Me, Not Them

I have written this post for Latter-Day Homeschooling.  It will be published there today.

One of the biggest changes that has happened in my family since we decided to homeschool, is the change in myself.
My I spent childhood and early adult years learning what I needed to get by and nothing more.  Much to the dismay of my husband, I had no curiosity (I’m so glad he married me anyway).
After I was married, I would occasionally flirt with the idea of going back to school and getting my degree.  A thought no doubt caused by the sickening inadequacy I felt whenever we played Trivial Persuit (not the Star Wars version, I can hold my own in that one).  Or the looks I would get from others when I would ask questions like “what is the BBC?”  Oh, and I must never forget the time that I refused to eat crab apple jam because I was once told they were poisonous!
I could go on an on about embarrassing instances where my lack of knowledge was brought to light.
I wanted to know more, but not because I cared much about it, but because I didn’t want to look or sound stupid.  I became a wonderful parrot.
Once we decided to homeschool it all changed.  A-mazing!  I don’t know if it was the weight of responsibility of educating my young ones, I don’t know if it was because I was starting from the beginning and was therefore able to learn from simple curriculum (with a preschooler and first grader) or if it was the whisperings of the Spirit that caused it.  Maybe a combination of all three, but whatever the cause I had a “mighty change of heart”.  Has this happened to anyone else?
I am no longer content with staying where I am.  I yearn to grow.
My enthusiasm was somewhat dampened by my pregnancy, but once I recovered from my son’s birth, I was rarin’ to go once again.
I have thirst for knowledge.  And I just love to drink up as much as I can.  While in the past, I may have wanted to spend money on movies, going out to dinner, clothes or other such things, what I most want now are books.  Books, books and more books.  Or rather, ANYTHING that forces me to think.  Occasionally I will pick up something that is well beyond my comfort level and my brain is so tired after I read it.  But it feels SO good!  I may not completely understand everything that I read, especially things that were written long ago, but because I made it through, next time I will understand a little bit more.
A few years ago, Matt’s parents gave him a cutout from a magazine that we have had on our refrigerator ever since.  It is a quote from the author/journalist Anna Quindlen that says
“I would be the most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.”
Now I know what it really means.  It’s not about books or bookshelves (as gorgeous as they are), but about knowledge and having a never ending love for learning.
I am a changed woman.  Last week when my children and I were coming home from our run/bike ride I saw a large, bright bug crossing the road.  Instead of being creeped out and taking a wide berth, I called the kids over and we investigated.  I was expecting some sort of beetle but it was the most amazing looking spider!  Bright orange and furry looking body with black legs, it was also slower then your average spider and it’s legs held it’s body far up from the ground.  I am DYING to know what kind of spider it was!  I looked on the internet but couldn’t find anything about it.  I actually want to find another one (outside of course) so that we can catch and observe it.
The other day while in the Sam’s Club parking lot I saw a huge ant hill with hundreds of ants walking in perfect lines to look for food.  Again, I called the kids over to look.  We talked about how ants don’t follow each other with their eyes but they follow the chemical trail placed by the ant before it.  Then I reminded them of the movie “A Bug’s Life” and the scene when a leaf dropped on the trail and the ant screamed “I’m LOST!” and we had a good laugh.
A year ago I would have shivered with the willies and walked away quickly never taking my eyes off of them (to make sure they weren’t following me).
When the September rolled around and a new season of television started, I felt my old past time of TV watching to be a burden rather then something to look forward to.
My husband gave me a wonderful compliment recently.  I was mentioning to him how I wish we could afford to get all of our chosen math and history curriculum at once, because I wanted to go back and learn all that I had forgotten and then what I never got around to learning later.  Matt (who is brilliant by the way) just beamed at me and said that I had all of the makings of a scholar.  I was pleased of course, but a little confused.  This was coming from a man who spends his spare time doing advanced calculations in his head and trying to draw out the chemical composition of whatever he’s thinking about at the moment.  When I asked what he meant, he responded that all you need is to WANT to learn.  And that it is the desire that sets me apart.
Big ugly fish still creep me out though.  Even in pictures.  It’s weird I know.

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