One of the best sounds in the world - as a mom and an educator - is the pleadings of children saying, "Just a little more? Please???" after I reach the end of a chapter. Tonight it was especially urgent because we're reading Sarah Witcher's Story by Elizabeth Yates, where a young girl, Sarah, gets lost in the woods and the entire community is searching for her. We had already stretched the book over several sittings and their emotions had just about had it, I think. So, of course we read just enough to know they were going to find her and then everyone could manage to sleep.
In the this competitive and high traffic world, we all just want to do well, to feel normal and not get left behind. So we try to do more, go more and ultimately be more, but then we forget how much is gained in the slowness. The one curriculum that we have used consistently since J started is My Father's World and, like a lot of homeschool curriculum, read aloud books are a standard practice. My sensitivity to pressure (of any kind) causes me to get caught up in worry about to-do lists and doing enough. So things like reading together takes time that the shameful side of me says could be used to clean something. But of course I know better. Having my big 7 year old and the whippy 4 year old clinging to me out of fear and excitement about the fate of a character in a book is far more valuable and steadying than a clean sink or organized closet. This thing we're doing as parents - shaping their hearts toward the world and toward God is such a huge thing. When your back aches and eyes droop from the exhaustion of it all, it is easy to forget what it's for.
Another thing that this year has brought has been more puzzles. Nobody is pregnant in our house, no huge renovation projects are in process, and it's just too cold and dark after dinner to do much else. So, our brains are getting a little exercise and our pace is soothingly slowed. There's something to be said for slowing life down a bit. :)