One of the helpful things about being a homeschooling family for over ten years is that by now we have all learned the value of patience. The kids know their turn will come if I’m working with another child.
In past years, when I had a houseful of young children, I had a binder of mazes, alphabet pages, coloring sheets, and other things to help them pass the time waiting.
During those years, that binder was a sanity saver. I’m not sure how I would have juggled babies, toddlers, and homeschoolers without it.
But my kids are older now. They don’t actually need me to provide them with activities anymore. For one thing, there is always a book or ten to read.
For another, the time it takes for me to pull these types of activities together is time that I feel can be better used in other ways.
They don’t need me to have my hands so tightly on the reigns. In fact, that’s kind of been the theme of our homeschool year so far: me letting go.
I’m learning to give my older kids more chances to take responsibility for themselves.
Sometimes they just need me to get out of their way
Okay, honesty time: I know they are creative kids. I know they are bright kids. I know that boredom won’t hurt them and might even be good for them.
But, when it comes to homeschool, my first instinct is to try to plan ahead for everything. This is futile, of course, but it’s still my instinct.
Which means this letting go of the plans thing, resisting all of the Pinterest ideas and super fun printables, is very different from what I’m used to and it is pretty different from what the kids are used to, as well.
So today when I was working with my sixth grader and my youngest two children were waiting for me to read with them, I simply answered the expectant looks on their faces by telling them to go find something quiet to do for a little while.
And, no, they couldn’t turn on the TV.
They disappeared, reappearing in the kitchen about five minutes later to snag a piece of fruit. After the first banana, I thought they were just snacking. Then they took a kiwi and some apples. When one of them took a whole cantaloupe I knew something was up.
I followed them out to the crafting table where the kids happily announced that they were “having art class, mom!” They had set up a platter with various pieces of fruit and were sitting quietly drawing it.
You know, like you do. Ha!
They came up with a great, creative way to spend their time on their own. I love it! And they didn’t need me to facilitate it, which I loved as well.
I knew they’d be fine, I did. Okay, admittedly in the big picture this isn’t an important deal. It’s a few minutes quietly drawing fruit.
The thing is that there are moments when what I KNOW and what I’m AFRAID OF (boredom leading to fighting and chaos, for example) are at odds with each other.
Sometimes my fear wins.
I need to continue to work on that as a parent. In the meantime, these small daily reminders that I can let go are good for me.
It was nice to see, once again, that I can let go and it will be okay.
So, there you go: an impromptu fruit drawing lesson reminded me that, at least for today, my kids will be just fine without me planning every moment of our homeschool day. (And I still have that binder handy, just in case.)
Do you struggle with letting go sometimes, too?