My daughter was so disappointed when I told her that we would be doing preschool at home this year. She loved her year at preschooler, and she wanted to return. But I reassured her that we’d have plenty of preschool fun. I was surprised, then, to find her completely resistant to the idea of a set preschool time at home. I’ve had to modify my expectation of at-home preschool, and as a result, my active preschooler is much more happy with our new version of school time. Homeschooling an active preschooler is more about expressing and showing a love for learning than it is about making learning a formality.
It was a tired night for me. The kids were cranky, but we still had dinner to go before I could send them to bed! To make matters worse, it was a leftovers night (spaghetti) and I knew that my kids would whine about that too. My husband would not be home for quite some time.
It was up to me to change the mood of the evening. It was up to me to not go crazy as I did so.
It’s a good thing I have been reading The Giant Book of Creativity for Kids. I don’t see myself as a very creative person, but the author of the book certainly is. On a whim, I took up Bobbi Conner’s brief suggestion: I unrolled butcher paper on the table and grabbed some crayons. This was our tablecloth for the night.
He pauses from taking a bite of his sandwich and stares out the window. “Wow, Mom,” he says, returning to our world. “I just keep thinking of ideas for stories!”
I had given him access to a recording program so he could dictate the story he had told me the day before. He had spent an hour narrating the story on to the record. I’d promised to type up his stories when he was done. He could edit his stories as he recorded them.
This is the child who has resisted any type of writing in my own co-op class this year. And this is the boy I remember from the past: full of stories and ideas.
Later, he kneels on the driveway, chalk in hand, drawing only he knows what on the pavement. I think it is a town for his bike to drive through, because as we go inside two hours later, he says, “I hope it does not rain tonight!”
As his little sister climbs to the play house on top of the slide, she reaches for the tree branches hanging just over the side. “Ooooo, yummy apples!” She declares, biting in to an invisible fruit. “You want some?” She holds out her chubby arm, inviting me to take an invisible apple of my own.
Dirt, everywhere. This is the result of not having sand under the slide. Strawberry digs in the dirt. For more than an hour.
This is summer.
This summer is going to be a time of learning. But it will also be a time of exploration and creativity. It is time to embrace our creative sides. This will be our summer of creativity.
This week has been a relief to me. Although we have not finished all of our formal curricula, I’m pretty certain I’m done with the official school days. Co-op is over. Our park district weekly P.E. class is finished. Next year, since my son will be seven, we’ll have to track more carefully. But this year, first grade is complete.
We have worked hard. Now it is time to play.
Image by Nattu