I’m grappling with an idea here. You know, in marriage counseling, we talk about expectations. And how you have them even if you don’t know it, and they can be the source of conflicts when they are thwarted.
So I think from that context, I’ve kind of thought that expectations were kind of negative.
So transition that into home schooling. I had a lot of expectations or assumptions about what this should be like. And I’ve felt a lot of dissatisfaction and guilt that my expectations are not being met.
Now, what I’m seeing is that some expectations I should let go of or modify. But other expectations I should keep working towards.
The other night, I sat down with Vitaliy because I’m at a point where I think God is leading me toward modifying this area that has left me less-than-satisfied for a long time.
So, together we made a list of my expecations (what I thought it would be like and imagined doing together), then I stated the reality, and then later I worked back through the list to state why it was that way (the disconnect between my desires and my reality) and analyzing if I just needed to change my expectations or … gasp, work toward fulfilling them.
For example, I have this expectation that we need to have a literature-based approach to education. Well, right now, it’s all textbooks (with our year of video school). And you know, textbooks are not as terrible as I’d like to think.
So, I think I will modify this expectation. Some subjects (like Math and English (grammar), I will probably stick with textbooks. But I want to explore how to make other areas (like history and reading) more literature based. The deal is, what I make literature-based usually requires more of my personal involvement, and I need to be ready for that. (Though as the girls get older, they’ll be able to do more of their own reading.)
One expectation that I had also, was that we should be doing a lot of music and art (and generally creative things). This has not been happening. HOWEVER, I think it’s something that should be happening.
Now, one reason I think God is bringing this around now, is that we’re experimenting with hiring someone to help me at home with the little kids so I can stay freed up to keep up with Skyla and Vika’s school work.
This week, we’ve hired Vitaliy’s mom. The grandma. She’s pretty perfect. It’s affordable for us, a good salary for her, and she stays with us the whole time (she travels in from the village and lives with us for 3-4 days, then goes home).
And she’s good with kids, good with fixing food, and good with just seeing what needs to be done and doing it. I’ve been able to do more than run between rooms, washing dishes perpetually, and try to figure out what we’re going to eat periodically. I’ve been able to sit, be available, watch what they’re learning, let go of some things, be close. …. It’s been awesome.
So, I’d like to work on those expectations that should be realized. We did art and music today. It was awesome. We made paint like they used to in older times using egg yolk as a base. Then we added it with music and listened to / watched Peter & the Wolf (awesome orchestral rendition with the conductor telling the story as they go along), and we painted pictures of the characters that I’d printed out for us. I painted too. With our egg yolk-ground chalk paints. It was pretty cool!
Another example: I’ve been bugged that I’m not reading aloud to the kids. This is important. So the last few days, I’ve been reading aloud, even if it’s just a page. But it’s getting to be longer portions. (Yesterday I read them Jan Karon’s little book about the snowman contest in Mitford.) And today we started a novel attached to their school work.
So. Lesson of the Time: Not all expectations are bad. Some should be kept and worked on fulfilling.