Today has been our unofficial first day homeschooling. We decided that to combat the summer educational loss and the steamy temperatures, we’d skip camp for two weeks and do a unit study on the American Flag in honor of Independence Day this Friday. I stocked up on crafts (oy.), read up on flag-related books and projects, and coraled my mini-masters for the week.
How is it going you ask? It’s day one. It’s been rocky. Okay, to tell the truth its been a disaster from my perspective. So, during obligatory, quiet time (it’s obligatory for mommy, not the minis), I’m trying to regroup and figure out what went wrong.
First, I woke up early and ran and had my alone (with a friend) time. This was to clear my head of cobwebs so I could be ready for whatever was thrown my way. I also showered, and got ready for the day. This sounds trite, but I’m lucky to get in a shower before dinner since coming home. I wanted to be totally focused on the kids and not my stink.
Then we had breakfast and went downstairs to our playroom. We have a small table, several couches and comfy chairs, our computer, book shelves, craft area (again, oy.) and it’s the only room in the house that is carpeted making spreading out wherever, possible. I’ve read over and over that one big rookie homeschool mom mistake is to make things look too much like a classroom, so instead, it’s just more of a creative kid room. We started with Bible lessons. I was FLOORED at how much they have learned in their private school about the old testament and the Ten Commandments. Willy-man rattled off 6 of the 10 verbatim. I should have been thrilled, instead the doubts were planted: “see they were doing so well, why did you take them out?”
The biggest issue we had during this time was their inability to take me seriously. I got a lot of “awe, mom do we havta?” There was also the littlest of our brood, sweet, sweet AnnaJane who wanted mommy’s attention…now….no, right now!
Then we went to the library to gather our books on the flag. I spent 60 minutes chasing kids down and shushing them. I swear these heathens have been in libraries before, but with mom it’s license to scream and climb the bookshelves (no joke).
By the time we got home, I was searching for the admission director of their previous school on my contact list. Got the little girl down and went to dig into our books by doing a key word scavenger hunt. I though myself mighty creative when I came up with this. Instead of reading the kids focused completely on hunting the words and winning the prize, forget actual comprehension.
Then we attempted a craft. Never use spray paint while wearing white, in 100% humidity, with any chance of rain, around 7-8 year-old boys. Really any one of that list should make the activity a no go. Assuming the craft survives, we’ll post pictures of it later in the week.
But now, as I sit here with my restorative tea (okay, it’s strong coffee), I realize there was really only one problem today. Me.
For the last 8 years I have been the weekend mom. My job has been to cram as much entertainment, moral instruction, and try not to kill yourself information into a very short time span. My kids probably only knew I could speak about 10 phrases.
- Get in the car
- Get out of the car
- Don’t do ____
- Leave your brother alone
- Yes, you have to eat the vegetables
- Go to sleep
- Clean up
- Be patient
- I love you
- Or some variation on any of the above
I honestly don’t think I meant to be like this, but with only the evenings and weekends to attempt to get everything on my to-do list accomplished, plus spend time with the family, this is just what it evolved into for me. I’m going to have to learn how to let loose and let my kids be kids while they are around me. They are going to have to make messes, they are going to have to make mistakes, they are going to have get things out of every drawer in my kitchen in order to make the perfect robot, I am going to need an inhaler.
As we move into our afternoon activities, I’ve learned that my kids are Bible scholars, loud at libraries, and terrible with paint cans. I’ve learned that even though they are too competitive and reward-focused for the game I created, they now know 12 new Independence Day related words. We are paint-speckled, but smiling. And really, if that doesn’t equal success for day one, what does?
*Note: our actual school year starts in August, so don’t go thinking this un-fun mom banned summer completely.