Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sewing and other things

One problem with being the at home parent and homeschooling is that it can feel like I never have time to myself. I feel like one of the children can call, "Mama!" at any point in the day or night, and I am duty bound to respond. There are times that I do not, but I am ever alert for whether or not I ought to.

Homeschool means that more hours of my day are devoted very specifically to the children. This is no sleight against mothers whose children go to school; it's just that I have a very loose parenting style. My normal mode of parenting is interaction interspersed with large blocks of, "Go play!" In order to feel like I am actually doing the work of schooling the children, I believe I need spend more time knowing exactly what they are doing.

Also, in the past years, I have written the curriculum by pulling from different sources. On any given day, all of the material presented to the children was chosen by me alone. I felt I was doing something important, that I was "ensouling" the material I presented. I also felt responsible when the children were not interested or even rebelled. I wondered what I did wrong that I failed to even mildly prick their curiosity.

This year, we are doing a heavy dose of Charlotte Mason alongside the Waldorf flavored curriculum. I am using two different prepared math curricula, too. I fretted a bit that the children would not be held in the warmth of my love by using someone else's Cliffs Notes to decide what to bring them. But, that's not what is happening.

The children are delighted. They like all the different material. They like the new math work. They move easily (for the most part) from one task to another without asking me over and over why they have to do this or when school will be over. Even Phaedra, who is adamantly opposed to learning German, was suddenly speaking German today just for fun. They excitedly tell Jason and other people about what they're reading and what new thing they learned in math. Heck, I'm delighted.

What does this have to do with sewing?

Well, on Tuesday, our second day of school, I just took pictures of the children as they worked because I had a few free minutes. On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, I had time to write a couple of letters. This way of doing school is actually giving me a bit of personal time during school hours. I cannot talk on the phone or absent myself emotionally, but I can do things that permit chatting and stopping and starting.

I spent all of today cutting out about 10 different things to sew. Next week, during school, I can spend some time putting a few of these together. It will bring joy to my life to be able to do this; partly because I love sewing, but also because I will be working alongside the children, not just overseeing their work. And that was what I imagined homeschool would be about.

No comments:

Post a Comment