Sunday, May 22, 2011

Home(school) improvement week 1: Present with my children

This week's goal:

Spend more time truly present with my kids. Read more books, sing more songs, take walks and talk. Cut back on movies and computer time.

Where we are now:

The internet is not a huge obstacle for me; just a little one. I check email and Facebook a lot, but I try to make it quick. When I do stay online for a long time, almost all of what I'm reading is parenting-related. The baby is frequently nursing at the same time. I don't play games or frequent any forums. And the TV? During the day it is off. The only time it's on is if Jordan watches the news and doesn't turn it off before he leaves for work. I used to let Suzi watch a movie every afternoon, but we are working on that and she didn't watch any this past week.

So what is the main obstacle? There are two. The biggest distraction for me is the urge to get things done. It drives me nuts that there are toys all over the floor and I'd like to get them picked up before we do anything else. Or there's this drawer I really want to clean out. Or we might be running out of clean diapers. It's so nice to see one cleaning task done that I sometimes get carried away and will clean almost all day. The problem is I'm not including the children. I just sort of halfheartedly answer their questions and shuffle them off to play while I clean.

The other big obstacle is that I dislike being forced into a game of make-believe. I loved it as a child but I stink at it now. I'm not sure why, but it's kind of sad.

What I want to change:

1) Singing songs/circle time - Recently we've taken to singing songs together in the morning. It sort of grew out of me sitting and nursing Robert, and not being able to do much else with the girls at the moment. It's sort of what might be considered "circle time" if we were being formal about this. I'd like to learn more songs and expand this time, and maybe include a discussion of the day of the week, weather, etc.

2) Cleaning tools for the kids - To solve my problem of being distracted by housework, I'd like to get a set of little cleaning tools for the kids to use alongside me. They both love to wipe things with a damp cloth, and what kid doesn't like to use a spray bottle? I still have to do the housework, obviously, so this will allow me to be present with them while I do it. Someone told me this idea a long time ago but I haven't really gotten around to it!

3) Take laptop outside with me - The kids like to play outside in the mornings, and I like to spend a little time online. I am actually finishing this post in our backyard right now while they run around and play. (Oh and I am also nursing Robert in the ring sling--multitasking!) When we go back inside we can sing songs and get started on a fun activity! I'd like to make it a point to get them outside as early as possible each day after breakfast. Letting them run around a little while in the morning sets the tone for our day.

4) Make a felt story board - At a yard sale Saturday I bought a green felt puzzle mat for $1. I'd like to mount it to a piece of foam core board and use felted sweater scraps to make little people and things we can use to tell a story. Miss Ashley had one of these when we did our Waldorf group--but hers was fancy and made with expensive wool.

5) Make an effort to be more present with them during our time together. This is the simplest and most important step.

I will post Friday about how it's going!


Lori @ Beneath the Rowan Tree said...

That sounds wonderful (I am a wannabe homeschooler) and I think whatever the schooling situation that being present is just so critical! Good for you!!


Megan said...

I love your enthusiasm and thoughtfulness about this. I am totally copying you and rethinking/reworking our home life this summer. Who knows? Maybe it will give me the confidence and inspiration I need to homeschool as well.