Homeschoolers and maybe ‘Mom’ in particular all have times of “Am I doing enough?” or “We need to do more”
We all have our own philosophies. I like to balance the “3 R’s” with “delight directed”, some days are perfectly balanced and others can lean heavily one way or the other. I try to just “roll with it”.
We are relatively new to home schooling as my eldest is 7; we took him out of grade one in March 2007. What I’d like to share is my pure joy and delight in my children and family!
We have fun together!
I love to watch my children they are smart, funny, reflective, spontaneous, silly, thoughtful…the list can go on and on. We also have our long days too, days of trial, but they NEVER out weigh the WONDERFUL days.
Recently we have moved, then we had Christmas, then more recently I had a week of not feeling well. Yes the flu hit me right in the midst of the January deep freeze and in midst of me finding our new rhythm in our new home. Many families, actually all families have these times of disruptive schedules, that is life. How we choose to handle it makes all the difference.
This is when we need to let go of the “Have To’s” and let things be.
During my week with the flu this is what we accomplished:
Discussed what Habitat is for both people and animals, and how we can help
Played games-counting, strategy, compassion, disappointment
Independence-children helped prepare lunch, did Math on their own
Geography-talked about the equator and Australia
Weather-discussed wind chill and protecting ourselves
They also watched me knit and tried their hand at it. They each expressed an interest in learning the craft. As well they really had time to have compassion, not for me…but for those out working in the cold or for those without homes. They wanted to go and help out at the food bank again. (something they did before Christmas).
Look at how much we achieved with me eating my toast and tea!
It was a week of what some would call “off time”, but it certainly wasn’t a waste.
Nobody’s brain ceased to work!
In fact, they came up with some wonderful questions, acts of kindness, and imaginative play! A Math book as well as a few other texts opened without me!!
As hard as it is to face whatever challenge it is which takes us off the schedule, it is also a great time to slow down and notice the little people in our homes blossom in a different way.
Being able to take time to talk and ask them of their 7 and 5 year old perspective (in our case). Or, watching your toddler all of a sudden RUN around or climb into your pantry.
So much learning can happen on those “off days”. Take the time to listen, if you are too ill or otherwise occupied with family matters, jot down the make believe games they play. Record the interesting questions they have about insects, pyramids, or life issues. Then you can go back and address these things once you are well enough, or have more free time. I’ve planned an entire week around their queries. Yes that will be another week off the beaten path, but it will be a path filled with excitement, passion and life long learning.
Passion for learning is natural with our youngsters, embrace it! It is a joyful journey, and often one that doesn’t always follow the straight and narrow. I’ve allowed our path to go up and down, or weave side to side, and you know what? They are learning a great deal.
To this day my boys still play “bees” with the information the McDonald family graciously shared with us. Much of what they learned was because of a day I allowed our schedule to flex. They posed the questions themselves a year and a half ago, and still talk about bees and honey. It is compelling to listen to them buzz around the yard collecting pollen, explaining the process with all the proper terminology. It is like watching the Discovery Channel, in our own back yard and so much better.
The knowledge they gained that day is forever embedded because it was a natural curiosity, that at 4 and 6 years old, they filled themselves. I now use this fun, embedded knowledge to help teach other perhaps more dry subject matters; it helps the subject come alive.
So take heart, we can have “off days or weeks”
We have the power to allow them to be some of the “best days”.
Balance will again be restored, we will get there!