Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A lesson in letting go, shelving the busy work, and getting out of the way

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One of the really helpful things about having been a homeschool family from the start is that my kids are pretty used to the routine now.  They know what to expect.  Sure, sometimes I might have to give a gentle reminder or two, but overall these kiddos of mine know the drill.

They know they may have to wait for mom's time because I'm working with another kid (or have my hands full with a baby or toddler) and that sometimes that means they have to be patient while they are waiting.  They know our days ebb and flow and that their turn will come, so for the most part, they are pretty good about waiting.

This year, after being inspired by some reading I did over the summer, I'm trying not to have a big list of ideas and pre-planned activities to occupy them during those waiting periods - no binders of busy work, coloring sheets, mazes, or printables.

(Stay with me here, it isn't as crazy as it seems)

I'm not saying there is anything wrong with those things, but the fact is that I really don't have the time to devote to finding, printing, and compiling them and, honestly, I think in our family's homeschool they fall more under the category of "want" instead of "need."  My kids don't actually need them while they wait.

Instead I'm learning to give the kids the room and the responsibility of occupying themselves.

Okay, honesty time:  I know they are creative kids. I know they are bright kids.  I know that boredom won't hurt them and might even be good for them. But, when it comes to homeschool, my first instinct is still to plan ahead for everything (because that is just totally possible, right?  Oh, poor, deluded me).

Which means this letting go of the plans thing, resisting all of the Pinterest ideas and super fun printables, (that I don't have time for anyway, remember) is very different from what I'm used to and it is pretty different from what the kids are used to, as well.

So, today when I was working with my oldest and my middle two children were waiting for me to read to them, I simply answered the expectant looks on their faces by telling them to go find something quiet to do until I was ready for them.

And, no, they couldn't turn on the TV.

They disappeared, reappearing in the kitchen about five minutes later and then returning from time to time to snag a piece of fruit.  After the first banana, then kiwi, then strawberries I thought they were just snacking.  But when my son came in and took the cantaloupe and a lemon I knew something was up.

I followed them out to the crafting table where he happily announced that they were "having art class, mom!"  

They had set up a platter with various pieces of fruit and were sitting quietly drawing it.

You know, like you do.
Ha ha!  I love it!

So, there you go:  proof positive that the kids will be just fine, even without a big binder of busy work and printables to occupy their free time.

This is going to be a good year, friends, I can feel it!

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