is not true.  I know that my girls still argued when they were in school.  I know that the stress of homework, lessons, dinner and bedtime caused issues.  But in the heat of the moment, when the girls are just at their wit’s end with each other, I wonder........
But then we go to co-op, we discuss things that we have learned and are learning, and we recommit to our decision to homeschool.  We get excited to participate in the big dig this spring, pick new classes and begin new projects.  We daydream of our next tag along trip.....
Needless to say my mind has been pretty active this weekend.  This was not our favorite tag along trip.  For me that will probably always be Puerto Rico, but Washington DC was pretty good too.  This one will be a memory, it will be an experience and a opportunity to evaluate the positives and negatives in our lives at this very moment.  

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