Saturday, May 10, 2014

Confession: I Might Be A Little Lazy...Sometimes...

We were at the beach this weekend for a wedding and two of our kiddos had pretty major falls. Jaidyn fell off of a picnic table bench right on her head. The sound that was made when her head hit the ground was quite a melon falling on the ground and cracking open. She was apparently fine though. She cried pretty hard for a few minutes and then wanted me to put her down so she could get back up on the bench. Caleb also had a nasty fall that I really expected teeth to be missing afterward. Poor kid...we were heading back to the car from the beach and he stepped off the edge of the sidewalk, lost his balance, and with his towel wrapped around him like a burrito he could't catch himself from falling and his chin met the sidewalk with yet another melon cracking sound. Geez Louise! It's been enough to make me want to somehow strap all three of them in my ergo baby and permanently attach them to myself.
Now let me back up a second and say that I am by no means a "helicopter parent." I very much believe in giving my kids space to learn and explore and kind of figure out things without me hovering over them. Like Miss Frizzle from the Magic School Bus says, "Take chances. Make mistakes. Get messy." I would say that's kind of our mantra. But I'm laying in bed tonite thinking about my kiddos, trying not to worry about them making it to their next birthdays. I know it's a mom thing. Once you have kids you never stop worrying about them.  I don't worry as much about my eldest because she is an overly cautious individual, but my son is very accident prone, and my youngest is a wanderer. I have lost her more than once I hate to admit.
I am mulling through in my head about trusting God for the safety of our children He has blessed us with and trusting our kids with the their own abilities.  But then there's this thought of...what if I am just lazy sometimes? Now, in my defense, taking three young children to the beach or the pool or the playground can be an exhausting task. I'm not complaining. I love taking my children places. I love them being with me. But that doesn't make it any less exhausting. And with each child I have had I am positive I have lost brain cells. My mind just doesn't work the way it used to. I'm thinking it may come back eventually. I'm hoping... So I feel overwhelmingly scatterbrained at times. But am I lazy sometimes? I have to confess that I think I am. I guess this is another one of those balancing acts as a parent...trying to find the balance between me hovering over them and protecting them from every little boo-boo that may come their way and me sitting back and letting them just totally do their own thing.
I know, or I think, this gets easier the older they get. I believe two of the most important things you can teach your child right out of the womb are obedience and self-control. If they can get a grasp on those two things they will be able to handle freedoms and responsibilities a lot easier, they will be able to adapt to new surroundings a lot easier, and they will just be a joy to be around. It takes time and a lot of energy to instill these in them but it is worth it. All that to say, our children are a work in progress. I am a work in progress. I am still learning obedience and self-control. Obedience in things like putting God first in my life, disciplining my children, and being content with what God has given me. Self-control in things like spending, and my thoughts, and my tongue. 
I have no intentions of becoming a "helicopter mom" when my kids get up in the morning, but I am going to work on being a better protector and guide to them. That's my job...or at least two of my jobs. I am going to give my worries for their safety over to God and trust Him because He is our Protector and our Guide, our Jehovah-Raah (The Lord is my Shepherd.) I am going to be thankful for the grace He extends to me in my shortcomings and be gracious to my children in theirs. And maybe I'll go do a few sudoku puzzles in an effort to boost brain cell power. But for now, at 3am...I'm going to bed!

I just love my little family!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Balancing Act

So our family just got over a stomach bug...yeah... It actually was not as terrible as ones we've had in the past. So far Hailey is the only one that has not gotten it and hopefully it will stay that way.
With the time I've had away from schooling the last couple of days I've really had a chance to sit back and mull over how homeschooling is going for us.

In the homeschooling community, I feel like there are two extremes. On one end you have the idea that homeschooling should look and feel exactly like a regular school with the pledge of allegiance, seat work, and so on. On the other end you have the "unschooling" philosophy which essentially is strictly interest-based learning...throw the curriculum out the window and see where the day takes you. I'm trying to figure out where the pendulum falls for us as a family. The last several weeks I have really struggled with balance. Most of life is a balancing act so homeschooling really isn't any different.

Fortunately, with homeschooling, you can kind of make it look like what you want it to look like. Initially I would say if traditional school at home were 0 and "unschooling" were 10, I would land somewhere around 7. I like the idea of interest-based learning. It makes
sense and I think it works with our personalities and the phase of life we are in. However, I need structure. I need a lesson plan for the day. I need curriculum. I like being creative but I do need an idea of what to teach the kids. I also need an idea of what the day is going to look like. We have always worked off of a schedule and it's what our kids are used to...and it works for us.
That being said, I need to figure out how to make this work. Seriously. It's not that it isn't working for me at all. Some days are great. I feel like we accomplished things. Other days...not so much.

I've done quite a bit of research and here are some things I am working on right now to try to make this work better...
-Establishing a rhythm- I know that the times homeschooling has worked the best for us have been when we had a rhythm to the day. Not necessarily a schedule...just a rhythm. This is a struggle for the phase of life we are in with an almost 2-year-old (enough said!) But I do know it is very important for me and the kids to have some consistencies to our days.
-Planning, Planning, Planning- I really need to do a better job of reviewing the curriculum a couple of weeks ahead of time. If I know what is coming up I can do a better job of  "going with the flow." I'm a big picture person so if I know what the big picture is I can plan our days and weeks around what we are to learn- I say we because I have actually learned a lot this year =)
-Incorporating the younger two- (Instead of just trying to preoccupy them) Some days this is easier, some days not so much. Most days Caleb just wants to go outside and play (Me too, me too!)) and Jaidyn usually just likes to destroy things =) But I know it is doable. So if I plan better I can plan things that all three can do. Yesterday I worked with Hailey on math using unifix cubes. Caleb and Jaidyn started off counting with us but then Caleb started making a race track with them and Jaidyn took some and started stacking them over and over again. So it was a win for today. I need to try to incorporate them in at least one activity a day.

This past week has been off for us because of sickness, but I hope to start implementing these things in the weeks to come. I keep reminding myself that this is a phase. The ages our kids are now are fun ages, but they have their challenges and it will (hopefully) get easier as they get a little older. I think the important thing for me to remember is my kids are a gift and the ability to homeschool them is a gift and and I need to cherish them and daily ask God to help me walk through that day with love and grace and wisdom. And take one day at a time...