Thursday, November 8, 2012

Election Day, 1864 Style

There are days when, I do admit, I do not like being a homeschool mom. Days when I wish I could just cheerfully say good-bye to the oldest two in the morning and spend my day cleaning the house without it being systematically dirtied behind me. No arguments between the oldest two children to mediate; just Malachi (who is a very quiet and happy and helpful little boy, for the most part) and the baby to care for. Things would be quiet. Things would be peaceful. Things would not require perpetual motion. How easy things would be!

But then I realize what my kids would miss if they were away from me all day. And what I would miss. The light in their eyes when they learn something new; hearing them sound out their first words. The millions of questions I get asked every day. . .if my boys were gone from me, who would answer them and how would they answer them? "Why does gravity keep us from falling off the earth?" "Mommy, why do things happen?" "When you were a little girl, were there still dinosaurs?" "What happens if I get dehydrated?" "Why do numbers have no end?" "Who made God?"

And then I realize I wouldn't trade these hectic days for anything. They are too precious. The boys' minds are too moldable. These years will be too brief. And so, we continue on here at home. Learning, asking questions, absorbing information. The boys are forming their own opinions and are organizing their own values and beliefs. The foundation is being laid for the adults they are growing into. This is a critical time. I cannot entrust this responsibility to anyone else.

Plus, homeschooling can just be plain fun! We take almost any excuse to make a regular day into a "special day". Election Day was no different. We learned about the election process, the candidates, the role of government and our duties as citizens, but with an 1864 twist.

We dressed up in our 1860's attire, lit the house with candle-light (it was a very dreary and gloomy sort of day) and hung the 13 star flag. The boys helped me with the day-long process of baking an Election Cake (complete with liquor-soaked raisins and candied lemon peel) and we mixed and steamed a round loaf of brown bread and made a big pot of bubbly clam chowder, a nod to the early elections in New England, where I am originally from.
Election Cake - Actually quite good!

When David came home from work we bundled up and headed out to the polls, (little David was disappointed we just went to the local fire station; he thought we were going to the White House!) where the boys watched as we filled the ballot and turned it in. We came home and had dinner, which the boys proudly helped serve up and ate with apparent relish - no leftovers! - while we discussed the election and the various likely outcomes.

I felt a bit of motherly pride when Judah told me he wanted to be president when he grows up. But then he paused and looked at me questioningly. "But how many presents does the present-it get?" he asked. "I want a lot." Perhaps he will make a good politician when he grows up, since even at this tender age it appears he is inspired by greed.

Now on to Thanksgiving! My favorite holiday of the year.



  1. Oh, I love Judah's question about being "present-it"! He seems to fully understand politics, even at his young age. :-) I so enjoyed this post, and you all look great in your 1860's garb!


  2. Dear Sarah,
    Judah's final comment was just a howl. Very impressed by how you arranged your day.

    The boys voted with us, too, Noah says he voted twice: that means he "helped" me and then "helped" Daddy.

    Very best,


  3. What a timely post. Just yesterday morning I was in the shower soaking in the hot water and preparing myself for another day. Another crazy day, and not sure I was up for it. Then my thoughts were turned to others - you and the White family over at, and a handful of others I enjoy reading about that homeschool their sweet little ones.
    I think you are amazing. I can not begin to think of the tiredness you must carry with you all afternoon and how grateful you are to go to sleep every night. I totally adore you all. You are truly wonderful. Thank you for being amazing and doing the wonderful things you all do and inspiring me to be better and more grateful.
    The pictures are fantastic! What a great day you must have had!

  4. Such a sweet family , your blog is a treat to visit, every time!

  5. You all look amazing. I like your dress muchly, seeing it again, and with a belt.

    It's good to hear about your mothering.

  6. How neat! What a fun way to celebrate Voting Day. Did you go to the polls in your 1860s clothing? I think you made some good memories. :-)

  7. Yup, we went to the polls dressed in our 1860's attire. It felt a little weird, but fun! It was our way of expressing patriotism. ;)

  8. This post is so sweet. I laughed so much when reading it. I can't wait to homeschool my little ones!

  9. I've been wondering if anyone said anything to you dressed in your garb, seemed inspired or interested?

  10. I know I already commented, but I was wanting to ask you more about how you homeschool. I currently homeschool my 5 year old son and have a 2 year old as well. Have you recently started homeschool or have you done it for awhile? Do you use any particular curriculum? How do you deal with the younger ones? I also am a homeschool alumni, so it's neat to find someone else like me who is homeschooling their children and into historical clothing/ reenacting!

  11. Amy, a few people did. We live in a very small community so there were not many people at the polling place. All positive comments and questions though! Although it was difficult fitting my skirts into the tiny polling booth. :P

    Sarah, that is so cool you are a homeschool alumni also! It is great to meet others who have had similar backgrounds. What I use is Sonlight. I like it because *everything* is there and I was very overwhelmed when it came to curriculum choices. There is just SO much available! I like that Sonlight comes with all the subjects you need and with a daily schedule of what you need to do to get done. I have David and Judah in the same grade (kindergarten, this year). Malachi is 3, so I try to have him sit with us while we do our schoolwork although I do not force him to participate. He is free to come and go as he pleases. Next year, when he is 4, we will do the Sonlight preschool curriculum with him. I try to do school while the baby naps but sometimes she is awake. She is usually content to lay on a blanket with her toy gym during those times though. Sometimes we do part of our schoolwork while I'm laying on the bed nursing the baby. The boys just pile on the bed with us and we read books. They do their papers at the dining room table. What do you use for curriculum? How do you set up your school day? We are still very much in the experimentation stage of it all!

  12. Miss Sarah, thank you so much for what you are doing with your family! I have never met you not you me, but my heart just swelled with pride when I read all that you have written here. A Mama taking care of her family...a fine thing indeed! And yes, time with your babies goes by so very fast. My oldest baby will be 16 in a few short months!!! Nooooo!! But like you and your husband, my husband and I have laid down a good foundation and God has richly blessed our two boys and that is such a great joy to this Mama's heart!! Kept up this wonderful work!!

    Be blessed!!


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!