reflections after lunch

I had lunch yesterday with my friend Jennifer, a fellow English teacher at Salem State that I’d lost touch with—hadn’t seen her since the end of the semester last spring and hadn’t got around to contacting her after I left last fall. We reconnected a few weeks ago when we both signed up for the same prenatal yoga class, neither of us knowing the other was pregnant!

Jennifer is due in July and it was great to sit and chat with a friend who is also pregnant, though for her this is the second child. Her son, Luc is three. One of the things we talked about was the things people tell you that are either unhelpful or untrue.

As we were talking about how your life changes after marriage and then how it changes after having a baby, she said that after Luc was born she read quite a bit… making her way through the complete works of Jane Austen. I laughed. So many people have told me that once I have the baby I won’t have time to read. But Jennifer and I agree that if you are a reader—as we both are—you read. You find time. True, I’ll have less time than I have now. It will probably be more like the amount of reading I get done during a busy semester when I have plenty of papers to grade and lessons to plan. But not reading at all is just not an option. I suspect that most people who don’t find time to read after their kids are born simply don’t make it a priority. They probably had to stuggle to find time to do so before they had kids too. Whereas for me books are like food: a necessity, not a luxury.

I know things will change and I know that I can’t really anticipate what my life will look like. As Jennifer said, one of the things about having kids is that as they grow their routine changes and your life has to keep changing with it. No sooner do you start to get comfortable with one routine than they enter a new phase and you have to overhaul everything. But then that’s kind of what I like. One reason I enjoyed both being a student and then teaching college is that every semester my schedule would change and I got to develop a whole new routine. And it’s not like Dom and I have been married so long that we’ve had time to develop patterns that will be hard to break. In fact things have been constantly changing for us for the last year or so.

It all comes down to this: everyone is different and though there are some universal experiences, how you handle them will depend on your personality, your expectations, your past experiences, a whole multitude of factors. SO I take any advice I’m given with a grain of salt and listen to people’s stories for information but don’t count too heavily on my experiences being a match for anyone else’s.

 

4 Responses to reflections after lunch

  1. mama_nerd March 28, 2006 at 8:46 am #

    i guess what I see as a parallel is more like the UD core curriculum… that there is a flow among all the subjects that allows for the permeation of Catholic values among all the classes/topics, not an artificial baptism of math problems or reading only saint biographies…

    It is something like that of a parent being involved in kids reading or watching tv or movies generally… that is, these things don’t occur in a vacuum, but they are discussed in the light of literature, as well as of values. That is, don’t just see religious movies, also look at and critically review the values of the movies that are extant. Other wise, the student are shielded from life around them, and then cannot respond to their peers who have just accept these without evaluating their meaning. They need to be guided into critical and faith-valued thinking, not shielded from the popular or classical works just because they are not Catholic.

  2. Jennifer G. Miller May 1, 2006 at 11:53 am #

    This is a great review…your analysis summarizes my feelings exactly. I dont’ agree with Mrs. Clark’s philosophy of a canned curriculum. Homeschooling allows so many more options.

    I have a 2 1/2 year old, so I’m going through the same process of finding the right fit…but I’m finding it should be child-driven and not curriculum driven approach.

    A book and forum I highly recommend would be Real Learning by Elizabeth Foss and the forums here. Her approach is eclectic, but fits her children’s needs—literature based, Charlotte Mason, Montessori, Edith Stein, Classical, John Bosco…. It was an eye opener to read her book and “Charlotte Mason Companion” to see an approach with embraces God’s world.

    BTW, I knew Dom at FUS years ago…maiden name Gregory, so that’s how I came across your blog. Congrats to the marriage and the expected one.

  3. Jennifer G. Miller May 3, 2006 at 8:05 am #

    Melanie,

    I don’t do many forums…but this one has me hooked. I can’t tell how much good I’ve found on it…with information on how to start with my little one, integrating my faith and education in all areas. The women are inspiring and at all different levels and backgrounds. You don’t have to join to peruse and make up your own mind.

    A few other areas to check out:

    Mater Amabilis is a suggested Catholic Charlotte Mason curriculum…strictly following her guidelines, so to say.

    For Montessori ideas, there’s a lot of integration of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. I don’t buy everything, but the reverence and some concepts are wonderful. Browse the Montessori sections of the forum to get some good links and resources. Also check Our Father’s House for some Montessori resources.

  4. Melanie Bettinelli May 3, 2006 at 7:12 am #

    Jennifer,

    Thank you so much for the comment. I’m glad you liked my book review.

    I will definitely look into Real Learning. The web page caught me right away with the mention of Edith Stein, one of my personal heros. The only mentions I’ve seen previously to Charlotte Mason kind of turned me off, but it might have been the take of the person who was citing her rather than Mason’s work, so I’m curious to see Foss’ take. I’m also curious about Montessori as I had a former roommate who taught at a Montessori school, but so far have not seen anyone who writes about incorporating Montessori approaches into a homeschool setting or even a Catholic worldview. I tend to be leery about wading into new forums, have you found the chats to be helpful and is there discussion that is aimed at those of us who are not currently homeschooling but exploring different options, approaches and philosophies?

    Dom recalled you and passed along greetings and congratulations on your own child. I love how his blog (and mine to a lesser degree)continues to connect both of us to old friends and acquaintances from school.

    Please keep in touch and share any good books and links you come across as you explore homeschooling resources. I appreciate good conversation on the topic, especially from people who understand my philosophical approach.

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