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Restful Work: How Dirt and Sawdust Can Be Refreshing

Restful Work: How Dirt and Sawdust Can Be Refreshing

Since last week’s post I’ve been thinking more about the idea of rest.  There’s a lot of talk going on in classical education circles since Sarah Mackenzie‘s new book, Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakeable Peace came out.  I’m working my way through it, and it’s great so far.  By the way, if you’ve read it, let me know how it is!

Back to the idea of rest.  I’ve come across a strange definition of it in my own life.  This summer, “rest” has really meant “change.”

My Two Projects

20140807-104642-38802031.jpgAnyone who knows me will not associate the idea of gardening with me, but it’s something I’ve wanted to learn how to do for a long time.  My grandpa had an A-MAZing garden in my hometown of Laramie, WY, which is a pretty stunning feat since it sits at 7200 ft. and almost nobody grows anything but hay.  We don’t have farms back home, we have ranches.  I hated tomatoes as a kid, but everyone raved about Grandpa’s tomatoes.  So this summer, I’ve spent more time in my little, teensy-weensy garden, trying to cultivate my own green thumb.  After digging out all the weeds and rocks, inserting each little seed in its hole-home, lovingly covering it up with soil, and inconsistently watering, I have some promising sunflowers, tomatoes, sugar snap peas, and even watermelon.  I loved prepping the soil by hand, yanking out the weeds whose roots never seemed to end.

Anyone who knows my industrious, crafty family won’t be surprised to know that I asked for an orbital sander for my (groan) 30th birthday a few weeks ago.  The desire to work with power tools must be genetic.  I’d been wanting to refinish our dining room table for years.  This summer, I finally broke down and started rubbing it down with some 60 grit.  I was too cheap to get my own sander, so I was doing all the work by hand, sweating in the garage and covering everything with sawdust.

My two summer projects have reminded me how AMAZING it can feel to work hard at something physical.  Make no mistake, I’m constantly hauling a baby, a toddler, a load of laundry, and said baby’s oxygen supplies up and down the stairs (simultaneously, because I was born with four arms).  So physical work always happens, but not the dirt and sawdust kind.

I’m usually too busy with the diaper kind of dirty to get to work on the personal project kind of dirty.

If I have one thing to add to the conversation about rest this summer it’s this:

Get outside, get dirty, get sweaty on a project you’ve been thinking about doing for years.  Pressure wash the house, paint the fence, make a bookshelf.  Whatever your project, you’ll feel oh-so rejuvenated and rested when you’re back is aching, your forearms can’t hold the paintbrush any longer, and you’re dying of thirst for some sweet tea.

Rhiannon Kutzer

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Nice to meet you!

Nice to meet you!

I’m Rhiannon.

You can call me Rhi for short (as in “rewrite”). I’m a fiercely independent homeschooling mom of five, a Navy wife of almost 13 years, and a creator of various things: articles, a monthly newsletter, quilts, furniture, and the occasional knitted scarf. This is the site where I write about our homeschool journey and news and happenings in the homeschool world. more about me.

Rhiannon

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Here are 2 CM principles to accompany, so you don’t break out in hives at the prospect of a kitchen tornado: “(a) The children, not the teachers, are the responsible persons; they do the work by self-effort. (b) The teachers give sympathy and occasionally elucidate, sum up or enlarge, but the actual work is done by the scholars” (vol. 6, p. 6).
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I had to resist 1) Saying “No,” in the first place. I literally had to say to myself, “Okay, this is what we’re doing today.” 2) The urge to turn baking into a whiteboard lesson on fractions. That would have killed the enchantment quicker than snuffing out a candle. We *may* talk *after* we bake. 3) The urge to correct or do it for her. If the cake fails, it fails, and we will talk about why.
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That is all, happy Thursday!
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