You know, I really don’t know how I can keep doing this series without repeating the lessons I’ve learned in the past. Quite frankly, it’s because I’m slow and require multiple reminders and lessons before things sink in.
I suppose there is a greater lesson here about having more compassion and understanding for my children when they don’t get things on the first try.
Oh, STOP IT.
Like I’m going to learn that.
Anyhow, I’m not going to worry about if I’m repeating myself. Maybe if I remind myself often enough, it’ll finally sink in (for me, and maybe for you, too).
Here then, are the things I have reluctantly learned while homeschooling in January 2017:
1) Normal life IS an education.
Homeschooling sites (and especially UNschoolers) promote this “benefit” endlessly.
“All of life is school!” “Daily life is all the education your children need!”
But who listens to all that stuff without a HUGE grain of salt?
However, I remind myself that back in my day, there were Home Economics classes wherein we learned to cook, bake, sew, etc. (I did not take these classes – nor did I take Woodshop, Cars Shop, etc. classes – to my everlasting regret. Because hey – GUESS WHAT? That stuff is USEFUL. Unlike a lot of other things I learned in high school.)
Anyhow, back to my point.
Which is: teaching our children how to live and function in a family (or on their own) is an education. (And often, one quite neglected.)
Thus, even though this month, we continued to be low-key on me teaching every day, I have been scaling up their practical life skills.
Not in any formal way. But in the course of actual life. It helps that having Sasquatch makes it really hard for me to attend to a lot of my other kids’ “needs.”
It also helps that Cookie Monster is tall enough to reach the microwave on his own now and that Glow Worm is strong enough to open the refrigerator door and that I have rearranged our pantry and fridge and drawers to make all the foods, drinks, and utensils/bowls/plates/cups easily accessible to short people.
Accessibility is the cornerstone for freedom and independence (for ALL parties).
Thus, I take advantage of Cookie Monster being a generally helpful sort, (and as a result, drags Gamera and Glow Worm into his orbit), and they have started helping unloading the dishwasher, folding or putting away some of their laundry, cutting up strawberries, putting away their bowls/plates after eating, peeling carrots, cooking (by helping add spices, etc.), and entertaining Sasquatch.
Likely they would have learned this anyway even without homeschooling due to us being a large family and the type of family we are.
Just let me have this win, ok?
2) Breaking things is a learning opportunity.
In the last two weeks, Glow Worm has broken three (yes, THREE) drinking glasses.
Hapa Papa blames me because I have not switched ALL our drinking glasses to plastic ones. (He has since switched to a plastic water bottle.)
However, I refuse to switch. Mainly because I hate plastic glasses, but also because I read somewhere sometime about Montessori using glasses because then children learn to be careful because they now know their actions have consequences and you can’t just drop a glass any damn where you please, etc.
But mostly because I am lazy and hate plastic drinking cups.
Glow Worm does not seem to have learned this lesson.
Also, this is supposed to teach the parents NOT to leave glass drinking glasses on the train table and to be a bit more careful themselves (ahem, Hapa Papa) and be more aware of where the glasses ARE on the kitchen table.
Hapa Papa blames the latest glass breaking on me because it was my glass. However, it was when HE was on parenting duty.
And I’ll have you note, that in the past SEVEN years of parenting and him leaving his stupid glass everywhere including the train table upon which I have nagged him endlessly to STOP DOING THAT ALREADY, there has NEVER been a broken glass on my watch. (Stitches and broken bones, YES. But not broken glasses!)
He refuses to see reason. Whatever gets him through the day.
Anyhow, whether Glow Worm or Hapa Papa (or I, for that matter) have learned anything is to be determined.
3) I am super passionate about homeschooling.
I think I have almost convinced Pharm Girl to the Dark Side. Her husband seems to be ok with it, and she is seriously contemplating it but of course, has her worries and questions.
I monopolized most of a play date last weekend and just endlessly talked and talked about homeschooling and what it is and what it means and Geez Louise, Pharm Girl is patient and kind and agreeable for listening to me.
Seriously. I wouldn’t stop.
4) I need to find more ways for Cookie Monster to be social with his age group.
Cookie Monster is amazing with kids younger than him and with babies. He’s amazing with babies.
This makes sense because most of the kids his age are in school and when we hang out with other people during school hours, they are usually younger. Also, he spends the majority of his life with his younger siblings.
However, he is starting to reach the point where playdates with younger kids has him a little bored, or lonely, and I need to make a better effort at finding either other homeschool kids his age, or make new friends with older kids, or have more playdates with acquaintances with similar aged children.
He has a few classes with kids his age, and while that is helpful, it’s not the same as having unstructured social and play time with kids his age.
I have been waiting for Guavarama and Fleur to come back from Taiwan so we can have regular play dates, but horrors of horrors, they do not revolve their daily/weekly schedules around mine.
WHAT THE HELL, PEOPLE?
Selfish. Just selfish.
Also, even though Guavarama has AstroBoy who is about 6-7 months younger than Cookie Monster, there are a lot more girls and though Cookie Monster plays well with both sexes, he REALLY loves to play with boys.
I really need to get on finding more people for him to play with.
I hate making new friends or effort.
* ShakesfistatGuavaramaandFleur *
5) Remember: my children are tiny persons. A little compassion and kindness is OK.
I have been making a more concerted effort to be kind and compassionate to Cookie Monster and especially Gamera because she pushes ALL my buttons. And hopefully, I will prevent smashing their feelings into the ground and negate the need to rebuild them back up.
I am trying to take deep breaths, clench my fists and grind my teeth closed so I STFU already, and if I start to criticize or be mean, to stop and joke and attempt to change course before it gets too bad.
This is hit or miss.
This is gonna come up again and again on these lessons.
Alright. That’s it for this month’s edition of Reluctantly Learned Stuff. Hope you are all doing well on your homeschooling journey (or just life journey in general).