Friday, August 10, 2012

While I Was Ignoring My Kids

Today one of the homeschooling moms I follow on Facebook posted about a pet peeve of hers: "Moms who spend all their time online chatting with friends ABOUT homeschooling/unschooling while not actually interacting with their kiddos! Makes me crazy!"

I have been plenty guilty of finding pet peeves in others when I should not be one to judge. When I was a working mom, I sometimes wondered how SAHMs found time to tweet, update their Facebook statuses or blog. Aren't they supposed to spend every second with their kids? I know I wanted to use my nights and weekends to spend as much quality time as possible with my kids. It wasn't until I majorly shifted lifestyles that I realized just how much I can't use my standards to make assumptions about other people's lives. Wasn't I supposed to be working anyway, and not worrying about other people? 

I pray that in other aspects of my life God peels away my ignorance and replaces it with compassion. I still have a long way to go. 

This homeschooling mom shaking her finger at other homeschooling moms was pretty shocking to me. Up until now, I have found the homeschooling community to be some of the most open-minded and tolerant people of each other, even the extremists. EVERYONE has been encouraging of one another and me, even when there were differences in opinion, philosophies, strategies, religions, etc. I'm indescribably grateful for all the support, including the online ones, I've received for almost a year. I also appreciate challenges for improvement, when delivered with care and understanding, not condemnation.

I'll be the first to admit that my homeschooling schedule/routine/whatever is nothing to brag about. We're still figuring things out, but we get done what I feel like we need to get done everyday. On days like today, which are most days, the academic stuff gets done well before lunch. So, the kids got to spend from 11ish until 4ish outside riding bikes, exploring nature and playing on the play structure. I spent more time than usual on the internet on the front porch and on the back patio just being available to them if they needed me. Thank you wireless internet. Yes, I was messing around on Facebook a bit, but I also researched how to care for luna moth caterpillars (we got a dozen today from a new homeschooling friend), how to eat black walnuts (we have a ton in our yard and I was wondering how edible they are), and I tried to identify a fragrant bush growing in the garden adjacent to our patio (still unsuccessful). 

During the times when I was not directly interacting with my children, the boys grew tremendously in their independence and interdependence, coming up with games and rules and role plays. They really strengthened their sibling bond, acting mostly like two peas in a pod. This was a welcome change from earlier this week when they were at driving each other nuts. Mei also learned a lot while I was not directly interacting with her and much credit is due to her big brothers. At dinner, Bean and Tey took turns listing off to their Daddy all the things their little sister learned today. It included what tic-tac-toe was, how to say "balance," how to climb up the stepped ramp of the play structure, how to climb up the slide and how to go down the slide all by herself. 

They are so proud of her!

Though I felt like I was on the computer for a long time today, I am confident that giving them their space was not detrimental for them but beneficial. We're so ready for these luna moths! Plus, we collected a huge pile black walnuts, though I'm not sure if we'll actually eat them. :) Most importantly, my children they  grew together and because of each other. I am so proud of them too.

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