“School,” Christmas-style

I think that, sometimes, I am so bent on the school-part of school that I forget the fun part.  It’s personality, I think.  I adore learning.  I adore learning about interesting, in-danger-of-being-forgotten things.  I adore reading good books, and having good conversation about them.  I love science experiments, and reading about — and doing — exploration.  I love hikes where we are immersed in discovery and surrounded by beauty.  I love that my stepdad, the mostly-retired music teacher, comes weekly to teach my boys about beats and notes and old folk songs.

In addition to the above loves, I also tend to be a list-completer.  If something’s on the list, be it chores or school assignments, and it doesn’t get done, I get a tightness in my chest, and feel rather grumpy.

Conflicting with that,  I have a creative side.  BUT, it’s usually not enough creativity to override my sense of Needing to be Responsible, so you’re more likely to find me washing the cushions of the dining room chairs instead of sitting down for a good, gooey craft.

I also tend to do Real School stuff, right up until the last day before a break… and I tend not to study/explore things based on a seasonal or holiday nature.  KWIM?  We’re doing that math and English right up until the last day before Christmas break.  I think I feel the pressure of the expectations of others, as to what school is supposed to be, that same sort of expectation that gives me a sick feeling when I get The Disapproving Eye from others when I take my kids out for some event or even just for errands during the midst of a “normal” school day.  “Oh, your kids don’t have school today?” is usually the kindest question we receive in situations like that.

So, I tend to overcompensate, based on my personality and tendencies, and to keep ourselves free from the possibility of reproachfulness that homeschooling-skeptics might want to dish out.  We school, man!  My kids are learning.  So there!  No fluffy, fun seasonal projects, no sirree!  We’re doing the Three Rs, plus history and Bible and music!  That’s it, that’s all! 

I’m trying, though, to be more flexible and fun in our schooling, and to how others might judge our family.  (Anyways, I remember doing things like making Christmas ornaments and the like each year of school!  “Real” schools do projects.)  I have decided — or at least, I think I’ve decided — to give my tendencies a rest this year.  I think that next week, we are going to make an allergen-free gingerbread house and enter it into our city’s yearly competition.  It’s a pretty low-key competition, and we’re not going to be going for the big win or anything;  I just want to be involved.

Also, I think we’re going to make Christmas cards next week, too… 

My “need” to do things “right” often conflicts with the true need of involving my kids in things where they will likely not do a perfect job — like chores and gingerbread houses and Christmas cards.  So, it’s my goal to plan and facilitate and teach… but also let them have freedom and fun and not make it a job

We’ll see if I can do that right.   


About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on November 26, 2007, in Contests, Homeschooling, Motherhood, Parenting, The Kids. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Good luck finding your balance. It’s such a big challenge to keep it all in moderation, and balance those different needs. Sometimes I feel like I seesaw all the time.

  2. Oh my goodness can I relate to that!!! I always have these great ideas of things I WANT to do in my head and I never seem to make them happen. I get so consumed with each lesson for each subject getting completed each day that I don’t take time for things like you’re talking about. If I could change one thing about how we school – that would be it.

  3. Good for you! Make that gingerbread house.

    I know what you mean about wanting things done right…I am sometimes amused by watching my husband with the kids. He does the project, they watch. I note that this really isn’t a group project and they aren’t learning so much this way, even if it is cleaner.

    Then I catch myself doing the same thing in other areas. Boy is it easier to be the armchair parent!

  4. Sara ~ I have decided that see-sawing isn’t such a bad thing. I mean, it would be fantastic if I could be all things all the time, but I just don’t have the brain power to keep it all sorted. So, I tend to see-saw, too. Things are well-rounded (sort of), but not all at once. 🙂

    MLBAH ~ See? I knew I liked you. We’re twins. I have to schedule all the creative stuff or it doesn’t get done; it gets pushed aside for more “important” things.

    Dana ~ Thanks!! Both my hubby and me are like you & your husband. I’m trying, though, to let go….

  5. Haha! You are too funny! Yes, we are definitely alike in many ways. 🙂

  6. You and I are very much alike! I’ve never been able to put it into words so well, though.

    I found your blog while doing a search for GF cookies, and now I’m really enjoying reading everything else. Thanks!

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