Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Here at the End of the Rainbow

Before I began homeschooling my children (a whole two months ago), I had grand ideas of how my days would go. (And I'm loving these laid-back, carefree days of homeschool. LOVING IT.) But, as life goes, reality doesn't always quite match up to expectation.

For example, I imagined I would suddenly have the time to do all those cute themed activities I'd pinned on Pinterest. Not so.

Today is St. Patrick's Day. A leprechaun did not leave green foot prints on our toilet and green pee in our toilet. We did not have green eggs and green pancakes (Sam I Am). Our beverages did not have cute little shamrock-shaped apple slices perched on the glasses. We did not make rainbow crafts or do St. Patrick's Day word searches. (And to mothers who did these things, you are amazing.)

We did make shamrock-shaped pancakes, which I perfected the flipping-of without the breaking-of by the third pancake. I did give my kids a quick history lesson on St. Patrick and discuss our Irish heritage. (This comes from both sides--even the Peruvian side!) And then we moved onto the regularly-scheduled home school day.

(Well, J, in the spirit of things, did hide the girls' shamrock pancakes while they were changing and left a note from a leprechaun. A was very upset about this, so the shamrock pancakes were procured from their hiding place and all belief in leprechauns probably shattered. This might be a good thing. Aren't leprechauns supposed to be naughty little creatures?)

Just like my ideas of having cute theme days (which still may happen if I can figure out how to clone myself) so goes my "ideal" homeschool schedule. I find making schedules for myself fun (wait, doesn't everyone find this fun?), but sticking to these schedules doesn't always follow. While I was in the preparation stages of homeschool, I mapped out our days. This included two hours of study in the morning and two in the afternoon (and lots of other things like exercising during nap time, but that's fodder for another blog post).

In the end, I've found we need to finish our schooling in the morning. By the afternoons, I've lost the attention of my son. I've learned we have to start early, as in the moment he wakes up (breakfast excepted, of course). I've learned J's brain turns off after a few hours of school. And I've learned it's okay to take breaks. The "take breaks" one is important. Most days he can sit and listen during our schooling hours, but there have been times his mind and body need to run, shoot hoops, play make believe with his sisters, or draw in his sketchbook...instead of math or grammar or science. I've tried to plow through lessons on those days, but this has always proven grueling and unproductive.

No green sensory slime making here, but my kids still learned about St. Patty. No "ideal" schedule, but I'm learning every day what's best for my kids. Reality doesn't always match up to expectation, but expectations give way for our own, tailor-made reality.

And I love that reality.

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