One year of homeschooling taught me a lot about the quality of time versus the quantity of it. One hour from an eager, interested child can be worth more than a whole year of studying a subject they find uninteresting.
Christmas time is my favorite time of year and I revel in the lights and the celebration of Christ’s birth. However holidays in general bring on a lot of stress, worry, debt, and clutter. Amidst all the chaos it also brings a lot of opportunity for time spent with children during the holiday break with many toys, games and hobbies to explore.
When I’m Christmas shopping I try to think of activites or games to be enjoyed during christmas break. When relatives ask me what my kids want. I pick from a list ive been building of what they’ve asked for and what they should actually recieve. When we invest in experiences or toys that offer repeat play or education, we have opportunities to really connect with our children.
With 5 kids, it can be a daunting task to devote 100% of my attention to any one of them for too long. My anxiety sky rockets when 5 little people need me to help them, or change them or feed them. As I write this post I have a sick baby pulling on my arm. Through prayer, most certainly through the prayers of others with more clout upstairs than I, I’m becoming a more opportunistic and patient version of my former self.
I am trying to put my phone down more or close my lap top and really be present….and listen….which is hard when your kid wants to talk about minecraft or pokemon. But even though I don’t have an interest in these things, I have learned bits and pieces because when they talk to me it is an extension of themselves. I don’t know how to play Pokemon but I have learned more than I wanted to know in order to make my kid feel vied when they are excited about that new card or that new region offered.
Recently, in a quietish moment of the evening we all wound up around the kitchen table. Eve received an embroidery kit and was learning to embroider. J was making woven beaded animals and Eli was learning to build a car. At first I wanted to be frustrated. J and Eve hadn’t read the directions and kept twllinf me their tasks were impossible or didn’t make sense. Eve wasn’t comprehending what she was reading when she finally did read the directions and J….waz being lazy I think. Amidst my irritation I realized that I had never thought about teaching my kids the most basic part of learning: Reading the instructions or even that one needed to be taught correctly how to read instructions. Then again, I know PLENTY of adults who don’t read them either.
In the middle of creating a beaded gecko and a few embroidered stitches before the thread became entangled, they learned how to be a little more independent….and how to read directions.
Looking back, the moments were fleeting and the evening soon turned to clean up and dinner time. But there was a moment, moments really, of time when I had to put aside myself and I’m glad I did.
As for Eli, who couldn’t figure out the car or find the screw he lost to build it, next time, try turning on the lights!