When my first child was born, I was so scared of him that whenever a diaper had to be changed, I pushed a button for the hospital nurse.
The day I was discharged from the hospital was the scariest day of my life. Chopin’s funeral march was playing inside my head as we walked down the hallway. Each step felt like a step in the wrong direction. I asked my husband, “Are you sure insurance won’t cover just one extra day in the hospital?” Weighted down by the baby in a car seat, two pillows, and three overnight bags, he only grunted in exasperation.
Once we got home, life without a nurse button proved to be as topsy-turvy as I feared. I felt as if somebody had thrown a bomb into my hands and said, “You have 60 seconds to figure out how it works. Otherwise, we all will blow up!”
I was sitting in a rocking chair in our upstairs bedroom with a helpless baby in my arms. My mom was in Russia. My mother-in-law was in Wisconsin. My husband went back to work two hours after we got home. (Okay, it actually was two weeks, but it felt like two hours!).
So I did what I always do when I need to clear my mind. I got out my yoga mat. Doing yoga as soon as you get home from the hospital doesn’t seem like the correct thing to do, but it got me what I wanted – a calm mind.
I soon discovered that our most successful, peaceful, productive days involved intention and planning.
The days went better when they involved activities outside the house—long walks, occasional play dates, and a specific time dedicated to Patty Cakes, peek-a-boos, and Mozart CDs.
As we got to preschool age, instead of stumbling through the days like a traveler lost in a fog, we had a schedule and a clear plan of action. For “a is for apple,” we went to the apple orchard, cooked with apples, and did apple core catapults in the backyard. For “b is for bear,” we went to the zoo, baked bread, and built bridges. Our days had a touch of elegance, our hearts were cheerful, and we were learning a lot.
Homeschooling was something that very slowly evolved out of watching my children learn. Day by day, minute by minute, I was witnessing the power of kid’s minds in action. They were learning with enthusiasm and confidence. Nothing was off limits.
They would spend hours absorbed in a project of their interest—building a swimming pool in our backyard, tying sticks together to build a house of sticks, constructing a complex system of pulleys to transport their muddy clothes from the back door up to the laundry room without touching them once with their hands. That complete absorption and unwavering dedication came easily, naturally. They were learning boldly, experimentally, passionately.
That’s what I wanted for them.
I researched different teaching methods, approaches, and styles. I also took online teaching and parenting courses. I brainstormed the most exciting ways to teach reading and how to use our kitchen as a science lab. I bought books with art projects, math games, and science experiments. We covered them from cover to cover.
I love learning. So when my kids learn something, I learn it with them. I am learning how to play cello with my son, and how to play the violin with my daughter (yes, I got my own instruments). We are learning Latin and practice yoga as a family. We play games, do science experiments, craft, cook, and read aloud. Not at the same time :). We found lots of ways to bond and have fun together.
I believe the secret to parenting is to actively create situations in which you can have fun with your children.
It’s not enough to love your children; you need to enjoy their company and do interesting things together.
Homeschooling four children involves a lot of planning and coordination. I don’t know if I always do the right thing, but I let my dedication to no regrets parenting be my guide.
No regrets parenting is a conscious commitment to give parenting your best and to have as much fun with your children as possible.
In twenty years when you look back at this time, you want to say, “If nothing else, I gave it all I had and made it as much fun as I could.”
Kid Minds is my attempt to share activities that are fun for us. My sincere hope is to inspire and encourage you.
If you are new here, visit my START HERE page. Or begin by checking out my list of
GET INSTANT ACCESS >>
Spread the Love
Do you know anyone who might enjoy Kid Minds? Send them the link to the site or to an article you think will resonate with them.