My desire is to go chasing off downtown to buy more jewelry components, and ignore the morning's math/reading/copywork, or rather leave it all for Geoff. And then take the boys to the homeschool thing in the afternoon. But I am looking outside at the blustery cold grey morning, and thinking that today is probably a good day to stay home and fulfill my family and educational
What I ought to do is to stay home, work with what I already have, and also teach Thomas to write his name, drill Nat in math, and force all my protesting abused children to listen to at least two poems. While I have been writing this, three of the four have trickled downstairs, been fed frozen raspberries and chocolate milk (by their request) and we've read aloud a book about the Hail Mary. So I feel ahead of the game already.
The hard part about all of this staying at home business, and the thing I feel worst about whining about, is the necessary for endless self-discipline. I might feel badly about it, but boy, do I whine! Because I have a jolly self-imposed schedule for the day, full of mostly things that sound onerous on paper and might be differing degrees of onerous in real life- Make Nat Read A Book Aloud, Empty The Dishwasher, Clean Up Ten Spills, Fold The Five Baskets of Laundry, Make Everyone Sit for Grace- and most of it requires not only for me to exercise my own pitiful sense of duty, but also to impose on all of the small shouting people. And that leads to a lot of acedia on bad days, the feeling of an endless horizon of meaningless repeated tasks. And of course that's not true, because the tasks are meaningful. They're good. They mean that people have been fed and clothed and educated, that Miriam now narrates books back and Thomas shouts, "Look! A letter T!" when we're out somewhere.
But the endless dying to self ( Look! A book I could read and ignore the kids! Look, Facebook! Hey, I could put on Team Umizoomi and have forty minutes of guaranteed silence!) is always so much more like dying in tiny ways, and so much less rosy and full of saintly golden glow, than I ever imagined. I hope it's all chipping away at the bad parts of me, and forming me into a better person, and laying down the rails for good character, Because what I often have in my head is Calvin's Dad (from Calvin and Hobbes), shouting, "Calvin, go do something you hate! It builds character."