People often ask how you can homeschool and not go crazy. Well, I'll tell you, it does NOT come from them, it would definitely come from me if crazy were to happen! I try to keep the crazy during our homeschool days to a good kind of crazy. Crazy where I'm running around with my head cut off, not fun. I'm sure you feel me. The solution, I have found, is non interference! That doesn't mean letting them do whatever they want. It means setting a good environment, planning well, and then letting them have it with you as coach, guard, and referee to guide things back on track when needed. I found that, age appropriately, if I allow them to have more responsibility for themselves rather than doing everything for them, which is not your job homeschoolers, the crazy is off me and I can go about my day. I have planned directed learning times for the subjects I know they struggle most with, but they are a SMALL part of our day. The rest is set up so they can do it mainly for themselves. Even my toddler. yes, at two years old, and now three, I have the environment set up so that he can help himself. If you are wondering how you are doing putting your child in charge of their responsibilities, here's a trick:
Get a book and a drink (no not that kind of drink, I was meaning tea, coffee, hot chocolate) and go sit in your favorite chair with a comfortable blanket, facing the window and enjoy the beautiful day you were intended to have, with your children in close observance of you of course. Ha! Yeah, right!? No I'm serious. The day is meant to be enjoyable...for you and for them. Now here's the hard part...if they don't NEED you for every little whim good job! ( I know, we have a hard time with this. We need to be needed, but then you are feeling stressed right? So time to back off and let the growing up happen mama) OH yeah, and the kids are productive, not on their phones or tvs!
If you are able to sit down and be mindful of yourself for ANY part of the day, this is great. It means you have set up an environment that is safe, occupying and entertaining, while being purposeful and educative. It is an environment where all can tend to the tasks at hand and feel peaceful rather than stressed. It starts with you, parent. If you're running around, they will follow wherever your energy is. Root yourself in one spot where there is lots for them to do, they will wander less wanting to stay by you rather than following you around, will feel content and comfortable knowing where to find you, plus you know you are paving the way for responsbile children to grow into the world.
How do I do this?
I learned along time ago I did not want to be the one washing my kids hands forever. No, instead I taught him how to get on his stool, get the towel, and wash his own. This carried on into ways he could have pride for taking care of himself, safely.
I have his sippy cups ready in the fridge. When he is thirsty he can get them. When I get up, I set out the older boys baskets with all their lessons written on a planner and all the items necessary in the basket. I set out "centers" for my 3 year old, special blanket stations with interesting toys on them that he doesn't see daily. I also set out "table time" at the table with 4 activities at the ready. The centers are things he can safely do himself while I am available to do directed learning with the bigger boys if needed. Then table activities are my one on one time with my 3 year old that is school specific. I have meals and snacks in crockpots and in the fruit bowl. It is easy for them all to grab right at the counter and eat when they're hungry. What? not sitting down and eating all together? You can, if you want, just have it prepared ahead of time. My older kids like having that say, and we save family meal for supper time.
Scissors, calculators, glue, everything anyone needs is in areas they can find it and get to it without asking. I have a tall cupboard for my older boys keeping unsafe stuff from the little and a separate work station for them. I have a small cupboard for my little guy filled with creative stuff he can safely have access to and a separate work space for him. I am in charge of stocking and clean up so that all things get back to safe positions.
You will find what works for your family, but one thing I know for a fact is the helicopter parent generation is real, and I am not saying to be un safe with your kids, but I definitely believe in their power to, at least in my safe home environment, have as much responsibility over their own needs as possible.
Happy Day and enjoy your book!