When It's Okay to Sit Around and "Do Nothing."
So I am sitting watching the 8th puppet show of the day. Before this, we were playing train set at the children's museum for over an hour! I was SOOO bored! I wondered if my children were.
When we got back from the children's museum, ( I have a membership and I highly recommend one!) I had a whole slew of things that my homeschooling curriculum book told me to do. I had a pile of five workbooks with bookmarks that we haven't completed yet. I felt a little bit like a failure.
I did four math workpages with my 5 year old daughter, but I could see that she wasn't engaged. So I asked her what she wanted to do. She wanted to do a puzzle with me. After 30 minutes and discovering that we are missing several pieces, we just layed on the floor looking at a beach-ball sized globe of the world. We talked about where our Japanese grandma was from and where we were from. We talked about how long it would take to fly there. We talked about how long it would take to drive to Disney world.
Then she remembered that one side of the earth is in daytime while the other side of the earth was "sleeping." I was so proud of her for listening to my lesson on that last month.
Then she said the funniest thing. "Mom, can we make our own map of the world? I want to put it in my room."
So get got out markers, three sheets of white paper and tape. Then she asked me to make the whole world, handdrawn. She would point to a country and say, "What's that." I told her, "Oh, that's Greenland." She thought it was funny when I said, "Iceland is nice and Greenland is full of ice."
Then after 20 minutes of doing that, we put it up in her room and I could hear my 2.5 year old stirring in his room. Then after changing him and giving him a bath, we read books together. Then my husband came home. That was the extent of our day.
According to the curriculum book, I had done "Nothing."
But in reality my daughter learned many things.
She learned that Mom loves spending time with her. She learned to create her own fun with making up puppet shows, solving puzzles and making a map.
She learned that she could be free to explore through play and imagination.
Aren't those more important than learning that "A" is for apple?
Sometimes, we don't do anything. I let them just play with eachother. I let them problem solve by making a lego tower. Sometimes I play music, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I leave them alone to play in their rooms, sometimes I make activities for them to do.
I know my children love going places! We try to do a field trip to various places around the town at least twice a week. That way they are getting a new environment. We belong to the aquarium and the local children's museum. I know it's expensive, but I would rather spend money on that than fancy clothes or the latest gadget!
Sometimes I talk with them in the car. Sometimes I don't. Sometimes in the silence of driving, my daughter looks up from her books (I always keep a huge box of fresh books in there every week from the library, she asks to most random questions. Like, "Where does the moon go when we don't see it?" or "What does Bernadette eat?" (Our sponsored child from Kenya).
I love these random questions. They make me know that her wheels are turning.
I love when we can touch things. We go exploring in different ways. We dig a hole in the backyard. We plant seeds in the windowsill. We swing on the swings. We hit wiffles balls out in the yard. We play playdough. We make random science experiments with baking soda and vinegar. We get messy.
So in my pursuit of making my kids do handwriting pages and math worksheets, I need to remember that when we are doing "nothing" they are learning the most.
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