Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The One Inch Picture Frame

Wow, I have a lot of catching up to do!  It's been a week since I last posted but it feels like a month.  I've missed everyone so much.  Part of the delay was caused by my ignorance of the new blogger thingamadoodle...I did not understand how to find comments or see posts in the reader.  Today is the first time that I've been able to see that you have visited.  Thank you so much for all the kind things you continually say.  Honestly I cried today, just now, while pressing the "publish" button.  That sounds so sentimental and sappy, but it's true.  I'm here sniffling and smiling because I have such awesome blogging friends.

Yesterday we went back to school.  During the first hours I had surges, tidal waves of insecurity about teaching homeschool.  I wondered if this journey is a completely arrogant decision.  How do I dare to believe that I can provide a solid education that's not based on whimsy and intuition?  I actually felt weak, afraid and nervous.  I felt these waves of doubt despite the fact that I've discovered a wonderful curriculum that meets and exceeds national standards.  Never mind that this year we spent time creating a beautiful classroom with a chalkboard that I made, a classroom with maps of the world, a room with a big table and a science lab, a room with colorful lanterns that hang from the ceiling.  It's a happy space with a cat and a dog to keep us company.   Despite being prepared and planning for a good year, I kept wondering about this one question:  if Elliot doesn't thrive and learn with my guidance then what?  I could send him back to regular school but I don't want to just yet.  I kept thinking about the whole long journey of school, from kindergarten to senior year.   It was too much.

I was not thinking about the one inch picture frame.

In Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott writes about a tool she uses for wriggling out of writer's block.  She keeps an empty one inch picture frame on her desk.  When she glances at this prop, she remembers that to get started she only needs to fill a once inch frame.   She can go forward with the writing of her stories and books just by filling this one inch frame with a character description, or a scene in a park.  The important thing is that she begin the actual writing.

 And so today as we go back into our classroom I'm going to remember to teach this way.  A single one inch picture frame at a time.  We will examine small things closely, together...and take our time.  There are so many words to learn to spell but we will do them one at a time.  No need to worry if it takes all year.

 I am also about to have some very good news about the writer/illustrator workshop.   To this date there is a contract being drafted with my name on it.  I'm very excited but am trying not to act like a kid on Christmas Eve. 

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