A Year in the Life of a Home-Schooling Family: Day 37

I was feeling a bit delicate from the day before. Between the girls going to bed and me getting up, they had read yesterday’s post. They were very indignant that anyone should ever make me feel that way! They reeled off more and more ways that homeschooling had been a blessing in their lives. Then Charlotte commented that she didn’t think she would be alive today if it weren’t for me homeschooling her. Wait, what?! Charlotte was born in a dramatic fashion. And she remains to this day, full of drama! So really, that throw away comment should not have thrown me, but it did. It was quite stark. That said, I do get it – I really understand what she meant.

Charlotte is an utter joy to have as a daughter, but my goodness does she have a strong personality! She has challenged our parenting in ways that we never would have thought to be challenged. The time she arrived home announcing to all that she was going to get a tattoo springs to mind. And the tantrums which followed when we said no (it is illegal after all – she was only 13!). Her passion for young girls who are sex slaves stretched both Gary and I. Her need to express those thoughts about the unfairness of sex slavery, to help others who were maybe more powerful than her 14 year old self do something about it. The fact that she has so much to say, she has already completed three novels, a zillion poems, many, many raps and songs… This girl was born to talk.

But strong personalities can feel over-powering for other young teens trying to find their way in the world. Charlotte needed to figure out how to control the hugeness that was her, at least enough so it didn’t put others off. But she could only learn that from a positive place, not the unhappy place she was in at that time.

I remember the day I chose to love her. Of course, I always loved her with a mother’s love, but at 13 she was difficult, pushing every single button of both her dad and I. Yet, each time we had to have words with her, I could see how desperate she was for someone to understand her. And I knew that person had to be me. I chose to love her and to understand her. Not just to love her as my daughter (that bit was easy) but to love her, really love her, for the woman she was becoming. Instead of being worried, anxious or irritated I chose love. Every minute of every day. Any time I saw her pushing at the boundaries (about a trillion times every day) we would sit down and chat about whatever the particular issue was. Sometimes I would go round to mum’s next door and just sit in silence. I just needed five minutes to collect myself before going back home and having yet another chat about yet another issue.

Love conquers all. Maybe that is too blithe to just state like that. But I believe it with all of my soul. Love is always an action. Love is always a choice. But love is not always easy, nor is love simple. But it was mine to give and I gave it willingly and abundantly. I literally poured it all over her. I talked to brother and sisters aside from Charlotte, asking that they just love her with everything they had, even when it was hard. I positively affirmed her every time I could, even for little things. Nothing was too small to comment on. I thanked her, not for what she did but for who she was. I hugged and cuddled her whenever the opportunity arose.

Today, Charlotte is one of the most hilarious, loving, gorgeous, confident and authentic people I know. She makes me laugh everyday, and she and I literally could not be closer. She will be one of my best friends (along with Thomas, Lillie, Abigail and Becca) for the rest of my life. We jog along nicely together, and any time we struggle we both choose love. Always. Because, y’know, love conquers all.

I say all of that because I do think her being at home probably did save her life. She is emotionally and mentally one of the strongest people I know. But I could not have said that at 13. If she had been at school then goodness only knows where she would be now. She has needed the most parenting of all my children, and homeschooling gave both Gary and I the time needed to do that parenting away from the added stresses and time restraints of school. Homeschooling was so the right choice for her, regardless of how poor she is in maths!

Sorry, that detour took a little longer than I anticipated! Today has been a good day, with the little ones completing their workbooks in double quick time:

Lillie needed to get through her work a bit quicker today as she works on a Tuesday afternoon:

And Charlotte, in her own words, was just plodding through her enormous amount of work. She got up early today to catch up on one or two things from the day before (the interview ate a couple of hours out of her day).

At breaktime, she took the littles down to the shops to stock up on food for the day. I had to get a snap of the younger ones. Yesterday Gary and I and the littles went into our nearby town for some school supplies and had popped into a few charity shops. We were so blessed to find an almost new pair of Vans for Becca (she only owns one pair of shoes and they were getting really tatty), and a coat for each of the girls. Becca’s other coat at home had a broken zip and Abigail is growing out of all the hand me down coats we own. A total of £11 for two coats and a pair of shoes:

Once she’d returned the two youngest made lunch for everyone, including enough egg mayonnaise for Lil and Thomas’ lunch the next day. They boiled the eggs, shelled them, mixed them with mayo and made up the sarnees:

Their sister then left for work, so there was much hugging and squeals that they weren’t going to let her go:

Aww, they do love their sister!

Once she was off, we had lunch and the littles went up to their room for quiet time, whilst I helped Charlotte with her Latin. It is a little like the blind leading the blind and we do have many hilarious yelling matches at each other. I had made the big (huge, massive, never-to-be-repeated-again) mistake of telling the head master at the school that Charlotte was going to school because she had surpassed my own knowledge and intelligence and needed something more..

Every time we butted heads over the Latin translations (which is surprisingly often given neither of us really know what we are talking about, and honestly Latin is not something I ever thought I’d become impassioned over), she would just comment calmly that of cause she was likely to be correct because, as I had mentioned yesterday, she was simply more intelligent than me now…hmmm. Never again will I extol the virtues of Charlotte’s intelligence. Never. Ever.

Just as I was finishing off helping giving moral support to Charlotte whilst she translated Latin, Abigail read about Jupiter to her little sister:

We then made some models of Jupiter:

It was kinda cool to see the relative differences in the size of the earth compared to Jupiter

The girls also did some nice urine work. In our kitchen.

“Hey, mum, mind my urine samples” was not something I ever thought would come out of my ten year old’s mouth. Well, not at the age of ten anyway! I was attempting to cook dinner at the time. Yes. I pity the family too. I may very well get a take away!

And before anyone calls someone to shut down my kitchen, it wasn’t really real wee. I mean it was made up of the same components but it came from a lab and not a living body (or a dead one). So it was all perfectly okay. We don’t need to tell anyone, okay?

Lillie arrived home from work so tired. I ran her a bath, made her drink some water and told her the wonderful news we got today, that her work were willing to send her on a sign language course…

My beautiful girl…she was just a little bit excited! Thanks Lucy, you made my girl’s day!

Last photo of the day is of my littlest up in her room, crafting Valentine’s day cards for everyone. She was humming away happily to herself:

Love my life!!