Last week was a full week. The weekend was packed and we attended the Homeschool Festival. We went for a terrarium workshop on Monday. We had our usual co-ops. The week felt really packed. There were lots of things to do.
However, rather than it feeling fruitful, I just felt... rushed. I felt like we were just dashing from one activity to another, chasing the boys and always asking them to "hurryupandbequick!". I was running around, trying to cook lunches, chivvying the kids out, trying to juggle too many balls at once. I shouted at the kids alot.
Our nature inquiry co-op group met at Bollywood Veggies that week (all photos in this post were taken during the session), and we opted to go for the tour, since we felt that some guidance would be good and perhaps the kids would learn more. As it turned out, us parents learnt more about certain plants. However the kids were kids, and most of the younger ones (and especially the boys) were happier just exploring the place without an agenda. They poked at centipedes. They rustled through piles of leaves. They ran around, roaring, and exploring.
Last week was a lesson to me, that while some families thrive on a full programme for the week, our's does not. We need lots of time at home. The boys are happy at home, playing all their make-believe scenes with blankets and pillows and random things from around the home. They hold town councils, roast marshmallows, pretend they are pirates. The baby crawls about, and tries his best to join in.
For us, less is more. And for me, I am reminded that what works for us is less structure. While the ex-teacher in me is uncomfortable with a more flexible schedule, I realize it gives me more room to seize those teachable moments. I can take the time to discipline, to explain, to explore alongside with the kids, because I am not busy trying to teach some math concept that I need my kid to learn now, because it was what I wrote down in my schedule. I will be able to sit and observe my children, and build upon their questions and interests, instead of forcing them to sit down and do some planned activity. Not that we will abandon all lessons, but I realize I need to allow for plenty of room for free play. There are so many ideas and activities I want to try, there is this or that co-op I want the kids to join... but right now the answer may be less of these things.
This was a good read, and further reminded me that I really need to take the time to step back and really take a good look at my children:
The more I stepped back, the more I saw how much my son accomplished when fueled by his own curiosity. This little boy played chess, took apart broken appliances, carefully observed nature, helped on our farm, checked out piles of books at the library each week, memorized the names of historic aircraft and the scientific principles explaining flight, filled notebooks with cartoons and designs—-learning every moment.
My son taught me that distractible, messy, disorganized children are perfectly suited to learn in their own way."
So this week, I am hoping to be more purposeful in going with their flow, and go easy on the academics. Less is more. Let's see how it goes.