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Peanut Butter Patio

Peanut Butter Patio

Published: 06/15/2009 by Beverley Rayner

» Testimonials & Experience

Homeschooling -Even when we believe in what we are doing the daily routine can cause us to lose sight of our vision at times. How easy for the big picture to get lost in the routine of laundry, multiplication tables, potty training, and lessons.

My father who has lived with us for many years after my mother passed away was always very involved in helping me during my homeschool years.


We always started our days early in the mornings. The girls would have breakfast and we’d get right down to the business of learning and having fun together. First we would walk down to the marshes and take in the new day while enjoying the exercise.  Back home we covered math, social, English, even Latin root words. We sang geography songs and coloured maps, read books, kept journals, and had the most marvellous discussions. We recited our multiplication tables to music, and made spelling lessons into jumping games.


It wasn’t like a traditional classroom. One discovery would just naturally lead into another, and we would follow where it took us, all learning would merge together, becoming a life style. 


In the afternoons my daughters loved to be entrepreneurs. We lived in South Carolina, so they were most often outdoors. They would find odd jobs to do: attempt to wash cars with mountains of suds,   have ice tea stands, and paint pictures to sell. Krystal rushed home so excited that a neighbour had given her the grand sum of $5.00 for her picture. She was on her way to becoming the next Renoir. 


Another time Rachel came indoors saying “Mom, we need more peanut butter”


“I have two huge jars” I replied “we have more than enough. Do you want to make cookies?”


“No, we need it for our bird feeders. Take a look Mom, the birds will love them!”


And there it was; a patio smothered thick with peanut butter, with my daughters wearing the rest, grinning from head to toe, so proud of their accomplishment. A small amount had made it onto the pine cones that they intended to hang in the trees for the birds.


I was clearing up the kitchen one afternoon after lunch. My daughters were routinely practicing their piano. I stepped out of the kitchen to find them all with my father.  Krystal was singing, whirling around the room, and jumping, (she was always the theatrical one) Rachel and my father were both playing the keyboard together. Two year-old Jocelyn sat on his other side, clapping. I was touched by the scene. I suddenly thought of all the hours that I would be missing if I was out at work, and they were in a regular school. 


Watching them there was one of those moments that I wanted to capture and save always, and the value of what I was doing resounded in me like a roaring yes!   All of us together - three generations working, discovering, and playing. What price can you put on such a time? 


Recently my father, who just turned 80, received a birthday card from Rachel who is learning to be a pilot.  It said, “Happy birthday Granddad, I love you & miss you, I will be home soon, and then we will be ready to take our first flight together.”  He was so thrilled.


The greatest payback we’ve received from our homeschool years is the relationships we have forged. The sound, strong ties of love have carried us through times that I could never have foreseen back then. On that firm foundation  those relationships continue to grow even though our paths are scattered.  I wouldn’t trade them for anything.  v