Recently we learned about earthquakes and read how buildings–especially those in areas of fault lines–are constructed with special foundations so they will be more likely to withstand the Earth’s movement during an earthquake. Pinterest inspired, we decided to construct toothpick and marshmallow structures to test their stability against a jiggly-wiggly Jello ground floor.
I prepared a pan of Jello the night before so it would be set when we were ready for the experiment. Then, after giving the kids a handful of mini marshmallows and several toothpicks, they set to work creating sculptures using a sticky marshmallow as the connectors.
When the structures were finished, they were placed on the pan of Jello which the kids shook back and forth to reenact a violent earthquake. Some structures stood strong, while others quickly toppled under the quake. But it was fun either way, and reinforced the need for building a strong foundation.
While the kids were building toothpick structures and simulating Jello earthquakes, I kept thinking about foundations–particularly my own inner foundation. This is our family’s third year of homeschooling, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned for sure it’s that this is definitely an adventure, with each year presenting it’s own unique challenges.
My Own Shaky Foundation
In our own adventure, there have been days when a child refused to do his math and emphatically claimed going to “real” school would be more “fun.” Days when I acted like a madwoman, taking all the visible toys hostage–only to be returned when an extra chore ransom is paid–because I could no longer stand the mess that comes with staying home all day. There have been days when school was conducted in the waiting room of the doctor’s office, or in the van between errands, or in the evening after daddy could get home and entertain the toddlers. There have been days when morning sickness or exhaustion were so consuming that we called it a pajama and Magic School Bus marathon day.
And even though I knew (when I made my decision to step away from the public school scene) there would be challenges in homeschooling (and anything worthwhile, really!), I often find myself wondering on these difficult days if this “adventure” is really worth it.
These were a few of my thoughts as the kids were doing their marshmallow-toothpick structure activity, and when I realized I was probably learning more from the jiggling Jello object lesson than they were since it was re-confirmed to my mind how important it is to have a solid inner foundation. In this homeschooling journey (as well as many other areas of life), those quakes will come, doubts will arise, and there will be bad days.
Have you taken the time to solidify your reasons for homeschooling (parenting, or any other thing that challenges you)? I’d invite you to write those reasons down, post them somewhere, and refer to them often. Then, when the quakes hit and shake your structure–and they will– your clearly defined foundation will help you stay firm and provide perspective, encouragement, and motivation to keep going.