Okay, I admit it. It's me. This post is about me.
I think some people hear the words "homeschooling" and "seven kids" and "stay at home" and immediately assume that I sew my children Laura Ingalls Wilder dresses, and that we spend our days making wind chimes from paper plates and bird feeders from pipe cleaners.
My kids would love that.
Unfortunately for them, I am the mom who holds crafts in pretty much same regard as I do for story problems. When we get to a science project that looks particularly loathsome (e.g., it involves crazy materials that I don't have on hand, like "brads." Whatever.), I am most likely to gesture at the picture and cleverly point out, "See? That's what happens when you do that! Get it?"''
Before anyone panics and calls the Homeschool Police, we have done the occasional (stressful, horrible, messy) craft project. It just seems like such a time drain, with the end result being the same. We get the point. I could have read it faster.
A big part of my negativity stems from the fact that I like everything to be neat in my house at all times.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Just kidding. That's not it.
It's because I am extremely untalented at crafts. I remember in Kindergarten the children were supposed to make a Chinese boat from paper -- the instructions came with dotted lines, etc. to facilitate the folding. My eldest son recalls the results this way, "Oh yeah, Mom, it looked like a pathetic bowl!"
Thank goodness that that same eldest son is very unlike his mother in this regard. My weakness has become his strength. He has spent hours of his childhood using boxes and Scotch tape (ALL of my Scotch tape) designing an interactive arcade for his siblings or setting up elaborate haunted houses with rigged booby-traps. He follows instructions to grow crystals in my Mason jars and figures out how to make a light bulb shine from a potato. He does everything that I would need a gun to my head to accomplish.
And so, even though I am not by any stretch of the imagination a Montessori Mom, I have found that simply being open to your kids' interests and allowing them to explore creatively -- despite our own limitations as mothers -- can bring wondrous results. We just have to be fertile ground! And no jokes about my obvious fertility.
Allowing the bookworm lots of time to read the Kindle free book classics and exploring science websites...Giving the sports buff access to football cards and statistics and SportsCenter with Dad....putting the little chef on a stool with eggs to crack and batter to stir....All these bear wonderful fruit! And I don't have to bring out the scissors and glue and yarn! Win, win.
Rule 393: Step back from your children sometimes and see what they can do...prepare to be surprised!
Rule 799: Origami is for geniuses only.