Yesterday at park day a friend said she wanted to "pick my brain". She had a not so wee baby wrapped on her, as well as a 5 year old and 7 year old running around.
"How do you do it?" she asked. She seemed tired and frazzled. "What do your days look like?"
So, here it is. What our days look like.
Some look like today. It's spring break in our local school district, so my oldest has a public schooled friend over. They're playing Magic the Gathering, safe from little brothers in the sanctuary of his bedroom. The two brothers across the street are off school too, so my younger two are outside playing with them, drawing a village on the side walk with chalk. When I'm done typing, maybe I'll go do some spring cleaning in the garden and spread some brown gold around. These are golden days.
Some days look like last Tuesday. We were home all day. My 11 year old did his piano practice and math before he got on the computer. My 8 year old decided HE wanted to do math too and picked up the first Life of Fred, doing the first test. Later in the day he asked if he could start Math-U-See and proceeded to do the first beta test. When our piano teacher got here I had to tell him to stop doing math so he could have his piano lesson. My 5 year old felt left out so got out markers and a write-on/wipe-off mat and practiced his numbers. Just before bed time the younger two were doing dot-to-dots, and the oldest was working on The Python Challenge. Wow! With the kids begging for more math, I tell you, I felt like a brilliant homeschooling mom.
Then there are other days. There are days when we have to do laundry, and the children are fighting, and it seems like every set of toys with small parts has been out on the floor for eons. There are days when we are running around doing errands and picking up and dropping off from classes, just to come home exhausted and grumpy.
The days I notice that the spoodge around the toilet is beginning to look back at me, the weeds are as tall as the children, my energy is falling and my temper is rising -these are real homeschooling days too. I don't write about them too often, I figure any parent would know those days are to be expected. I realized talking to my friend at the park, maybe you don't know. Maybe you think my days are really all golden magic math days. They're not. Still, I'm here to tell you it's O.K. The golden days will come, the hard days will pass. What your focus on is your own choice.
I could tell my friend was "doing" more than enough. This stage in our parenting lives, with little ones and babies, is a great time to explore unschooling and relaxed eclectic homeschooling. I'm not suggesting unparenting, nor am I suggesting letting the children run the house hold. I'm suggesting that we think about what is really important to us and then choose where we'll spend our energy.