Once upon a time in a land far away, I taught preschool. My eighteen young charges arrived at precisely 9:25 each morning, freshly dressed, fully scrubbed, well-fed, and ready to start the school day. In the ensuing 3 1/2 hours, we sang, danced, painted, played, and laughed our way through all the regular early childhood subjects. Amid the happy chaos, we followed a carefully crafted schedule. Language lessons began at 9:50 and ended and 10:30 on the dot. Math filled the time between 10:30-10:55. A five-minute bathroom break later, we paused for a short rest and video break. Art, social studies or science followed, then lunch. I wrapped up the day with stories and songs, while my assistant made sure that each little face was again well-scrubbed, each little body fed, and each little person ready to return home.
During my classroom years, I dreamed of one day having my children and enjoying their precious early years at home. Instead of 3 1/2 hours a day, we’d have at least 11 or 12 waking hours to spend together, all of which (in my dream world) could be filled with delightful, hands-on learning unrestricted by schedules or imposed curriculum.
With the birth of my first precious girl, affectionately known as Little Bear, I noticed that rigid scheduling became a bit more difficult. But we generally accomplished everything I’d planned for the day with little difficulty.
Then our second daughter, Baby Bear, arrived on the scene. …
The first few weeks after her arrival, I didn’t fret over what didn’t get done. After all, we had a newborn in the house, and she took priority over everything else. But as weeks turned to months, I began to wonder if we’d ever get back on track. I soon discovered that the 3 1/2 hours a day of uninterrupted teaching time I’d had as a classroom teacher was a luxury not afforded to stay-at-home moms with nursing babies, who neither eat nor sleep nor poop on schedule.
Nine months into our two-child adventure, I’ve abandoned — at least for the time being — the carefully-organized schedule of my classroom days. These days, we have a loose curriculum comprised primarily of weekly theme studies, with a bit of fine motor work, math, and phonics added in for good measure. The television admittedly comes on more than I’d like. The art supplies, not as frequently.
I sometimes second-guess myself and wonder whether home truly is the best place for my older daughter to learn, with a sleep-deprived mom and an into-everything, teething almost-toddler in the mix. Then, we have one of those “WOW” moments where she shows just how much she is learning amidst our (generally) happy chaos, and I know that the educational path we’ve chosen is the best for us.
As a perfectionist, I tend to focus on what we’re *not* getting done. It is my hope that this blog will become a place to celebrate all that we are accomplishing …