Saturday, January 31, 2009

Trying Things Out

When thirsty, fifteen month-old V frequently walks over to the cabinet where we keep the kids' sippy cups and tries to drink from each one, wondering which one might have water in it. These are the magical water-giving cups, after all. Whenever she asks for water, we bring her one of these things and water comes out.

This behavior shows a transition to more independence. She wants to figure out the water thing for herself rather than asking us to get it for her. And it also shows her growing brain's limitations. While she probably has gotten water out of one of the cups from the cabinet before (as she has been known to return full cups of water to the cabinet), she hasn't really figured out all of the steps yet.

I have no doubt that she will. Her powers of imitation are amazing. Sometimes when the big sisters and I are working on math, we sing a song that is a finger play, holding up our hands and moving our fingers. V holds up her hands and "sings" along each time. She will stop whatever she is doing and participate with the song. It is yet to be determined whether this will improve her math skills down the road. Stay tuned for that one.

What is determined is that I have to be very careful about how I act around this little person, because she is really, really paying attention and she wants to do it, too!

In addition, I will try to pay attention to her and how she learns. It can be so easy to get stuck and not know how to solve a problem. It can be easy to try just one sippy cup and give up, not expecting water to spring forth. But I see her working on it every day, with persistence and hope. Seems like something I should learn from her.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

You Know You're From The Northwest If.....

On this rare, gloriously sunny winter day in the Pacific Northwest, I said to my children, "It's so nice out today. We should go out for a walk."

Whereupon G groaned and said, "I don't want to go outside today. It's too bright! It hurts my eyes!"

Friday, January 16, 2009

How Do You Do It?

I get a mix of reaction when I tell folks that I homeschool my kids. Some are profoundly impressed. Others are surprised. Others curious.

There’s one I never expected. “How do you do it?” This isn’t the how do you do it that is truly curious how I go about accomplishing it. These people don’t want to know what lesson plans I follow or what my strategy for creating social networks for my kids are. These are the people who stop flat and ask the question dramatically, and without expecting a practical answer.

And I never know how to respond. Are they asking because they feel insecure? Do they really mean, “I don’t feel like I could do it, so it’s hard for me to understand how anyone else does”?

Should I feel criticized by the question? Are they implying that I don’t have what it takes? “How do YOU – you with the messy house and the scattered brain and the disheveled children – how do YOU do it?”

Maybe they are concerned for me. They wouldn’t find it fun, so they worry that I am toiling in the hell of full time parenting.

Perhaps I should feel concerned for them. Do they not know how to spend that much time with their kids? Do they lack a relationship that satisfies them? Not that I don’t want to flee from my children on occasion….well, sometimes several times a day. And not to imply that those who make different choices don’t have satisfying and robust relationships with their children. But, sometimes I wonder if people who look at me in horror about the time I get to spend with my kids…I wonder if they even think that having a close relationship with school-age children is important.

The fact remains that homeschooling is a choice like any other. I have chosen to have a meager income instead of a healthy one in return for spending almost all of my time with my kids. It is sort of a strange choice even to me when expressed that way. But I also choose to hire help with the housework rather than with the kids. I don’t know how to repair my own car or to play guitar. I am a terrible ice skater and I have never tried to sky dive. But that doesn’t mean that I think those who do are freaks. I think that the world is big enough for all of us.

So, how do I do it? There isn’t a how about it. As with all adventures in parenting, it’s a total immersion program. And I don’t really have a choice other than to persevere. I just do it.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

2008 Year in Haiku

New house growing kids
Broken jaw heals so quickly
Our baby walks now