There were no math pages posted

We homeschooled our kids. Not for the whole time, and not from the beginning, but we homeschooled. Our daughter had a disastrous first grade year, and I couldn't handle dealing with the Seattle Public Schools anymore, and I couldn't afford private school, and so I brought her home the same year her brother would've been in Kindergarten.

For months, she fought every plan I had, while her brother taught himself to read, via Green Eggs and Ham, which he read at the top of his lungs, lying on the floor upstairs in the hallway, with his top half yelling into the echoing bathroom. That worked out all right. I had my hands full with his sister, Reluctant Student Sally, down at the table near the kitchen. I'm lucky she didn't strangle me in my sleep, considering that I thought we could start the school day promptly at eight in the morning with a flag salute. (To my credit, I did not continue this insanity for very long, and soon discovered that math really could be learned while the student was still in his pajamas, that a routine didn't have to be bound to a bell system, and that a love of learning is the key to the kingdom.)

We didn't set out to do the homeschooling thing. My husband thought it was elitist, and I was trained to teach in classrooms and I was quite worried over test scores and other measures of academic conformity. Besides, most of the homeschoolers I knew back then were too weird for words. The whole idea seemed absurd until our poor daughter had to put up with such a rotten situation as a tiny little first grader. (Okay, she was not all that tiny. That was part of the problem. A girl tall enough to be in third or fourth grade doesn't get cut a lot of slack.)

Maybe because I didn't really want to homeschool in the first place, and maybe because I'm not all that cutesy as a teacher or a learner - whatever the reason, we didn't post kid work all over the main living areas of the house. We did post it. We just didn't let it take over. I have always needed my nest to be a place in which I can completely relax, and I just can't completely relax with wobbly capital and lower case B's and D's adorning the dining room, or while looking at shelves of notebooks and lapbooks and reading books and math books crammed into a living room area. It's too much like living with a perpetual tapping on the shoulder to have all that stuff staring at me all the time. I needed to be able to put it away at the end of the day (huge paper timeline running up the stairway wall notwithstanding).

Then, one by one, the kids turned 16, and each found a way to meet the wider world. Community college and the local high school, jobs, cars, even dates for the social lion of the family. One by one, they've up and left the house where they finished growing up, and now, one by one I've repossessed their rooms.

And now

the whole house

is mine.


Yesterday I brought home my first large painting. It's a Kat Ostrow original acrylic. I love it.

Kat Ostrow is my cousin. We met for lunch at Multnomah Falls, and after lunch, I put this portrait into my car and took her (the portrait) for a ride up the Old Highway to Troutdale because I needed gas. And the gas station is next to Home Depot. And Home Depot carries paint.

This is quite a beautiful painting in person. The employees and customers in Home Depot kept commenting on it as I stood there in the paint department, with the huge canvas leaning against the swatch display so I could match colors.

Now I've unscrewed shelves from the wall across from my desk. I'll move the other books and baskets tomorrow. I'll wash down the wall. When it's dry, I'll paint it a deeply saturated dark aqua color. When that's dry, I'll hang this painting.

This is my office in my house.

This is my painting.

Hanging it has reminded me that I didn't want to be immersed in homeschooling stuff, back in the day. Perhaps the kids themselves needed to be able to put it away as well. So, I've been wondering. Why do I want the constant presence of my inner writer's Muse hanging here in my office? Why do I want to decorate around her? Get appropriate lighting and furniture to make this painting the most important thing in the room, when her very self is a call to work? There were no math pages posted, but a portrait of my Muse is going to be hung tomorrow.

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