Homeschooling: Just Go With the Flow

Everyone knows that there are times in life that are crazier than others, and parents know that kids are extremely generous contributors in the craziness department.  We see it best on the rare occasion that the house is without children for a full day.  It is calm.  It is quiet.  It stays WAAAAAY tidier without them.   It’s exponentially easier ~ there’s no doubt about it. 

In a homeschool setting, the craziness can seem overwhelming at times.  The rugrats are around all day, every day.  The messes are constant, the noise is always at a steady hum.  I really wouldn’t have it any other way…. for now at least. 

Amidst all the chaos, there are days I choose to just go with the flow and declare a ‘school free’ day.  I do it becuase I can.  I do it because there are times when we just really need a repreive.  There are days when we just really need to go with the flow.  

Well, this isn’t just one of those days.  It’s one of those weeks.   

On Monday, I thought we’d get off to our usual productive start.  But the difference with this week came in the form of a plumber working in our basement, a service man working on our fireplace, and oh… it also came in the form of a new 8 week old puppy. 

Meet Murphy: 

Yes, he’s adorable. 

It’s true. 

He also comes with all the other puppiness that we get to enjoy those first few weeks; messes to clean, nipping to stop, the need for constant supervision.   I’ve had many dogs in my life.  I know that much like the way in which we raise our chidren, the work and attention we put in now will pay dividends.  Plus, Murphy’s dad is a 130 lb Bernese Mountain Dog.   He’s gonna be big and we need to get this right.  

So far, he seems like a really great pup.  He’s smart and he’s getting it.  Thank goodness!

But it was Monday and despite the bedlam that day, I was still trying to keep everything on track. In my momentary brain-fart (there really is no other expression for it), I set myself up with the societal expectation that an education must happen from 9 to 3, sitting at a table.  In reality, children are learning all the time.  One of the reasons we chose to homeschool was the ability to learn from everything around us, yet here I was trying to put our family into this one educational box. 

The expectations I was giving myself had put me in a grump by mid-morning; I was feeling crushed under the weight of it all.   It was pure chaos.  When my brain fart ended, I realized I was bringing the stress on myself.  I am a homeschooler.  I can (and do) send my kids up trees to do their work.  I can (and do) keep them working a bit through the summer.  I can (and do) skip school on their birthdays.  Why was I stressing myself out?   I had to get with the program, or lack of program, as it were. 

So, this is a week we will simply go with the flow.   There will be little to no opportunity for bookwork so all the kids’ learning will come simply through living.   What a novel idea. 

On Monday, the snow was melting at an astounding rate, so the kids spent lots of time getting reacquainted with the grass.  They built new lego ships.  They did their tasks around the house.  They read privately and also aloud to their little sister.  They worked on a puzzle.  Oh, and of course they played with their new puppy.  But at 9am, they started their book work (math).  It was 45 minutes before I realized that their mind (and mine even more so) was elsewhere and told them to pack it up.   Yes, I was a hero.

On Tuesday, they accompanied me to the grocery store with clipboards and pencils in hand.  I just love the sideways looks I got from some of the people we encountered at 10:00 on a school day.  Thankfully, there were even more people who were fully aware of what was happening and they could see the kids working away totalling the bill.  They were comparison shopping by volume.  They weighed produce, they divided in some cases and multiplied in others.  They rounded.  They added.  They ordered politely from the deli counter and received big smiles from the other side.  We ordered a bit of roast beef and my favourite turkey breast this week — a big treat since it’s been a couple months since we had sandwich meat!   The boys walked past the tortilla section and told me confidently that my homemade tortillas were better tasting, better for us, and cheaper.  They are starting to get it. 

We skipped over the grocery store apples and broccoli knowing that it would be cheaper (and likely more local) at the market 2 minutes down the road.  The kids had to figure out how much we saved (so I could squeeze one more math lesson in there), but they also got to see how important it is to pay attention to how and where we spend our money.  (Incidentally, for 10lbs of apples and 2 bunches of broccoli, store B was $10 cheaper than store A.  As in ten dollars SAVED people!   On two items!   Seriously.)  

I was pretty excited that the kids were almost as interested in the savings as I was.    And what better way to learn than practically?  It was a total teaching moment: be good stewards. 

And today is Wednesday.  I don’t know exactly what we are going to do today, but I know that it isn’t going to involve sitting down to do any bookwork.  This is one week where will simply keep calm and go with the flow.  We can do that.  It works for my kids.  And it totally Works for Me.

Kristen at We Are THAT Family  has started her trip to Kenya with Compassion International, however Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer is reprising her former role as host of Works for Me Wednesday for a couple of weeks.

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