Monday, September 6, 2010

The Lessons Born of Adversity~~Homeschooling through Tragedy

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(the original of this is being posted on Latter-day Homeschooling on Sept 6 2010)

My Christmas Tree goes up on September 1.

“Are you crazy”, you may ask?  Well, yes, I suppose, according to some. When I was asked for the story of why I do this, I explained it as thus,

“ I love Christmas Trees. I do. They cheer me, bring me joy, lift my spirit. Back when I was a normal person who worried about, or even considered social norms, our family used to wait until the first weekend of December to put up the tree (Having children on the Autism spectrum taught me to throw social norms out the window).
But, the year came when I just couldn't wait until December, so we put it up just before Thanksgiving. Then the next year the kids started asking for it in October (I am easy to convince on this subject), so up the Christmas Tree went, just before Halloween,  and it remained our tradition for years after.  It stayed up until, oh, February..March…April…t
he Holiday is just too lovely to enjoy for only one month.

When we moved to Arkansas, truly, “normal” became only a setting on a washing machine. My husband was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.  As far as I’m concerned, the person who is not going to recover from an inoperable brain tumor gets everything they want, so on September 1, 2004,  8 months before my husband died , he asked for the tree to go up rather than wait till the end of October. So up it went; anything to bring him peace and contentment in his adversity.  As one of my sisters said, “It was Christmas every day until he died. “
So, now, my friends, it goes up when the time feels right.

Merry Christmas!! God bless us, every one!
 

My family has, indeed, evolved into something a little different.

Homeschooling also changed drastically during my husband’s illness.  Some people counseled me to put my children in public school (ACK!) so they could get away from it.  Well, I saw things differently.  Their father was not going to recover from this and I was not going to take away what little time they had left with him, to put them in a place that could not even accommodate their needs.  We pulled together more, focused on our family, on service, and love. 

I don’t remember much about the academics during this time, but my gang learned about occupational therapy by helping their father through his exercises.  They learned about selflessness.

They learned about the Spirit of the Law, that though their mom couldn’t go to church on Sunday because of dad’s illness, she worshipped at home and in her heart. When dad couldn’t join us at the table anymore, we had dinner in the living room, where his hospital bed was. 

They learned about selflessness through service because of the people who came to pick up them for church and bring them back home~~and we live 14 miles out of town from our church building.

They learned that you plow through difficult times, you keep going, that we live on the love and care of the Lord.  He holds you up if you allow Him.

They learned flexibility, that’s it’s okay to give the person with a brain tumor Yellow Cake with Cherries on top for breakfast if that’s what they want.  Or Hamburgers and French Fries.  You can eat it with him. 

My children read to their father.  They had been accustomed to being read to, but they learned to take the responsibility, the initiative, to read to someone else.

They learned that sometimes the dying have to be told, through a Priesthood blessing, that’s it’s okay to go, that the responsibility is going to be passed on to the Lord and He takes His responsibilities seriously.

Some days, school was reading aloud to their father, watching School House Rock videos, or gospel based movies, playing Math Blaster on the computer, keeping dad company by watching old black and white TV shows, or spoon feeding him when he couldn’t hold his own spoon anymore. Without fail, though, we began our day with Family Scripture and prayer.  We still went to 6 am Seminary, holding tight to the Gospel of Jesus Christ through our adversity.

What they learned of traditional, temporal, academics; maybe not so much. What I know they learned; priceless, eternal and worthy to be called “Treasures in Heaven.”

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What Sept 1, 2010,  looked like at my house.

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