Thursday, September 24, 2015

What Pope Francis Coming to DC Taught Us

So I wrote about How to Turn the Pope Coming to America into a Homeschool Lesson-- No Matter Your Faith, right?

What did Pope Francis teach us by coming here? So much. He did not have to lobby to get his voice heard. He did not raise his voice, slander someone who did not like him. He loved them. He prayed for them. No matter your faith, there is NO denying, he left DC better than how he came to it.

He spoke gently, kindly but firmly and strongly...of love, acceptance, and peace. What is better than that?

Well it makes for a great homeschooling lesson. This lesson was not about what the kids believe religiously, and I am not a person to push religion on my kids-- they deserve to find that on their own. We can help guide them, but it is ultimately up to them what they believe in. In fact, one of my kids is saying they don't believe in God and the message the Pope gave was so much grander than that- and that child took something away from it!

This was about something that transcends religion-- the real reason Pope Francis was here. He really truly is the Pope of the People. He cares. He is not just about what he believes but he is about what is right. Acceptance. Love. Peace. Harmony.

Well, did I also tell you that Washington D.C. is one of the BEST places in the world to homeschool, in my opinion? Why?

Let us start with one reason why I don't put my kids in the brick and mortar schools here. Yes, the school systems here are not well known for being good-- in fact, they are known for the opposite. Our local school, what we call here "neighbourhood school" gets a 3/10 score for testing and aptitude. Not very good. They are changing it but overnight just does not happen. The D.C. Lottery for schools is great in theory but if you have more than one or two kids, can make things quite difficult. The DC Lottery is where you select the schools you want your kids to go to, in and out of your neighbourhood school. And you have to do applications for each child-- it is not done as a family. Therefore, the chance of your children ending up all in different schools happens more than you know. And I am not wasting my entire day getting kids dropped off (all at the same time) and picked up (all at the same time).

My reason for Washington DC being one of the best places to homeschool is that there are SO many events, rallies, educational opportunities here that do not exist in other parts of the country.
We have done MLK 50th Anniversary, next month there will be the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March.  And yesterday and today, the Pope was here!

Yesterday, I was honestly bummed for not going downtown and waiting to see the parade. In retrospect, I am glad I stayed home, having the kids watch him leave the Vatican Embassy here in DC, then go to the White House, then do the parade, then do the Cannonization of Juniper Serra, which is very controversial, plus the mass in Spanish. It was beautiful and awesome.

They watched and also took notes on it.

Today, we went downtown while he was at Congress speaking (if you want to be there in person, you have to miss other things), and went down to the National Mall. Our bus got re-routed and had to take two instead of one to the Mall. Then when we got there, the security was tight-- not tight as in awesome, but tight as in the wall was doubled and really far away.

We missed the first part of the Action on Climate Rally, which was a bummer because Sean Paul and Natasha Bedingfield were there and I wanted to see them both! That is what I get for a kid who did not sleep well last night.

So we went down, listened to the finishing of the Pope's speech to the Congress (both sides). And then he came out to speak to the crowd. We watched it on Jumbo-tron on the Mall itself, but it was still SUPER worth it.  Dude, history was made! That is the only time a pope has spoken to Congress (and hopefully he inspired, I mean knocked sense into, the Congress).

He prayed and blessed all the children and their families. He was so genuine and all smiles. This is a pope that you can feel how amazing his energy is because I could feel it at home yesterday. Today was no different. He left DC better than it was when he came! That is for sure!

After he left, we met up with a friend of mine, Hannah, who is amazing by the way, and if you need a doula, let me know- I will get you in touch. They handed out baby trees and posters that you can plant and had wildflower seeds in them. I literally told them if they had leftovers that I would take them and give them out to my scouts. I was not going to let them throw them away-- it would defeat the purpose.

Then we sat on the lawn and listened to the finishing concert-- made our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, drank water and of course had a good time in the fall breeze. My little one danced to the amusement of people who were either picnicking nearby or walking by. Some laughed, some got the biggest smile and some just walked past. Nothing like dancing to warm the spirit.

We came back home, they sat down and wrote down 15 facts we came up with together on what they learned from just today. How they felt. Who the pope was. And then they drew about their experience. By the time we were down, there were two full pages. After we watch the Congress-address by the Pope tomorrow, it may be more.

We are not religious at all but this was an amazing experience that had much to teach us!
How amazing to translate what is going on today to history! Also, to witness history.
I am so glad they and a few of my girl scouts got to experience history in some way with the Pope.

DC is again, one of the best places to homeschool!
How would you get an education like this in a brick and mortar school?
Can't wait to talk about it in the Girl Scout Homeschool Co Op I head tomorrow.

Thank you Pope Francisco for being "The People's Pope" for gracing DC with your awesomeness and shining light of love on us. We are better for it!

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