Today was our first “official” day of homeschooling with Ben, the date I’m writing on the forms I have to submit to the county declaring that I am “beginning a course of home instruction.” I want to try to post almost daily for the next month, to force myself to sit down and sort through the day, see what’s working and what I want to change. Today had some high points, and some real lows. The main difference between today and any other day of being home with both kids in the past few months is that I felt that I had an obligation to be productive or educational in some way. I didn’t actually do anything different but I saw certain things differently.
To clarify I will explain some of the main objectives I have for the next several months:
1. Household tasks- This mostly includes simple things like putting shoes in the closet, dirty laundry in the hamper, and clean clothes back in the drawers. Sitting at the table while eating is big as well. Thankfully this has been on the agenda for a while now so Ben willingly pulls up a chair while he’s eating. The weak link in this department is me! I want to sit and eat with the kids for every meal, but it is a huge challenge to get food prepared for them and for me and on the table. Most meals are a look-through-the-fridge, who-wants-what mish mash. It is going to take some serious discipline on my part to meal plan, and save time by shopping and cooking for the week. I have literally been paid to do this for other people but for some reason doing it for my own family seems like an insurmountable task!
2. Reading- We read aloud to Ben often and he recognizes letters and certain words. I hope that as we continue to read he will continue to develop his recognition. He also plays phonics word games on Mo’s phone (my phone is strictly off limits to avoid negotiations) which are actually really cool. I bought a book of Mad-Libs and we’ve been working through it slowly, Ben thinks it is HILARIOUS! It has been cool to watch him discover that different words have different “jobs.”
3. Physical activity- Ben is a five year old boy so spending the day in the apartment (as he says he wants to do) is really not helpful for anyone. He’s like one of those big dogs that live in the city, he thinks he likes it but he is a much happier person when he runs free. There is a park about fifteen minutes away with big trees, open fields, and a playground, and I plan to be there several mornings a week. The heat in South Florida during August is a bit prohibitive, so we have to get going early.
4. Field trips- There are a ton of awesome museums around here! We are members at the science museum, but we haven’t even checked out the art museum, children’s museum, etc. I am planning to save these excursions for rainy days.
These are my basic, personal goals for right now, and Mo is in the process of picking out a more well rounded curriculum for us to work from. We are ordering some supplies like a huge roll of butcher paper for art projects, and hopefully setting up a real desk in our “new office” aka Ben’s room.
Here is the story of today: we woke up, had breakfast, went for a walk with Ben’s Uncle Yoni who was home with his daughter today, then continued on to a nearby outdoor shopping center where they have coin operated rides and the standard wall of gumball-type machines where you can get worthless plastic thingies for 25 cents. The last time we were there Ben was disappointed with the value of the 50 cent/30 second ride so I told him that the next time we went there, he could get a toy from a machine instead. Uncle Yoni even gave him a quarter. Lo and behold, they were all broken! Thinking about it now, I can see where he was coming from. That is TOTALLY DISAPPOINTING. At age five it seems like the secrets of the universe are locked up in those red bottomed jars. Who knows what could come tumbling out? Well, this morning I was not feeling so sympathetic. Mostly I was feeling hot in Miami at noon, and full of regret for taking the extra walk that had only ended in disappointment. Ben and Ella climbed on and off the stationary rides, I listened to a group of moms talking about how they yell at their kids all day because the kids just won’t listen and their husbands are always travelling, etc. I thought, wow, we’ve all been there, but I can’t believe they’re talking about it like it’s just a matter of course. Then an hour later I was at home, yelling at Ben who had been pushing my buttons ever since the empty toy machines had glared at us. That was the low point of the day. Then, for a pick me up, I took the kids to the doctor! They warned me there would be a wait when I called this morning for the appointment. When I got there they hadn’t included Ella on the appointment for some reason, so the wait was longer.
We finally made it home, the kids greeted Mo like a long lost saving grace, and he took Ben swimming. Things were starting to look up. Then bedtime somehow stretched from 7:30-9:15 and I just wanted to get in the car and drive and never come back. When I say that I really mean I wanted to drive to the nearest place that sells Haagen-Dazs and come home immediately to eat it. Instead I washed the day’s dishes, prepped for tomorrow, made some almond milk and smoothies for the morning, and looked at Instagram over and over. There are some beautiful places in the world! Whenever someone posts an insanely gorgeous sunset with the caption “my backyard” I’m like, “For real? Can I come live with you?” Then I remember we live in Miami, where many people come on vacation, and I just have to figure out how to get a little closer to the natural beauty here.
That was a long rambling post, but I’m doing this as sort of a homeschooling diary, so humor me please.
See you at the beach! 😉