Homeschooling family values

Mouse and grandpaJust after Thanksgiving, my dad hurt his back.  Small piece of advice: Never get injured over the holidays when your regular doctor just left the practice.  To make a long story short, he ended up losing feeling in his leg and by the time someone finally saw him, the doctor was upset he hadn’t been immediately admitted to the emergency room.  As he went into surgery, he was given a twenty percent chance of spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair and a strong likelihood of never completely recovering the use of his leg.

Much to everyone’s delight, two days after surgery he had already recovered more than the doctor had hoped he would after a week of physical therapy so he was released early.  While he was quite happy to be walking already, he was also obviously a bit stir crazy.  He had a month off work with nothing to do but fret about what would happen if he were to fall and to try to entertain himself with Sudoku and the endless channel offerings of U-Verse.

So I offered up my ten year old daughter who about hit the ceiling with excitement when I told her she was going to go babysit grandpa for a week and a half while he recovered.  She began planning activities ranging from puppet shows to building model airplanes and collected some recipes in order to cook some meals for him.

I began collecting materials for her to work on.  Things educational that she could nonetheless accomplish on her own with nothing more than the direction to go do them.  A bit of spelling.  Some math practice.  Some reading.  I was contemplating whether or not I should send along some history of some sort when I realized that I was missing something larger than the schedule I feel hopelessly behind on.

After all, this is part of why we homeschool:  family.

What greater lesson could she learn than service to those around her?  What greater memories could she build than in spending such a special time ministering to someone she loves?  And what lessons were in any of those books and worksheets that couldn’t be made up later?

I’m learning.  But the impulse is still there and can be frighteningly strong at times.

Oh, and after she came home, we let her purchase another life lesson with her savings and (quite) a bit thrown in from mom and dad.

Beagle puppy

Clarification: That photo of the adorable little bundle in my dad’s arms is an old photo.  That little L. E. Fant will be two in April.  I just couldn’t find any other pictures with my Mouse and my dad together.

0 comments
  1. Mrs. C

    Wow, I linked you for FREE on my blog, too. How exciting for you!

    I was looking for your family blog link when I saw that bundle in Grampa’s arms. I’m hoping you and baby are well and imagine you are just de-linking for a bit for family privacy.

    God bless you. I’m glad your father is recovering so nicely.

  2. Dana

    Ok, a bit of clarification here. That is an old picture. That baby will be two in April. It is just the only picture I could find of my eldest and my dad. 🙂

    Thanks for the well wishes, anyway. This baby is due for an ultrasound today because the OB isn’t happy with his growth.

  3. Dana Hanley

    Between holidays, worrying about the OB not being happy and trying to start a rather major project y’all be hearing about shortly, my poor little blog has been rather neglected of late. Planning to be back to regular posting now.

  4. ChristineMM

    Thanks for sharing this lovely story. it is one of my favorite posts of yours ever. The personal stories you share touch me more than your commentary on current news stories about homeschooling. I would like to share my bold opinion that I wish you would make time to blog on topics like this (or even to spend time writing private writings that we may never see) and if that means less blog posts published with commentary on the latest homeschoolilng news story then so be it. You are a good writer and perhaps the quote discussed today at Handmade Homeschool applies? See here: http://handmadehomeschool.wordpress.com/2009/01/06/a-quote-and-a-question-6/

    I have been trying to formulate my own thoughts on this topic into written pieces, regarding my kids and homeschooling and how my husband and I have helped sick and dying relatives and how those experiences have intertwined with homeschooling lessons and defined our family life and our values. It is not easy for me to write about since often the entire subject is coated with deep emotion (mourning a death, adapting to seeing someone dying from Cancer and changing etc.).

    Thanks again for this post Dana.

  5. Crimson Wife

    Oh, I can *SO* sympathize with having one’s OB concerned about the baby’s growth. I’ve been going for non-stress tests twice per week and ultrasounds every 2 weeks for a while now. All because my baby is measuring small. Doesn’t matter that I’m petite from a long line of relatively small individuals. Doesn’t matter that my older two were only 6 lbs. 10 oz. at 41 wks and 5 lbs. 12 oz. at 39 wks. Ugh!

  6. Jay

    Awesome post, Dana. I can’t count how many times we’ve reflected on the importance of a complete education; you summed it up beautifully.

    When will you be writing a book? 🙂

  7. Julie

    I started homeschooling because Marissa wasn’t thriving in a public school environment. God willing… I will home school David and Beverly because I have found a tremendous benefit comes from living off the public school schedule.

    And, a dog to love… what could be finer?

  8. Dana

    My first book will come out some time after I write it. Who knows, maybe not so far off. 🙂

    Crimson Wife, this little tacker may hover your littler one beat soon. I’m not quite 34 weeks and already he is estimated at 5lb 30z. Everything checked out perfectly normal so I’m happy!

    Julie, I think that is common for our reasons for homeschooling to change with time. Or at least to find benefits that we might not have considered when we started.

  9. T F Stern

    The time spent with your father will be some of the best schooling she may ever get. When Lucy’s dad spent some time with us after surgery, my son got to learn all about WWII and developed a love of history and the Navy that he otherwise would not have gained.

  10. Dana

    And thank you, Christine. That means a lot to me. OK, so the easiest way to flatter me is to say something nice about my writing. 🙂 I didn’t mean to skip over your comment yesterday…I guess just having thought about it while we were out I forgot I hadn’t ever actually answered it.

    It is hard to write about personal things like that, especially when there is strong emotion attached. And even though we filter what we actually write about, we still feel everything regardless of how much or how little we choose to share.

    I do have a more personal blog if you are interested in that, although it is more focused on the small pleasures of family life and not so much on homeschooling directly.

    It is funny that you bring this up. The blog started as more as a place to reflect on beginning homeschooling and a place to share what we were doing on a regular basis, hence the title Principled Discovery. I sort of got bored with it as I got more comfortable homeschooling and a little self-conscious of the number of emails I received asking for advice when I was brand new to homeschooling myself. Recently I’ve been missing that a little, I guess because there is a lot going on in our home right now.

  11. Dana Hanley

    It is nice, isn’t it? Especially for making doctor appointments. I know I read from a lot of people who get upset when the doctor assumes they have time during the day because they homeschool, but doctors probably do that to them because of people like me. I always tell them we homeschool so I’d prefer during the day before everyone else is out of school. So much less time wasted in the waiting room that way!

  12. ChristineMM

    Dana I just nominated you with BlogHer to be the BlogHer blog of the week. This is a new feature where any reader (or blogger) can nominate a BlogHer blogger who is a good writer. As the rules state the topic can be serious or fun, text or photo or illustrated. Check here for details in case you or your readers feel that a favorite blog of yours deserves a nomination.

    http://www.blogher.com/nominate-blogher-week

  13. Cathy Nagle

    What a “wonderful” story! It is so important to keep our children in touch with with Grandma & Grandpa, and in this case (EVEN BETTER) to take part in caring for them in their time of need! Oh that is such a big part of my heart! It thrills me to read this! It’s so important!

    The *look* on her face hugging the puppy is PRICELESS! If one were to peek in my back door, that’s usually the way you will find me, hugging are doggie like that! =D What a great read that brightened my day!

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