Friday, August 13, 2010

The Gift of Play

Some days I stress because it seems like we didn't do enough "school." Did the kids learn enough? Did I keep them busy enough? I suspect those days happen to all us homeschooling mamas. After all, part of the reason our family decided to homeschool was to give our kids a really great education. We want a quality learning environment, awesome experiences, unique adventures.

Today was one of those days. Mama wasn't feeling so hot today, and we took it easy. Of course by afternoon I was disappointed in how little I felt we accomplished. Then I looked at my children, who were happily playing on the floor with a pan full of corn and a bunch of little counting bears and other assorted little plastic guys. I watched them for a little while, saw Eli pouring small cups of corn into a bigger cup, listened to Reese act out elaborate stories with the little plastic guys. I heard Reese and Eli negotiating, learning to work and play together for a common goal.

Isn't that education at it's finest? And it didn't happen because I sat anyone down with a worksheet and a book. It didn't happen because I said, "All right, it's time to play bears and guys." It was simply play.

Days like today I remember that we choose to live a simpler life. We choose to not overschedule our children. We choose to have me stay at home to be with them. We choose to set up a situation that gives our children the gift of play. And every day is a chance for a new choice. It's helpful for me to keep our focus, to remember why we do what we do.

Not to say we aren't busy! The lack of blogging this week says otherwise. :) We saw friends, went to an LLL meeting, and got to take a tour of Petco. There were reading lessons and lessons about letters. We had a Spanish numbers lesson with friends. We read books, painted a picture of the solar system, and drew pictures. We wrote letters to friends. We did chores and cooked meals. We went swimming.

I'm glad I let them play. I'm glad my parents chose to give me time to play as well. It feels good to do something that is so right for my children. :)

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