Do you ever have a plan?
A plan you so meticulously organized exactly to your liking, and then it didn’t go the way it was written out?
I’m one of those people that likes to make charts.
And then I make lists for my charts.
With sticky notes and highlighted key words.
It can be a blessing and a curse.
And I try not to become frustrated when my charted plans don’t go…well…as planned.
But with homeschooling, half the beauty of it is the flexibility; the freedom to turn anything into an educational experience. Whether it’s a trip to the grocery store or setting off a model space shuttle at the park. We can do school in the morning, or school in the afternoon. We can spend two hours at the library or go to a church play group.
But whatever we might do that day: I have planned it out ahead of time.
I’m not admittedly one for spontaneity.
But I really want to be…
So on Friday, when we went down to the basement to start school for the morning, I wasn’t expecting what was about to happen.
It wasn’t part of my plan.
Judah didn’t want to do circle time.
(insert screeching car sounds)
He told me he wanted to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and put his United States Puzzle together. But, the rest of our usual circle time routine was refused with every desperate Mommy attempt.
There I stood, rejected and confused.
I don’t catch curve balls.
Instead, Judah headed right to his shelves and picked up his magnet lesson. He sorted his magnets and played with them for only a few minutes.
Then he picked up a large magnet and threw it across the room.
It landed with a thud about 8 feet away.
Shocked and frustrated, I gathered myself and was about to start in, for what felt like the ten millionth time, on the explantation of why we do not throw our school materials.
But before I could say anything, he threw another one. This one was much smaller in size. It landed about 3 feet away from him.
Judah walked over to the first magnet and examined it. Then he walked back to the second one and examined it intently.
By this point, I was beyond my ‘talk’, and was watching, mystified.
He glanced at me and said “Mom, the big magnet went really far. But the little one didn’t!”
In an instant, it hit me.
(Are you following yet…?)
We spent the next 45 minutes throwing magnets across the basement and hypothesizing how far we thought they would go. Of course, scientifically, there was no constant for our poor throwing arms.
Nevertheless, Judah was genuinely intrigued by the heavy/large objects going longer distances than the smaller/lightweight objects. We used masking tape on the floor to draw out where the different sized objects landed.
(I didn’t catch too many pictures because we were so into it!)
What could have been another monotonous reprimanding turned into a learning experience.
And the best part about the whole thing was that it was all his idea.
I know it’s cliche, and I’m sure plenty of you reading this are going…”uh…duh, Krista”.
But for someone who always has a plan, this was such a monumental moment for me.
I can scour Pinterest for hours, searching for the most fun and creative preschool learning ideas around.
I can read every Montessori-inspired blog and website out there.
I can bring 75 library books home every week, stay up late making nomenclature cards and practical life lessons, and sign my kids up for every extracurricular activity we can afford.
But nothing. Nothing. Compares to our children generating their own educational experiences.
And if we would just stop…
Stop living out of a day planner.
Stop being so concerned with lunch being served exactly at 12:00 on the dot.
Stop rushing our kids to tie their shoes faster.
Stop feeling frustrated when play time spills into nap time.
Stop getting upset if they are doing something that isn’t fitting into our schedule.
Stop and listen. Stop and watch. Stop and learn.
These babies of ours are so much more brilliant than we give them credit for.
They have imaginations and creativity coming out of their ears!
Yes, we have so much to teach them. But…
My boys teach me how to smile when I don’t feel like smiling.
They teach me how to play pirates in my pajamas and peekaboo at the breakfast table.
They teach me how to pray when I am hurting.
How to sing when I am cranky.
How to turn up the music and dance in the living room, even when I’m exhausted and need a third cup of coffee.
And how to love unconditionally, no matter what the cost.
It doesn’t always come naturally for me.
I need to be reminded, on a regular basis to put down my lists and my charts and let my kids teach me a thing or two.
But when those beautiful moments do happen, they are so much more worth it than any perfectly planned agenda.