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Thursday, October 12, 2006

When Togetherness Loses its Allure

Many of us here at Writer…Interrupted are homeschooling our children. Homeschooling is a wonderful way to connect on a daily (more like hourly) basis with each other, but it’s easy to lose something special in the process.

If my children were away from home for their school day, what fun I’d have getting ready to welcome them off the bus. Of course I’d have had all day to get the house spotless, hours of writing goals accomplished (right?), and enough time alone to really miss my angels. That magical first hour of their bursting through the door could be spent enjoying each other before homework and supper took over. Perhaps I’d just be pulling chocolate chip cookies out of the oven, or rolling crispy hot donuts in sugar…filling the house with all the wonderful smells of “mom” and “home”. We’d sit together at the kitchen table. I’d listen enthusiastically to their tales of friends and foes. The realist in me knows that challenges are to be found however you choose to rear/educate your children. When the demands of homeschooling or work have the mother in you going stale, shake things up a bit. This is the perfect time of year for an “unschooling day”. In other words, take the day off. Carve out some time for you, and while you're at it, spend some quality time with your children. Here are some ideas:

  • Pull out the craft supplies and have a contest. (Set up ramps and see who can make the best vehicle to carry an egg passenger down the ramp)
  • Go to the library together and help them find several of your childhood favorites. Then treat them at the health food store, or run home and have hot chocolate with whipped cream as you read together.
  • Play board games, or do a puzzle. Really focus on that parent/child bonding.
  • Have a treasure hunt. Plan ahead for the first snow by filling two ice cube trays with water and coloring the water with various food colorings. After it snows, hide these pretty cubes around the yard for the kids to find. Or fill water guns with colored water and have them go spray designs in the snow.
  • Get all your scissors out and square off some computer paper for a snowflake cutting activity. Ever hear of Dave’s Snowflake Patterns? Go print some off, they’re amazing!
  • Go to the craft store and splurge on a new craft idea. We love playing with and baking Sculpey clay. Check the library for how-to books and let the creativity soar! A book we highly recommend: The Sculpey Way with Polymer Clay, 74 Projects Clearly Shown with Step by Step Photos.

The homeschooling life is a blessing we love to describe, yet sometimes in the process of meeting the educational goals of each child we lose sight of the bigger picture. “Togetherness” is so important. Our kids need our undivided attention now and then, and not just so we can impart the math objectives of the day.

Think back to when you were a child. What special memories do you have? Make a point to make some lasting memories. If not today, then soon.

Mary is an old-fashioned thirty-something wife, homeschooler, and aspiring writer. Her blog, Home-steeped Hope, feeds her love/pursuit of the written non-fiction word while her women's fiction "dreams" wait TBR (to be revised)...

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