Sunday, March 17, 2013

Life and butterflies

Sorry to have disappeared for a bit.  Our last two months were filled with a lot of things-- travel, snow, holidays, illnesses, celebrations, and of course homeschooling.  I also finally finished painting all the wooden furniture as a protection against future mold.  While I prefer the color of natural wood, I will admit that I am really liking the bright new colors.  Lime green and turquoise make me smile.

In my last post I mentioned a possible move on the horizon.  In the end, we decided not to take the job offer up north.  Making decisions about our future is often agonizing-- weighing all the pros and cons, ifs and whats.  I often feel like we're living in some alternate retelling of the Grimm's tale The Fisherman and His Wife as we weigh things like cost of living, location, homeschooling environments, and lovelier views over the landscape.  And where does it all stop?

I'm not going to deny that, like the fisherman's wife, I have often wished I could control the rising sun.  However, I don't think this makes me any different from the other people on this rainy island.  At the end of winter we're all a bit sullen and desperate for warm sunshine.

As luck would have it, these early days of March have been quite sunny.  The kids and I are loving sitting in the sunshine every morning.  It's a bit blinding at times, but I'm not complaining.  I feel like a bear unfurling from her wintery sleep.  It's amazing how a few days without clouds can be so rejuvenating.

Inside this den, my days have been so busy.  Homeschooling my three has definitely become more than a full-time job.  I know that others manage to homeschool even more children than I have and still find time to blog, but for the life of me I can't figure out how they do it.  I have some theories (mostly involving gremlins), but suffice it to say that I wish I had more time in the day to share the wonderful things that are happening over here.  These children continually leave me awestruck by their growing minds and abilities.

We've also taken a couple of field trips with the not-quite-local homeschooling group.  One of which was to the little butterfly house in Stratford-upon-Avon.  I'm not sure what I loved more-- seeing all the amazing butterflies or being so warm that I had to take off my sweater.  It was a nice change!  The last time that happened we were in Italy.

This is the life!

Speaking of change, there is more of that afoot.  I'm reminded of a card my mother-in-law gave me while we were sorting and packing for our move to Switzerland five years ago.  It said, "If nothing ever changed, there would be no butterflies." --Our lives are so full of transitions, I think of that card fairly often.

Einstein recently received some grant funding that necessitates a temporary move to Italy for some unknown quantity of time this summer, and he has also been invited to apply and subsequently interview for another job-- this time on the mainland.  It's almost funny.

All of these transitions definitely make me think about butterflies-- do they know what's happening when they closet themselves up?  Are they cognizant of their own form metamorphosing... of what their future holds?

I watched some of them emerge bleary-eyed and soggy from their chrysalises, and they didn't quite seem to have it all together.  I can relate to that.  Some of them found a perch where they could drip dry, but some of them didn't.  They fluttered about in a wild panic, but were weighed down by their damp wings.  They hit the stone walkways with an inaudible whack and just lay there stunned by their own predicament.  One minute they are a fat caterpillar, the next minute they're stewing in their own soup.  And next thing they know? They are airborne into a completely different creature. What am I?  Where am I?  What has happened to me?

Again, I can relate.  Moving overseas with children has some stinging similarities.  So I hung around the chrysalis cage for awhile and gingerly picked up my fallen comrades.  Not all of them were going to make it, but a few of them gave it another try.  They latched onto a branch and hung there in stunned silence, feeling the heat warm the last few drops of soup from their bright wings.

My own wings have finally dried out after this last move, and it definitely shows.  We have been getting a ton of homeschooling done lately-- meaningful, artistic work that leaves me speechless at times.  In our enthusiasm we are making huge progress.  It's the kind of progress one can only make in times of complete stability.  Who knows how long that will last around here, so we're making the most of it...

Kind of like these cute ants.  Steadily onwards.


  1. Dear Sara, I do enjoy reading your blog, so I'm so glad you managed to find some space between the moves and illnesses and painting et al. Yes, I don't know how people find the time to blog whilst homeschooling several children (particularly Waldorf). I am in awe that they can even do that many main lessons, let alone blog about it - but I'm so thankful that they do! A wise mother once told me that having more children didn't take any more time than having just the one, either way they take all your love and attention, so I guess that's true of homeschooling too.

    I can certainly relate to what you write about moving and needing time to dry your wings and adjust to who you are now. I have struggled against many things since we moved country 5 years ago, and it has only been in the last year that I have begun to feel, "Yes, here I am, this is not how I thought things would be for us, but it's OK, and I'm actually happy!"


    ps I laughed when I saw your label for this post: life vs homeschooling :0)

    1. Thank you, Cathy. It does take a while to really settle oneself into a new reality. It never turns out the way we expect it to, does it?! But if we can find ourselves happy at the end of it, then really, that's all that matters. I'm so glad you're happy where you are! That's no small feat!

  2. Hi Sara,
    I homeschool 3 grades-aged children as well (and have an almost 4 year old to boot!). This is my first year presenting three different main lessons and I am finding that homeschooling is definitely taking up a good portion of the day! I go back and forth- wondering if we should continue on this path or take a more unschooly approach for my own sanity! Waldorf homeschooling has its challenges for sure. I would love to hear more about how you weave homeschooling into your day (your posts have always been an inspiration for me so thank you for posting when you can!).

    1. Thank you for such a sweet comment, Tanya. Sanity really is underrated! Homeschooling really is a juggling trick of sorts. I probably don't do anything differently than you do, but I will add it to my list of blog topics. :)

  3. Good to hear from you here again! Beautiful field trip and words. I hope life will be steady and calm for a while.

  4. Sara, what a beautiful, beautiful post! I think if you ever decide to write a memoir about these years, it will be a best seller. I also think that some people who homeschool more than 3 may not take as much time and care as you do with them. Heck, I only have 2 and I know for a fact that I give my kids (or homeschooling) the kind of loving, detailed attention that you give yours.

    Thank you for sharing those wonderful butterfly photos! They make me happy. The one with the butterfly in the iguana's butt cracked me up.


    1. Thank you, Teresa. You are so sweet! I thought the iguana was great, too. It makes you wonder what he (and those butterflies) were thinking. :)

  5. You use the word speechless, your message leaves me speechless, too! Beautiful!
    Will all of you go to Italy?

    1. C, thank you for such a lovely comment! Yes, if everything works out, we will all be going to Italy. Right now we are awaiting news about our temporary housing. I am crossing my fingers that it works out.

  6. Well I can just imagine what beautiful homeschooling has been accomplished. And I hope you are still soaking up lots of good sun! Wow, Italy, I look forward to hearing more. (And I wish you luck keeping sane, If that's what you want...) Love to you Sara!

    1. Thanks for the love, Renee. I appreciate your sweet words so much. And who doesn't want to be sane? ;)


Thank you for taking the time to leave a message. I appreciate your sweet words so much!

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