I hadn't realized until today how much each of us (children and adults alike) crave true friendships. After starting school in mid July, my children and I have been focused on getting in our routine and discovering how we all have school together here each day.
For GMan, he was used to attending preschool five mornings each week, and it was a very enriching environment for him. We were so sad when his preschool days ended. His is a social butterfly (to put it mildly) and I know he misses the day to day interaction with children and teachers. Miss B had left all of her "school" friends about six months earlier, when we pulled her out of school. Although she just had a couple of very close friends, I know she has missed seeing so many children on a day to day basis. Then there is mom (well, who ever thinks of mom, really?!?!).... I love interaction with people. You could say I'm a people person. I always had so much of that when my children were in school - through other moms, carpool lines, volunteer commitments, etc.... Couple all of this with leaving our church home, it has been a tough adjustment for our entire family. I think over the past several months all of us have been feeling a bit of a void. The only one seemingly unaffected was dad, simply because he has an abundance (he might say an "overabundance") of human interaction at work each day. I know, however, that he is affected because he sees that we have been struggling.
So today was our first day of Voyagers Co-Op, and what a tremendous blessing today was - and I can tell it will continue to be a blessing throughout the year. When we arrived each of the children stuck fairly close to me, but after seeing some friends they knew from swimming lessons they each warmed up. Several moms greeted us (I had a star on my name tag which designated me as a "newbie".) By the time the opening assembly finished they each went to their classes without hesitation. My daughter was even happily chatting with a few other girls who were happy to show her the ropes.
After teaching in the first hour of classes, I returned to the assembly area and sat with my friend I had been teaching with. We had such a nice chat and got to know each other better. I also had the opportunity to meet several other moms and felt such a warmth and camaraderie! I left today feeling that homeschooling moms are truly the most helpful, caring, and compassionate group of women I have had the pleasure to be a part of in my life thus far. God really knew what my children and I needed, and provided it. Last year I prayed for this time to come, and after a lot of character building and time for me to get reacquainted with my children, it did indeed arrive. How has it taken me almost 40 years to really TRUST God?
Back to Co-Op.... the kids LOVED it. Miss B came out with a tee-pee (from Kaya, the American Girl) and her first batch of homemade soap. GMan came out talking to me all about his math class and how they started a fall craft and had cupcakes, too. I came out refreshed, and so pleased that we are finally starting to find our way in this crazy thing called homeschooling.
After Co-Op was over we raced to Miss B's piano lesson and then I decided to take the kids to McDonald's for an early dinner. Dad was at a work function and wasn't going to be home. On the way there I decided to call my dear friend, Karen, who will be leaving with her husband and son this Sunday for China - to adopt their precious son, Noah. I know she probably couldn't spare the time to come, but after asking her to join us she said her son really needed the time with friends, and I know she needed it, too.
Karen and her family have been such an inspiration to us, not to mention great friends. Her little boy and GMan are the best of buddies, and Karen and Miss B have a special connection. We let the kids play and she and I chatted for close to two hours, knowing this would be the last time we could get together like this before the trip to China. If you are interested, you can follow their journey on Karen's blog, or even on Micah's blog! I can't wait and feel like I am vicariously going to China with them!
Looks like this turned into a whole post about the value of friendships... which when it comes to life seems just as important as the academics of homeschooling. Today my children had a huge lesson in friendship. Yes, they each did their math, handwriting, history, science, and finding prepositional phrases (so much fun, right?), but it seemed secondary to what else was going on in the day.