Tabula Rasa?

Friday, November 30, 2018
I've been sitting here staring at the same cup of tea for twenty minutes, gently twirling the string connected to the tea bag, watching the colorful herbs swish around with the movement. I have on my mom jeans and a comfy sweater and I've barely brushed my hair. The weather has been a bit gloomy causing some degree of stir-crazy that can easily become a problem if I let it. I've wondered what to do with this space. Is it a place to document our studies? Perhaps, but if that's the case- what a lousy job it's doing. No, I think it's a place for me to openly discuss the dialogue in my head, both good and bad.

The last time I wrote here, I was coming off of a high from attending my first ever homeschool conference. I was feeling inspired, capable, and excited. Those feelings come and go throughout the week regularly, rarely ever lasting for a full five day school week. Sometimes, it's a daily change. I'll wake up in the morning feeling like we can handle this task of learning at home and I'll pace the door by afternoon wondering when my husband will get home so I can tell him it's time to send these kids... anywhere really.
It's strange, but I think that's just motherhood in general. We question our decisions sometimes, always seeking what's best for our children. For the most part, though, our homeschool is going well. The rhythms we're creating here give me hope. It wasn't that long ago that I felt like we were barely surviving, but now so many days I see us thriving. We aren't just making it through the day. We're learning to sew, to write, to be kind, or to help with household chores. We're studying different countries and cultures and creating our own right here in East Tennessee. We do math, geography, music, art, language arts, history, and more but the greatest benefits have been the togetherness and developing camaraderie that I know I'll never look back on and regret.
My background is in psychology. If you've ever studied Psych, you've probably pondered whether nature or nurture is supreme. You probably were asked about the notion of Tabula Rasa, the idea that individuals are born as blank slates that we can fill up. It wasn't until I became a parent that I realized how vain that all sounds. I can write all I want all over my children but if God wants them to be a computer programmer after I toss out all our technology, He'll accomplish it. If I forget to teach them math and a kid becomes an engineer, it's because that's the role they were supposed to fill all along. These children are people, born with certain personality traits, learning styles, challenges, and talents that were ordained by God. My job as their mother and teacher is to study them and find out what I can do to help them each along individually. Ultimately, God is in control of all of this. I know because He called me to it. He hasn't left me to handle it on my own and on hard days I can cling to that.
The blank slates I thought I had when they were babies are teaching me more than I ever thought possible. They aren't blank slates at all. This year alone they've reminded me to slow down, to savor, to dream. They've taught me that it's okay to be different. It's okay to be a little wild and to venture away to try something new. As the advent season comes upon us, I hope to take more time to listen to the environment in our home, to read excellent books, to cuddle by the fire when it's cold out, and to remember why we were put on this earth to learn and grow.

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