1. The condition of being uncertain; doubt.
2. Something uncertain: the uncertainties of modern life.
Synonyms: uncertainty, doubt, dubiety, skepticism, suspicion, mistrust
These nouns refer to the condition of being unsure about someone or something. Uncertainty, the least forceful, merely denotes a lack of assurance or conviction: I regarded my decision with growing uncertainty.
I don’t think that I’ve ever prepared for a year with this much uncertainty–not even during our first year. Maybe it was naivete, but I prayed ALOT, did my homework and began to execute, even in the midst of my sister and niece being here to help with a newborn baby. So, this year, as I began to envision what the kids would do, my task was to quit agonizing about what might happen and instead function within what I know right now. With that in mind, I developed our plans. Here are the highlights.
Plans for the youngest were perhaps the easiest to make. I’m much more comfortable with a plan for the fundamentals, even though admittedly, they are not my favorite to teach–too much redundancy. What is most exciting to me is that we will use my curriculum to teach her American History next year. A customer asked me about blog posts that feature the kids using A Blessed Heritage’s products, and it was then that I realized that the last time I taught the children using the elementary product, I had yet to start blogging. Life pre-blogging seems like a long time ago!
The most work I needed to complete for her was to develop a reading list. Though we’ve read some great books over the years, I also wanted to incorporate some fresh reads for the sake of the older two, who often listen in from the adjacent room as they complete their work. Several of her reading selections are Sonlight staples that we have enjoyed, partly because that’s what’s on our shelves. Some of Tanglewood Education‘s selections round out our list nicely with selections that don’t always appear on many homeschooling reading lists, especially in the genres of mystery and science fiction.
If there is one word that defines the time I spend with the older kids,that word would be ‘classics.’ I often talk to the kids about cultural literacy and understanding the context of language past just the words. This is one of the many benefits of being a life-long reader. When their Disney shows start with ‘it was the best of times, it was the worst of times…’ they should have some sense of where those words come from, and what is their significance to the rest of the episode. Our son wrote a brief biography on William Shakespeare in his commonplace book and found out that even seemingly silly comedies like “She’s the Man” (Amanda Bynes, Channing Tatum) and “Deliver Us from Eva” (Gabrielle Union, LL Cool J) are based upon Shakespearean works. By the way, did you know that Shakespeare struggled to consistently spell his own name? How ironically hilarious is that?!!
Our son will begin high school next year, although there are still a couple of areas where he’s at a middle school level. Like the oldest, he will start a year of ancient history using a Great Books curriculum. With our daughter, I definitely learned alongside of her as Homer helped us define the word drudgery together. (Scroll down on this post to see my daughter’s take on Homer and ancient pasttime activities). I am much more prepared for what these classics look like in terms of work schedule and actual “feel,” if that makes sense.
Of course the oldest and her part-time college career present the lion’s share of our uncertainty. Her current summer schedule is such that she’s in school four days per week. My plan would hinge upon her going to school twice per week and then completing work at home in the afternoons. Our first fight regarding my plan was that she wants to be more involved with dance than what I had listed will allow. I am hoping that she’ll recognize the accelerated pace of college and realize for herself that she cannot take on everything that she’s done in the past. Of course, if not, I am prepared to play the spoiler in order to see her succeed in all things (rather than succeeding at dance to the detriment of her academic education). She began class Monday, where she found out that her first paper was due on Wednesday; that was a rude awakening, to say the least.
I hate scratching pieces of the plan that I had for her. It is as much a lesson in pride for me as it is a lesson in letting go, as I discussed in my “Losing Control” post. Before I looked into the Government class at the college, I was busily investigating early American history living books and thinking about reading schedules. Now I am constantly reminded that she will have to learn some things from others with a very different perspective, i.e., worldview, than we have. A friend suggested going over certain aspects at home, and I planned the reading list to do just that, but the reality is that our time will be limited. Between the pace of college, letting her go to dance sometimes so that she has some physical outlet and place to express creativity in that way, and her pace (let’s just say she won’t be accused of not stopping to smell the roses), one-on-one reading is subject to happen more sporadically than I like. I had too many of those experiences this year where we’d pick up a book, then put it down for days, and everyone, including me, would have to get reenergized about it.
Speaking of needing energy, right now we’re moving–slowly–through Don Quixote, the Man of La Mancha. I’ve tried not to “force” school and make the summer boringly academic. But this book is 600+ pages, and not at all the hilarious epic adventure that I remember as a kid. Maybe because my husband once sold pharmaceuticals to psychiatrists, neurologists, etc., the kids have keyed in on poor Quixote’s mental state, and it almost reads like a tragedy to them. I’m going to abridge this one myself so that we can move on.
Anyway, I look at this definition, and though uncertainty doesn’t, in and of itself, sound so bad, there are other words here: doubt and mistrust. Yes, when I list my plans, there is much room for doubt, and I have good reason not to trust in my own abilities. My will gets us limited reward, but I’m looking for more than mediocrity. So I must choose to substitute different words for doubt and mistrust:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.
Proverbs 3: 5-8