So I try and maintain a level of tidiness in the house that allows me to find things I’m looking for. This goes for the kids too. When they’re clearly done with something we clean it up. I let them leave things out that they seem like they might be just taking a break from, but in general by the time we go to bed the majority of toys are put in their places. But sometimes. Sometimes it gets CRAY. This is what homeschooling looks like for us this week. Hold on, can I talk about school for a second? We had an incident this week in art class and I need to share it with someone and work it out.
We homeschool. Kind of. Why it matters so much to people what grade Gaspar is in or whether or not he can say ABC’s is really beyond me. Who fucking cares? He’s a kid and he’s amazing, the rest isn’t anyone’s concern. We’ve been through many different attempts at a good flow, and right now I take the kids to a homeschool learning center once a week for an art class and a nature/science class. It’s great for lots of reasons, especially for socializing (them and me). The rest of the week I loosely plan activities in a planner, but mostly we just free form.
So this week we were in art class and G accidentally splashed a tiny bit of paint onto another mom. She snapped at him, gently. It was something I might have said, in a tone that I might have said it TO MY OWN KIDS. She said maybe four words- “Gaspar, you’re splashing paint everywhere”. It was truly not anything horrible, but also it was not okay for her to say that to MY kid. He lost it. He crumpled. He’s a sensitive kid, and his experience at a traditional pre-school has probably scarred him for life (which is why we now homeschool). He turned to me, crying, looking for comfort and safety and I freaked out because he now had paint all over his arm and I didn’t want him to get paint all over me. I held him at arm’s length and tried to comfort him. We washed his hands and his arm, him sobbing the whole time, and we went outside and I talked to him about what happened. I told him it was okay that he splashed paint and that in an art class we get paint on us, and I told him that the other mom was talking to him like she might talk to her kids, and she shouldn’t have spoken to him that way. I hugged him a lot and gave him a billion kisses. I think I made it better and we went back in. But I still feel like an asshole because I should have just hugged him and not cared about the paint. I’m working on that. This week has been kind of about me letting go and letting things be messier for a while longer.
It helps that I caught a cold. I just literally don’t have the energy to get them to clean things up right away. So I’m running with it. Yes my house is chaos right now. But also they’re really engaged in what they’re doing. We’re not doing worksheets. We’re doing THINGS. We’re not writing in our writing log, we’re drawing maps and making movies and mixing paint colors and building forts. About a thousand percent more learning is happening right now than we could ever get from a workbook, and I need to remember that next time I’m in the learning center nursery talking to the other moms who all use workbooks. I need to remember that learning happens all the time, whether or not we’re trying to force it down our kids’ throats.
I started rereading Learning All the Time by John Holt and it helps so much to remind myself to let go and get out of the way of Gaspar’s learning. If you’re looking for guidance with your early learner or are freaked out about what it seems like your kid isn’t learning or if you’re starting out on a homeschool journey I HIGHLY recommend reading that book asap. It’s sensible and reassuring.
Also you know what? I fucking love my little unicorn children and all the crazy things they come up with. They’re tough. They push me to my limits. But damn they’re awesome.
Next time you think your house is messy or you think you should be doing more Kumon with your kids- paint tattoos on yourself instead. I promise it will be fun.