Ack! 2019 went by without a squeak from moi … but then, who really cares? This blog is just one of a billion voices out there. Still, writing down activities and thoughts for posterity enables one to
record track his or her growth through time if not space.
Ha, ha … growing my waistline
through space horizontally has definitely been one of yours truly’s achievements this year … a far cry from my youngest son’s accomplishment which is so, so impressive that our breakfast conversation three days ago left me dumbfounded.
Son: I think I’m finally getting the hang of implicit differentiation.
Me: Oh dearie, it’s really too bad your school won’t let you take a vacation.
Son: Huh? What are you talking about? This is something I’m studying on my own.
Me: (shocked into silence, thinking) “Did this guy actually come out of my womb?”
Son: Hmmm (shrugging his shoulders) … there’s not much to do besides video games. I’d rather study something instead of just indulge in games.
May I add that …. This. Is. The son. Who was supposed to go to Germany this summer for a language immersion program to prepare him for C2 proficiency prior to entering university. Who also complains that he has cleaned his bedroom and the toilet. To which I reply “Yeah, but our visitors can’t see what you’ve cleaned and we need to clean what visitors will see.” Who is washing the dishes right now.
Ok, enough of proud-mama-bragging. This pandemic lockdown has actually given me adequate time to indulge in all sorts of studies, though none require such mental calisthenics as AP-level Calculus. But it sure felt like my rusty grey cells were doing somersaults when I attended an orientation by the Dubai Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Deparment for its 10-month Arabic course. May I just say that — being an introvert –I’ve always shied away from challenges and since this looks like one, it could be the chance of a lifetime to prove to my kids that their mother can also look a challenge in the eye without blinking.
Tough words, those. The truth is my eldest told me “Mom, learning a language is peanuts compared to learning Finance! I’m going to fail!” Now. I’ve been continually amazed at what my children have accomplished. I mean, they must have inherited SOME genes from me …. so if they can do it, it follows that I should be able to do it, right?
The other truth is that Arabic learning is the only thing I’ve ever attempted on my own several times in my past life and utterly failed. I can’t even give the excuse of lack of time; my brain just can’t wrap itself around reading from right to left script whose vowel sounds are indicated by marks on top or below an alphabet. Spanish seems so easy even though yo no habla Español. Maybe this time will be different, who knows?
Anyway, Arabic isn’t the only subject that I’ve dug into during the lockdown. I also attend two online bible studies weekly that, coupled with YouTube videos of sermons by John MacArthur and Voddie Baucham plus book readings, have greatly enlightened me on certain aspects of Scripture that were previously not well defined for me. (More on that in another post. Suffice it to say for now that I have seen the light why Dietrich Bonhoeffer could not succeed in his plan to assassinate Hitler. In Christianity, where suffering is a given, the end never justifies the means.)
Learning on my own, though, takes a backseat to the YouTube videos I watch as part of lesson planning. They are a lesson in themselves. For grade 7 Social Studies, which focuses on Asian Studies, we’ve looked not only at the physical geography of the Middle East and the peculiar features of Iran and Lebanon … we’ve actually explored the relationship between the two and how Iran is waging a proxy war against Israel via Hezbollah in Lebanon. As an aside, do you know that Iran’s parliament has a Jewish representative? Not sure if this is how Deped envisioned grade 7 Social Studies to be but, but … how else to make our lessons relevant than to tie it up to current events? I mean, what’s the point?
In fact, YouTube has taken over the teaching role in our homeschooling. I give assignments to develop the skills that are my goals for my child to master. YouTube takes care of content and knowledge delivery. This, of course, means that I have to preview videos prior to watching them with my child. It’s not an odious task because there usually are more videos I want to watch than there is time.
Meanwhile, I have to go and clean up the clutter caused by my artistic longings. Which doesn’t actually reflect what I really, truly want to learn. It’s a paradox but it’s true — the one thing I dearly desire is usually the last thing I do. Take the shorts I wear. For more than fifteen years I’ve worn the same type of cheap shorts which isn’t so bad really. Except that I detested them.
Now, it’s watercolor painting. The hubby hates the sound of this fabulous YouTube painter whose tutorials I find to be so informative and instructive. He thinks her voice is too seductive. Me thinks I’d rather watch her videos than pay for Billy Showell’s online course. It confounds him that I don’t want to pay to learn a skill that I have been wanting to excel at for so long. But when you’ve got two children at university, making do with freebie videos on YouTube is IMHO the way to go. That’s how my eldest learned German: he started with Duolingo and took it as far as he could before paying for actual lessons. Btw Duolingo just reminded me that I need daily practice … my first lesson being last year and the second being last week.
To make a long story short, I ended up purchasing Billy Showell’s book on techniques. Which is currently on the backburner because our tables are always so cluttered with homeschooling books and baking paraphernalia, I just don’t have the energy to take out my tubes, ceramic palettes and glasses of water. Still, art has so many outlets for expression that even simple coloring with pencils brings joy and peace to the soul. May your heARTs be full of love and thanksgiving today!