Learning Beyond the Curriculum: Twin Memories

We were sitting around the lunch table that Sunday after church.  Summer had just begun, we were planning for a trip across the country to visit relatives, and I was nine years old.  Then my father said that he and Mom had a surprise for us, and could we guess what it was.

My seven-year-old brother and five-year-old sister didn’t have much to offer, but my imagination immediately jumped to conclusions.  Excitement high, I queried breathlessly, “A baby?!”  To this he nodded, “But there’s more.”  Again I guessed the truth before he said it.  Twins.

The next six months were full of life training, some of which I have forgotten over the years, some of which I probably don’t even remember as being learned at that time, and some of which I use all the time.  Since my mother did not have easy pregnancies in general and this was two at once, she gradually became quite limited in what she could do in the way of stairs or lifting.  My siblings and I pitched in to help with laundry, some of the cooking and cleaning, and other household tasks.

After my little brothers were born, we helped by playing with them so that Mom could do school with our siblings or get some housework done.  I don’t remember the incident, but my father wrote in the next year’s newsletter that when they were talking about who might come and help out, my comment was that we didn’t need anybody else, they had me!  Ten-year-old that I was (turned just 9 days before the double arrival), I couldn’t realize how much work that meant or how much I couldn’t do.  In any case, no one else stepped up to help, and I did my best.  All the work was worth it when my mother’s friends would comment on the amount of work my mother must have (two new babies plus homeschooling three).  My mother’s reply usually revolved around her “big helper” aka “go-fer” aka “big sister.”  Moms out there whose older children are helping out with the baby, let me encourage you to let your older helper hear you thank God for them once in a while.  Too often could puff some children up, of course, but just often enough is a way of spurring them to do more and more willingly.

I learned so much during my youngest brothers’ first years of life.  Because I was homeschooled, I got to be right there and watch as my parents cared for and trained them.  Although some people might have thought that having two babies in the house would have disrupted our academics, the reality was that they did not.  My mother chose materials that allowed me to be more independent, and I learned much more from being at home with them all day than I could have if my parents had chosen to send me to school for that year.

Homeschooling is about much more than academics.  Homeschooling is about preparing for life, and watching my little brothers grow provided plenty of preparation.  As did building relationships with my parents and other siblings.  As did helping around the house with anything and everything I could.

Was I still a girl, who wanted time to herself to read and play?  Sure.  Did I get that time? Absolutely.  I probably got more than I needed.  But I also got to go along when my mother took the twins to the doctor, learning about the kinds of things pediatricians look for, and watching how my mother handled the visits.  I got to be in charge when my mother trusted me to babysit (that wasn’t until 12 or 13 for my own siblings, and I was slower to tackle babysitting for others).

I learned so many different things from my brothers.  So many things that I don’t even remember, but which helped shape me into who I am today.

Explore posts in the same categories: Growing Up, Homeschooling, My Family, Siblings

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