We have been homeschooling for the better part of nineteen years.Yet, every August I become terrified as I think about the coming school year.
I'm not paralyzed by choosing curriculum or creating reading lists - well, maybe a little. The scariest part of homeschooling for me is the idea that I must become organized and disciplined. It makes my blood run cold.
I use fairly structured curriculum and our educational approach is traditional (workbooks and textbooks). So, I have to schedule our days in order to complete everything in a timely manner. The subjects, the lessons, the therapy, and the appointments all demand a designated amount of time. As much as I dislike this it does keep me on my toes.
As I was riffling through lists and ideas for school I came across a blog post I wrote in 2008. It encourages me. It reminds me the one aspect of my younger children's lives I don't have to plan or schedule is play time.
Here is the post:
Children have fabulous imaginations. Their minds are always working overtime with new and fantastic ideas as they enliven the world around them.
Kids can be left alone playing for only a few moments and they will create blanket hide-aways, intricate "school rooms", restaurants complete with lovely menus, and trains ready to roll across the prairie. Give them a pair of scissors, a ream of paper and a gross of tape and the possibilities become endless. Last week I walked in to a room with colorful 3-D barns, animals, cars and sunglasses. I am not sure any number of pamphlets, magazines or craft books could actually compete with a child's imagination.
So, if you are not the creative type, follow your child's lead. Don't be afraid to let your children make a few messes. Let them play utilizing a gift God has blessed them with - their imaginations. You can provide them with the basic tools and the safe environment for playtime. Then step back and just watch as their wonderful world comes alive.
The Land of Counterpane
When I was sick and lay a-bed, I had two pillows at my head, And all my toys beside me lay, To keep me happy all the day.
And sometimes for an hour or so I watched my leaden soldiers go, With different uniforms and drills, Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;
And sometimes sent my ships in fleets All up and down among the sheets; Or brought my trees and houses out, And planted cities all about.
I was the giant great and still That sits upon the pillow-hill, And sees before him, dale and plain, The pleasant land of counterpane.
- Robert Louis Stevenson