It seems I rarely do this. I never have time to play, I'm "busy" getting the dishes done, or I have to "hurry" and vaccum. I forget about story time. When I'm actually cooking, it always just seems easier for me to "do it myslef" QUICKLY. And by golly those clean clothes will get muddy in the rain, and I wouldn't want to get grass stains... that will just be one more thing I have to do, UGH!!
Why does this happen??!! I have such great intentions, and do truly desire to do these things with the kids, How do you make yourself "stop and smell the roses"?? I mean for heavens sake, I stay home with my children so I can STAY HOME WITH MY CHILDREN!! Right? How come it doesn't turn out that way.
Unschooling sounds so appealing but would require a "rich" environment. One filled with all the things mentioned above! One I'm terrified that I'm failing at. Do any of you struggle with this?
People keep asking what I have beenup to and my reply is "I don't know" I genuinely have no idea where all my time goes. My house isn't cleaned, my children aren't being attended too, I am not loafing (although i am always exahsted which means i do spend a considerable amount of time staring at the wall). One of the problems of being a stay at home homeschooling mom is that our houses are extremely lived in and we are always fighting the battle to keep it livable. I try to make it clear to my children that of they would pitch in and clean up after themselves I would have more time to play with them and read to them but they don't take the bait. I was going to unschool but I decided a more structured approach was bvetter for us because it forces me to make sure my dd is actiually learning something daily. Of i don't plan on tuning in I just might not.
The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it. We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.
In the past I was the perfectly attentive mom....but somewhere along the way, I lost that ability! Now, I spend way too much time on the computer (for work and pleasure), worry too much about keeping the house clean, take time each day for yoga and meditation (though that's not such a bad thing), and find myself staring at the walls a lot, lost in thought. Lately, I've felt very distracted and just can not stay in the moment. Especially with ds. I'm working on this, and hope I can get back in the groove soon, but it's really hard. There's just so much going on in the world and in my life that it's hard to concentrate on Yu-Gi-Oh! and Bionicles, you know?
I, too, love the idea of unschooling, but HAVE to have some structure in my day. If I didn't make time to sit down and "do lessons" with ds, I don't think he'd be stimulated enough by our home environment to learn very much. As it is, I take a very relaxed approach to our homeschooling and never force or pressure him to study something he doesn't want to. And if we have days that we don't feel like doing workbooks, or whatever, well...we just don't do them. Fortunately, ds loves workbooks, and math problems, and practicing his reading. So, doing this together makes us both happy (and allows me to interact with him without having to play Transformers Armada!).
Don't get me wrong. I DO play with him...a lot. I have to since he's an only child and I'm the only one here with him during the day. But I'm no good at the "action-adventure" things he likes best. I'm more of a board game, jigsaw puzzle kind of mom. So, ds and I actually sat down together one day and made up a list of fun things that we BOTH like to do. So if one of us suggests something that the other isn't interested in, we compromise and pick something off the list. This has helped me find ways to play with him, without pulling my hair out.
Ok...I feel like I'm rambling tonight. It's late and ds is still up and about. Got to get that little guy (and myself) to bed!
P.S. Bellafinn, I got just replied to your pm!
This is funny: I got a book called "Rainy Day Crafts and Activities" recently. DS will sit and just pour over the book. Occasionally he'll ask to do one of the crafts, and either we don't have the proper materials or it's not a good time for doing a craft project (we've only done one of them so far). So simply looking at the book is his crafty outlet - does that count as craft time?!
One thing about the "stop to smell the roses" approach to parenting that I find challenging is what you do when a baby enters the family. I wish I could follow ds#1's rhythm more throughout the day, but I find it much harder with a baby. I did wear ds#2 in the sling a bunch (not as much now - he's more resistant to it, plus he's heavy!) and all that, but it's just such a different dynamic when you have to meet the very different needs of two very different children. I'm always shushing ds#1 while ds#2 naps; it's harder to read to him because the baby grabs the pages; I have less patience and energy for prolonged bedtime routines because the baby needs to get to bed, etc, etc, etc. Maybe I'm being a baby - after all plenty of you have far more than two children! - but it's sometimes a struggle for me.
It reminds me of something I read on another homeschooling board. A mom there was discussing this same topic we're discussing here....she said that she had just started doing FlyLady trying to keep her house clean, and that she felt she had to get all her housework done first, before she could give herself permission to spend some time playing with her child. Well, another mom on the board wisely said that maybe this lady should play with her child first before giving herself permission to do her flylady chores. I thought that was wonderful. Simplistic, and wonderful.
I mean,I will say I want to do this or that....but then I let real life get in the way. Or, I will spend too much time reading over ideas of things to do or ways to do something...when if I just put the book/phone/mouse/magazine down....I might be able to do it!
Am currently blaming my inability to do things on the end of winter blues....my energy,creativity, and motivation are somewhere underneath the mounds of snow. Just WAITING to explode.
So good to know I'm not alone!!!!!!!
Before the kids go to bed, I set the timer for 10 minutes and everybody works together to get the things put away that we've had out during the day -- shoes, toys, books, etc. When the timer buzzes, we stop. One thing I've learned from flylady is that jobs will expand to take up all the time available, so limiting how much time we allot to them forces us to work harder and drop the perfectionism. It also frees us for other things -- I read to my kids for about 30 minutes at bedtime.
Flylady wouldn't approve of some one spending all day doing house work. Her point it is set the timer, do your work, and then take your kids to the park.
Our house isn't perfect and it never will be, but we all have clean clothes and we can find the things we want. Our house is tidy enough that we are comfortable and I wouldn't be embarrassed if someone stopped by. Dinners are simple but they are healthy and yummy.
I don't spend much time playing with my kids. I really don't even understand how they play and they have more fun without me. I read to them, take them to the park, and make art supplies available. I cook something special with them once a week, but for the most part they don't want to help with dinner and it goes faster without them. Sometimes we do crafts, but not often. Right now they seem to perfer just painting, or cutting and pasting. They did go through a phase when they really liked crafts, so I would let them pick out something from a craft book and on our errand day we would pick up the things for it that we didn't already have.
The key for me was finding enough structure that we are free to do the things we want to do, and letting go of the ideal of being the perfect mom.
The key for me was just finding things that I do like to play so I can balance that with playing the things that I don't like to play.
I think that when we reach a point that day after day we go to bed feeling guilty about what didn't get done and aren't sure what did get done, then it is time to stop and figure out a different way to go through our days. I've been there before, and I'm sure that I'll make more adjustments as my kids grow and we enter new stages. They way we live now with a 4 and a 6 year old is totally different from when they girls where babies and I'm sure that I'll make many more changes as they get older.
On one good note I put Autumn in a cool preschool where they let her get real dirty and do stuff like puddle stompin' in the rain and paint their hair...etc. Be a kid. So she's going to get it somewhere. IT's hard to watch, but I'm getting used to it.. LOL
That's why I made a point of sitting down with ds and figuring out the things that I DO like to play, so that we have options that make us both happy and I'm not stuck playing action figures and hot wheels every day.
Sandra Dodd (on another homeschool site) once said that as homeschoolers we should make sure our children get our attention at least as often as they would get attention at school (or something to that effect). So if I figure out how much interaction ds would get from classmates and teacher during a school day....I need to be sure he gets that much during our day at home. Some of that comes from doing our lessons together, some comes from just being together living our life, and some has to come from playing -- doing things that HE wants to do. I'm not saying that everyone should do this or should even agree with this idea.....it's just what I've had to do to keep my family happy.
I think it's great that you and your daughters have found what works best for your family! That's all any of us can do!
P.S. Yvonne -- I know what you mean about messes. I'm working through this issue myself. I'm naturally a neat person, so I tend to avoid any messy activities (unless we do them outside). But I'm working on changing that...a day at a time!
Our lesson time is truly quality time. We do very cool things like owl pellets, play with math manipulatives, etc. The kids really enjoy it and don't like it when we take breaks. We tried unschooling for a while but it didn't work for us because my kids really like me to have a plan AND it was too easy to not spend enough time with them. I guess we each have to figure out what works for us.