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Friday, October 2, 2015

Finding a Balance

 Jules here-

Milkshakes after surviving another week :)
I know I just posted a couple of weeks ago about how I am surviving the start of "real school", but I wanted to focus a bit on how my girls are surviving this massive life change.  First, as a mother AND an occupational therapist I have a unique perspective on school.  On one hand, I love that my children are getting the structure and routine of the academic world. My children have to learn how to sit still, follow multi-step directions, and attend to a variety of tasks-- which are all KEY to surviving in the workplace in the future.  However, as an O.T. I understand child-development- and much of the school day is often too structured for a child to experience the proper developmental milestones in a natural way. Plus, if a grown up can't sit through a half-hour meeting without getting 'spacey' how do we expect children to focus for so long?  Play is a child's job.  That is how human development works....
Controversial but interesting perspective!

Though Grace is doing well academically, she is overwhelmed with the rigidity of the classroom experience. For example, Grace said, "I love art class, but you have to make what she says, not what I want to make!"  Is that defiance or is it simply creativity? After Kindergarten, it's rare that a child has a chance to have any "free expression" time through art, writing, or music.  I think certain children might need a bit of a creative outlet without the structure- sort of like recess for the mind.

I am trying to find a balance for her- I am setting up more unstructured crafting for her- paint, glitter, sequins, etc.- so she can explore a bit after school.  So far, she has made several Christmas presents and she looks forward to that time each day.

I also find reasons for mini-celebrations- such as our Half-Birthday parties. Luckily, my girls are born five days apart so I can save half the cake.... I gave Grace the icing, sprinkles and food dye so she could dabble at the bakery arts for an hour.
Yummy half birthday cake!
Recess is fantastic for giving the children outdoor time and the gross motor/vestibular stimulation that children need- but, I would still recommend encouraging that wild, upside-down play their bodies crave when they get home.  From climbing mountains to hanging on the monkey bars, I challenge my kids to get moving when they get home.
Hay jumping!

Does she love school? Nope. Is she surviving? Yup. We are still adjusting and every week is a challenge.  I love that she has friends and she enjoys music and art- those are areas that homeschooling often doesn't provide as well.  I miss the freedom to explore topics that interested us but I am glad someone else has to force her to do daily math...  I can definitely see the perks in both lifestyles.

Easy Rule #54354- Sometimes your work can help your home life- I am blessed to have a career that complements my parenthood.

Easy Rule #7897- When life stresses you out, bake a cake. Or just half of one.
Time to eat!


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