Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lessons from Heidi

I hesitate to say yet again that I've been struggling with homeschooling this year. You would think that with this being our 9th year of homeschooling I would have settled into my groove and any fear and uneasiness would have long since past. It's hard for me that it seems each year gets more and more challenging for me in terms of the confidence I feel. And then last week during our week at the beach, when I was just able to be "MOM" and not teacher and autism therapist, I really felt a longing to stop homeschooling. I allowed myself to dream what it would be like to have some time to myself during the day, even if I went to work full-time (which I would do if the kids were in school - that income sure is enticing as well); how it would feel to be the "good guy" the kids could complain to about their horrible teachers; how nice it would be to not spend hours upon hours each week planning and prepping for lessons; how nice it would be not to worry about high school credits and how to make them for Austin when he struggles academically; and on and on.

I shouldn't have allowed myself to fantasize like that, because all it did was to make an already difficult re-entry downright miserable and sad. By mid-day Monday, I was fairly convinced that I should call the public schools and get the ball rolling on enrollment for the kids, and finding out what services they would be able to offer that we can't afford on our own.

Monday night I was given a gift in the form of a delightful "narration" of some scenes from Reece's literature book, Heidi by Johanna Spyri. Reece used her playmobil pieces and created these wonderful scenes. In this first one is Grandfather's house, with Heidi sleeping on her hay bed in the loft, Grandfather sitting on his chair that's attached to the wall, and Peter outside with the "goat."

In this picture, you'll see that Reece added the fir trees to the scene.
In this scene, Reece placed the carriage that took Heidi to and from Mr. Sesemann's home.
And this picture shows Heidi and Clara in the study with Miss Rottenmeier.

This was wonderful because the oral narrations Reece has been giving me from this book have been fairly sparse. I've even been wondering how much she understands. But it's obvious from the detail in her play that she is comprehending so well!

Today when I read her another chapter, I found myself deeply moved by a couple of passages. We are in Chapter 14, and Heidi says, "If God had let me come back to you at once, like I had asked in my prayers, none of this would have happened. I should have brought Grannie a few rolls I had saved, but they would soon have been gone, and I wouldn't have been able to read. God knew what was best, just as Clara's Grandmamma said He did, and see how perfectly he arranged everything. I'll always say my prayers after this, as Grandmamma told me to, and if God doesn't answer them at once I shall know it's because He's planning something better for me, just as He did in Frankfurt. We'll pray every day, won't we Grandfather, and we'll never forget God again, and He won't forget us."

My voice choked up as I was reading and my hands were trembling. Then just a few pages later, Grandfather goes up to look at Heidi while she sleeps. She had read to him the story of the Prodigal Son. "Several hours later, when Heidi was in bed and asleep, the old man climbed up to the loft and put his lamp on the ground so that its light fell on her. She lay with her hands folded, as if she had fallen asleep saying her prayers. There was a peaceful, very trusting expression on her face, which moved him deeply and he stood gazing down at her for a long time. Then he too folded his hands, bowed his head, and, in a low voice said, 'Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before Thee and am no longer worthy to be called Thy son,' and down his wrinkled cheeks rolled two large tears."

Well, I lost it there. I cried, yet I made it through the rest of the chapter. But I wasn't able to even ask Reece for a narration. I just sat there with my heart full of emotion. Who knew how wonderful this book was? I knew the basic story, from a Shirley Temple movie, I think. But reading it for myself, sharing it with Reece, is a priceless experience!

As I prepared to write this entry, I looked over the Ambleside Online website to find out if this book was scheduled for Year 1 or Year 2 (since Reece is sort of straddling the two years). Imagine my surprise when it's listed as a Free Reading selection. I wonder how I decided this summer to put it into our schedule, especially at the beginning of the year? Maybe it was on the WTM list for the Modern time period as well, so I bumped it up? I truly don't know. But I'm so glad it's on there, and I'm so glad to be able share it with Reece. And I definitely needed to read/hear the Truth and read this example of faith.

I need to take these little moments and cling to them for my peace of mind.


The Glasers said...

I love this post!

poohder said...

THIS IS SOOOOOOO GREAT! I had a similarly moving experience with the
book ... Where the Red Fern Grows. It made a huge impact on me. Now I want to read Heidi.

Lisa said...

Reading this made me cry! I loved reading Heidi. So encouraging to see Reece's 'narration'. I too have fantasized about putting the kids in school.