16 April 2007

How do THEY do it?

I think that is my biggest question is, " How do THEY do it?!" I mean how do all the other homeschooling mothers get any time to themselves to do anything?! I see homeschooling mothers blogging all the time, most of them seem to get to it every day, at least several times a week, even other unschoolers and life learners. So maybe it is not the fact that I am a homeschooling mother, maybe it is that I am an attachment parenting mother? But even there I see, hear, meet other attachment parenting mothers that seem to be able to accomplish so much more than I am able to fit into a day. So could it be that I am an attachment parenting, homeschooling mother? Do I spend more time with my children, being their mother, homeschooling them than others do?... Do I spend too much time?... Is there such a thing? It is days like today that I truly wonder about this!

But I suppose the flip side is that I DO get to spend time with my children. I know my children, sometimes better than they know themselves, although I think that is just a matter of me having more experience than them. I know what my children enjoy, I know what they are learning, I know when they are watching tv or playing video games, and I know what they are watching or playing.

So, how do I do it? Do I sit over them or worry about it? Absolutely NOT! I am truly involved, I know what they enjoy because we do it together. I know them so well because I really listen to them. I know what they are learning, because we do so much of it together. I know what they are watching or playing because we watch and play it together.

Does that ever change? Does that ever get easier? Well, in many ways it does get easier.... I believe a mother can only handle so much of Caillou, Elmo, Jay Jay the Jet Plane, Thomas the Tank Engine, etc, and retain their sanity. So as children get older their interests grow and expand. Not that the 2 year old isn't capable of watching a movie like Spirited Away and understanding it, just that they spend more time doing more involved things as they get older. Does that make Elmo a bad thing? Certainly not! I value all the time that I spent watching all those "kid shows" with each of my children. Watching them absorb information, knowing how they came to that strange conclusion, being there to help them understand the information they were processing. And to answer the first question, Yes, everything changes. Life is about growth, growth is change, without change there would be no life.

So how does it change? Well, every child is different. (Every living thing is different.) I spend more time talking with my teenager (14), and discussing web site content or structure, friends, philosophy, psychology.... With my middle child (6), I play video games and watch movies. Other than that, I spend more time suggesting ideas for the fort project, or new experiment. With my youngest child (4), I spend a lot of time talking (or rather listening), preparing food, taking care of plants and animals, sounding out letters and words, reading books, and bouncing on the trampoline or chasing through the house. I give each of them the individual attention that they need, in the way that they need it. So what if the 4 year old reads before the 6 year old. That's what they each needed right now. On the other hand, I expect the 6 year old to be assembling computers by the end of the year, while the 4 year old may never do that. Do I worry that the 6 year old may never read? (You don't know much about The Law of Attraction, do you?) I have complete confidence that the 6 year old will learn to read when he is ready to. In fact, he sight reads many words, while the 4 year old is busy learning the phonics. Perhaps he is learning all of the phonics from across the room, maybe he's lurking behind the door listening in! Or perhaps he will decode all those letters on his own. I would never worry about children who are allowed to explore their world, and have their questions answered... only those who are constantly criticized.

And perhaps that is my answer. Maybe I will try to stop criticizing myself for not getting everything done in a day or a week. And start focusing on all the things that I do accomplish. And let all those other people wonder how I do it!

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