433 | The Joy of Mud (Janice Campbell)

433 | The Joy of Mud (Janice Campbell)

Show Notes:

It may be hard to imagine mud as a positive thing, but there was a season of life when it helped me learn to be a better homeschool mom. Perhaps these thoughts can help you, too.

About Janice

Janice Campbell, a lifelong reader and writer, loves to introduce students to great books and beautiful writing. She holds an English degree from Mary Baldwin College, and is the graduated homeschool mom of four sons. You’ll find more about reading, writing, planning, and education from a Charlotte Mason/Classical perspective at her websites, EverydayEducation.com, Excellence-in-Literature.com, and DoingWhatMatters.com.


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Show Transcript:

Janice Campbell Hello and welcome to The Homeschool Solutions Show. My name is Janice Campbell and I'm one of the many hosts here on the podcast. Each week we bring you an encouraging conversation from this busy and blessed journey of educating our children at home. While the title of the show is Homeschool Solutions, we don't pretend to have all the answers to all the homeschooling questions. It is our hope that this podcast will point you to Jesus Christ that you may seek his counsel as you train your children in the way they should go. Parents, here's a riddle for you: Homeschoolers love them, enemies of freedom hate them. What are they? It's the Tuttle Twin books. With millions of copies sold, the Tuttle Twins series helps you teach your children about entrepreneurship, personal responsibility, the Golden Rule, and so much more. Get a discounted set of books with free workbooks today at TuttleTwins.com/homeschool. And now on today's show.

Hi, this is Janice Campbell. Thank you for joining me today. Since summer can be a rainy season in our area, I thought it might be helpful to share a few thoughts about mud, specifically mud and kids — a combination that many of us have probably experienced. For a good many summers, one of the most frequent reminders at our house was to leave your boots outside the door. Spring and summer rains turned our gravel road and garden spaces into mud. And where else would the boys want to play? Mud was one of the most educational things in our homeschool. Educational, but not as much for my boys as for me. I'd grown up in Southern California, a place where, if the song was to be believed, it never rains. It did rain, of course, but the rain fell on cement sidewalks. It was channeled into culverts and swished out of sight into the concrete clad river. It was all so neat and tidy and so very non-muddy. I hardly knew what to do when I moved to the country. Everything was so incredibly messy. There was mud everywhere and our four boys and our dogs all loved it. Squishing and squelching through the mud was an experience like no other. Not only was there the unexpected surprise of suddenly losing footing in slippery mud, there was the momentary alarm of losing a shoe in a deep spot, or that moment when a mostly unintended slip splashed a brother from head to foot. Mud was inexplicably entertaining and delightful.

It was clear from the beginning that mud was inevitable. We'd built a new home in the midst of a sizable patch of woods, and grass didn't seem inclined to grow in the heavily bulldozed soil. So until we were able to enrich the soil and increase the sun exposure, we lived in mud central. I'll admit that I didn't love mud, at least at first. It got everywhere. Clothes, shoes, porches and porch rugs took on a muddy hue, and everywhere I turned, mud made it almost impossible to keep the house nice. Through the months it took to build the house, I'd pictured what its bright, sunny rooms would look like, and imagined how easy it would be to keep tidy, since this house would actually have closets. There still weren't enough. But there was nothing wrong with that vision of mere perfection, except for the fact that it had nothing to do with what was actually possible. What was actually possible was so different that for a season, I lost sight of why we had moved to the country. I spent time fretting over what was and wishing for what wasn't realistic for this season of life.

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We moved not just because we needed more space, but also so the boys would have space to play, explore and discover. We wanted them to have a chance to dig and build and climb, and they were doing it all. And mud was an inescapable part of their learning and delight. Some days there were mud pies for sale. Other days, there were mud wall castles and moats inhabited by plastic soldiers and dinosaurs. Imagination ruled the day, and I saw the boys grow in their ability to work and play together. It took a while, but at some point, I began to see the mud, not just as a nuisance, but as part of our family's journey toward greater creativity, competence and togetherness. We may not have asked for mud, just as we didn't ask for interruptions in the homeschool day, but we found that mud and interruptions often opened space for some of the most creative and memorable times of our homeschooling years. My initial ideas of perfect — a show ready house and a crisp, detailed schedule were replaced by the more realistic desire to create a warm and loving home that allowed space for growth, fun, learning and closeness. Mud helped, and I'm grateful. Thank you for listening and I wish you great joy in the journey.

Thank you for joining us this week on The Homeschool Solutions Show. You can find show notes and links to all the resources mentioned at Homeschooling.mom. Don't forget to check out my friends at Medi-Share because you deserve health care you can trust. To learn more about Medi-Share and why over 400,000 Christians have made the switch, go to GreatHomeschoolConventions.com/MediShare. If you haven't already, please subscribe to the podcast and while you're there, leave us a review. Tell us what you love about the show. This will help other homeschooling parents like you get connected to our community. And finally, tag us on Instagram @HomeschoolingDotMom to let us know what you thought of today's episode. Have you joined us at one of The Great Homeschool Conventions? The Great Homeschool Conventions are the homeschooling events of the year, offering outstanding speakers, hundreds of workshops covering today's top parenting and homeschooling topics, and the largest homeschool curriculum exhibit halls in the US. Find out more at GreatHomeschoolConventions.com. I hope to see you there. Finally you can connect with me, Janice Campbell, at EverydayEducation.com where you'll find my Excellence in Literature curriculum, Transcripts Made Easy, and more, as well as at my blog DoingWhatMatters.com and my literature resource site Excellence-In-Literature.com. I wish you peace and joy in your homeschooling.

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