Perils of Poetry Study

VERBAL  AM–MU–NI–TION  in their hands, baby.

I’ve been preaching the power of the WORD to my kids.

Words wound.  Words build up.  Words change minds, for the good and the bad.

Our whole creation brought into being by words.

I wasn’t completely sure they were buying it.

A few days ago,  I was nagging . . . ahem . . .  .  gracefully encouraging my Lincoln to abandon his mental lethargy   —– “Wake up, boy, perk up and focus on my brilliant teaching!”

And he responds in his best Southern drawn,  “Hey, ‘my life ain’t been no crystal stair,’ Mama.”

THAT response was powerful enough to instantly dissolve my slight frustration.

Back to school!

Yesterday was our first day back to homeschool —- unusual for us as we have homeschooled year-round in the past, and I had planned on a bit of Shakespeare and writing for this past summer.  But the Guatemela trip and painting and various projects kept us busy, and it just felt right to step away from school for awhile.

The break was good for us.  We were all ready to start back; nobody had be dragged out of bed.  All kids were up and ready to get started Monday morning.  I designed individual planners for each child (exciting!), and we had a bit of chocolate for motivation.

This morning, our 2nd day, I was pleased to see that back- to-school motivation still in full swing.  After breakfast and teeth-brushing, the kids were to meet back at the kitchen table for family school.  Our family school, this year, has taken the form of a psalm reading, scripture memory, prayer, vocabulary fun, poetry study and free writes.  The girls were at the table and ready for family school before the boys.  I was pleased to see them using this wait time to study their vocabulary cards.

It “looks” like Prairie is just playing with 2 cats, but the cats are actually dialoguing about her new vocabulary words.  And it looks like they are previewing a page in the planner I made for her.


Rachel reads her vocabulary cards to her animals.  They are very smart animals.


“You are a terrible mother”

my 15 yo son told me last night.

Both boys were in bed, settled in for the night.  I had just discovered that Sidney had done something he has been told repeatedly NOT to do — a very small thing, that has become an unconscious habit for him and my sweet verbal reminders (for I never nag . . . AHEM) were not fixing the problem.

“What did I tell you would happen the next time I discovered that you had done . . . . .?”  I asked with a devious smile.

“Oh noooooo” he lamented while his brother giggled.

“And Lincoln,” I said, “Lucy has escaped the goat pen.  Did you lock her up in the barn like I asked?”

“Welllll . . . . . .” he hesitated.  “I did lock her in the barn.”

Immediately, I knew the problem.  “Did you also  lay cinder blocks at the gate so she couldn’t dig out?  You know, like I asked you to do?”

“Ummmm . . . no, . . . it was dark and I didn’t feel like . . . .” his voice trailed off.  He knew nothing good would come from trying to talk his way through it.

“Well,”  I said, “you get to join your brother in taking  5 laps around the house.”

Sidney laughed, glad he wasn’t going to suffer alone.

But  I haven’t finished deriving as much pleasure as I can from the situation.  “Since it rained, it is muddy outside.  And since Lincoln did not lock up the dog the way he was told to do, Lucy is out.  She DUG her way out,” I emphasized gleefully.

The boys groaned.  Now, they were getting a clear picture of what it will be like to leave their comfy beds, pull on clothes to run around the house in the dark and wet with an overly exuberant  and large 5- month old muddy puppy running between their legs.

“You are a terrible mother,” Sidney declared.

Lincoln giggled.  Then Sidney’s face cracked and he started to laugh.

Oh, I just love hearing that.  Say it again, please,” I mock-pleaded.

“You are a terrible mother.”

Triumphant, I started to leave their room.  But . . . .   “By the way, every time you run past my windows, yell the number lap you are on.”

“You are a TERR-ible mother.”  Sidney laughed.

“I must be.  Because every time I hand out punishments, you boys don’t really seem to be suffering consequences.  You rather seem to enjoy it.  I must give terrible punishments.”

Moments later, I smiled contentedly as I hear the boys outside running, talking to each other and the pup, yelling their numbers as they run by.

I am truly blessed.

The work of June

Lincoln carries water to the garden.

My little red-haired garden fairies pull weeds.

She even got the root.

A wee little zucchini.

Sidney takes apart pallets to make . . . . . . .

well, I can’t tell you what he is going to make, dear Reader.

It is a secret for everyone except Lincoln, Rachel, Prairie and me.  That leaves Sid out of the loop.  It is kind of a surprise for Sid.

In which they make my heart pound

May has been a very busy month for my men — Sid, Sidney and Lincoln spent 3 weekends roofing houses.  They worked with people from our church and community, a few of whom had real roofing experience, thank goodness.

This lovely old home had a complex roof and 3 layers of shingles, 9 layers in some places. This front side view doesn’t look too high off the ground.

The backside, however . . . . . .

is 3 stories high.  I really don’t know why Hayes and Lily are smiling when the ground is sooo far below them.

One of my favorite pictures —- one in which my offspring is not standing on a steep roof 3 stories off the ground.  No, he is sitting on a steep roof 3 stories off the ground.  Sitting is definitely better.  Sitting slows the pounding of my heart — a small reprieve until he stands again and kicks my heart into high gear.

The irony here is that our own house is 3 stories off the ground on the backside.  A few years ago, Sid crawled up there to install a fan.  I documented that episode in this post, Irritably Thankful.  I decided at that time that I never wanted Sid on the backside of our roof again, and that I would gladly pay professionals to crawl up there when the need arose.

Then I ended up here, with my 15 yo son on a roof just as dangerous.

And I don’t know how or why it happened.  Frankly, it blindsided me.  

But I know it had to happen.  

So trembling, I let my sons do the work of men — hard, dangerous work — so that they can grow to be strong, capable men.

linc on roof

Lincoln, learning roofing skills from Art and Howard, friends from our church.