Noticing Notes

My study of happiness taught me that, perhaps surprisingly, I tend to learn more from one person’s highly idiosyncratic experiences that I do from sweeping philosophies or wide-ranging research. It’s from the experience of a particular individual that I learn most about myself - even if we two seem to have nothing in common.
— Gretchen Rubin, Happier at Home

After fourteen weeks of summer break, my kids went back to school this week. They attended school on Tuesday, and we had our first homeschool day on Wednesday. I decided that on homeschool days, I am going to keep a little notebook handy to write what I call “Noticing Notes.” I think this notion to notice will help me be still and be aware of what’s happening around me and in me. I wonder if themes will emerge in what I notice or how this intentional act will shape my awareness. I also wonder how noticing will inform my writing.


I want to bring my little notebook to the dinner table on Wednesdays and Fridays so we can talk as a family about some of the things I noticed that day, as well as what the kids noticed. Even though they won’t have written their ideas down, I expect this exercise to spark good conversation among us. I want to train my kids to see and to name even as I’m training myself to see and to name.

We have lived; our moments are important...Recording the details of our lives is a stance against...too much speed and efficiency.
— Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones

This week’s episode of Emily P. Freeman’s “The Next Right Thing” podcast was similarly themed. She talked about pointing to things and calling out what they are, just as Japanese railway workers do in an effort to enhance safety for both workers and passengers. “Pointing and calling brings our awareness forward,” Emily said. “It takes something that is typically subconscious and makes it conscious.”

I know from experience that the past several months of near-daily writing practice around issues of motherhood and attachment has greatly increased my awareness of myself in relation to my children. Now I am curious to see how these “Noticing Notes” on homeschool days will bring clarity to the life lessons I am meant to learn from both the joys and the challenges of these days.


A few notes on my notes:
-I see deer in our neighborhood often, and every time I see one, I feel great delight.
-Story was motivated to do some of her homeschool work on Tuesday afternoon when she got home from school. I didn’t count that time in the one hour.
-Cash asked for green pepper slices for a snack for the first time ever yesterday. Then he ate more at dinner and packed them in his lunch for school today.
-Every morning I make TJ an omelet with green peppers, mushrooms, spinach, and ham to take to work for lunch. I make the same for myself (minus the ham) for lunch almost every day too.
-This summer, I read Peter Brown’s The Wild Robot and The Wild Robot Escapes to Cash, Story, and Sailor. Then we began The Penderwicks series by Jeanne Birdsall. We are now on the second book, The Penderwicks on Gardam Street, and we are all enjoying the story very much.
-We went to Sidewall last night for dinner and used both Cash’s and Bauer’s “free pizza” birthday coupons.
-I only kept notes till dinnertime….hence, the “I feel hungry” sentiment at the end. Sidewall solved that problem. Then I went waterskiing after we put the girls to bed last night, which solved the “restless leg” feeling.

I can’t wait to practice noticing again tomorrow.

A person who is looking for something doesn’t travel very fast.
— E.B. White