This has been something that really has been in my forefront lately. A few years back I felt God asking me to go back to my foundation, and to then create a good foundation for my children.
In going back, I found a lot that was working and a lot that was definitely not working. I found things about my personality, character, health and mental health, childhood,faith, etc that needed sorting through. The journey through these things wasn’t easy, but it was needed and refreshing.
You may wonder what any of that has to do with preserving my children’s childhood. It quite literally has everything to do with that. The way we are raised, our mindsets, our character, our faith, all these things influence how we raise our children. I realized quite quickly that I was being a drill sergeant with my five year old. I had a check list in my brain of things she had to know and when she wasn’t grasping them, I buckled down harder and became even more determined for her to learn. Meanwhile, her words were that of a child, wanting so much to create a childhood. “Can I go play?” “Can I go outside now?”
My response. You can go play when you can master this!
My heart breaks at this now. It breaks that I didn’t let her be a child more. It breaks that I didn’t slow down and realize she needed that more. It breaks my heart that I made our homeschooling look like every other school. That’s exactly what I did NOT want to create.
I had wanted to create a place where we had FREEDOM and a good foundation. I wanted simplicity. I wanted to have a home where learning was an adventure, not a chore to be crossed off our to do list.
I love that our Heavenly Father has created in us a love for learning. We as culture have killed that little by little. Education is another thing to cross off a list, instead of being a spark in our minds that creates passions for further exploration! I want my children to LOVE learning, and that looks different than just sitting in front of books all day. It looks like taking them outside, embarking in the world around them and seeing their creator in everything around us! Education isn’t just abc’s and numbers, equations, and learning to read, it’s so much more than just those things!
Teach them to grow things, and they’ll grow too. Teach them to build things, and they’ll expand too. Teach them to explore, and they’ll find new things everyday. Teach them to slow down, and those roses will come to life. Teach them to learn in every area of life, and their world is going to expand. Teach them to cook, and food will come alive to them. Teach them to play! Teach them to make messes! Teach them to dive deeper! Take the time to cultivate what makes a good foundation. It’ll cultivate a childhood full of LIFE for them. It will preserve childhood.
And, along the way, in my search for that childhood for them, I have found that in myself again. I have a new found JOY, in spending childhood with my kids. In throwing away what we don’t need, and adding what we so desperately need. They need to play. They need to be little. They need to make messes. They NEED this. Someday they’ll NEED these moments and memories. It’s our JOB to let them be, and let them be little.
So, if in the middle of school my daughter wants to read, we read. If in the middle of school, she wants to run outside in the rain, we run. If in the middle of our day, she wants to paint, we paint. If in the middle of our day, she wants to make a snack, we make a messy one.
If my son wants to make mud pies, we make the baddest mud pies. If he wants to paint Mount Fuji for his aunt, we paint it. If he wants to be captain America for the day, we all become superheroes. If my son wants to run outside and jump in puddles, we throw rain boots on and go for it.
We always find our way back to our “school”, but more importantly we always can find our way back to childhood. In doing so, we create a firm foundation. One they come back to over and over again, one they build upon, one they create with, one they can make messes on.
So, my encouragement? Go play in the rain. Go jump in the puddles. Go have ice cream for dinner. Go pick dandelions. Go be a kid with your kid. So much of life is there. Preserve their childhood, while remembering yours.
Until next time,