It was a wrestling match between one part of my brain and the other.
The part of my brain that appreciates organization, values when all the parts to the game or puzzle are put away with the game, and finds rest in order began to twitch as the other side of my brain- the part that likes creativity and fluidity- cheered for my new idea. This little internal battle occurred while I was prepping for preschool with my third child this summer. I did preschool with my older two kids six and seven years ago and had acquired many new games and tools for learning since then. But, with this third child, I knew things had to be different.
So the standoff happened in my dining room as I took inventory of all my goods and while I was trying to select the best method of learning for the youngest student. I wanted to approach the year from a “letter of the week” angle. I own a number of alphabet puzzles, games and other activities….and they all sat there, starring at me from the table. The creative part of my brain began to take over. Was I seriously about to dismantle these toys and sets in order to build my own letter of the week activities? I was.
And I did. I grabbed 26 gallon-sized plastic bags and labelled them each with a letter. Then I began the destruction of my well organized games and puzzles. I opened them up and took the “a” things from each one and put them all in the “a” bag, then all the “b” and so on. 30 minutes later, I had separated all the pieces into 26 different bags. The table looked like a tornado came through the room, but I was more prepared for preschool than I ever was with my older two. Each bag contained the parts to a letter basket, small toys that began with that letter, some had high-frequency yet short picture books, basic worksheets and other small activities.
This exercise felt like a rather unimportant out-of-body experience. It was as if I was watching myself fight my own methods and do what was best for my son. We, parents, do this all the time when it comes to their well-being, large scale education decisions, and other parts of raising kids. But, for some reason, this was a tough task for me to let myself accomplish. I was proud that I was able to make it happen for him. Now that it is done, I do have to admit that it is very nice to just reach into our storage bin and grab the bag we need for the whole week.
In your homeschool experiences thus far, have you encountered an intersection of how you want to do things and how your children need things done? Or perhaps you see a need for a change in organization for simplicities sake, but it goes against what you wish? Parenting and homeschooling stretches us and smooths us in the process. When it is all done, you won’t be able to tell me apart from my favorite superhero, Elasta-girl!
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Lindsay Banton is a caffeinated mother to three great kids. She never expected to homeschool, but has found that it is a wonderful addition to their lifestyle and wouldn’t change it for the world. In addition to homeschooling, Lindsay works alongside her husband in campus ministry at a large university in Connecticut. She grew up in Virginia but has settled into life in New England, learning to love the long winters, cool springs, green summers and gorgeous autumns- and has built a boot collection to meet all the demands. She is currently blogging at www.lindsaybanton.com.