Thursday, January 19, 2012

30 ways, #4

Scavenger Hunt for Momma!

Sit back and relax, Mom ... 'cuz this one isn't about you doing anything but having fun! Turn your kiddos loose with some post-it notes and a pencil, then let them lead YOU on a scavenger hunt around the house, yard, or wherever their little hearts desire. My kids had so much fun with this new twist ("You mean WE write one for YOU?") that they went overboard. An hour later, I was still following scraps of paper throughout the house ...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

30 ways, #3


Everyone spend the day looking through the lens and shooting as many pics as you can--that means you, too, Momma! Dig out your old, unused cameras for the kids, or buy a handful of one-time use ones if need be. (Digital is better and cheaper, obviously, but hey--maybe waiting for prints will be an added bonus!)

When you're done with the day's shooting, load & laugh at the zillions of pics. Print your faves, or set them to music. Guaranteed memory maker!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

30 ways, #2


Wait until the light is just so. It'll probably be right about when you should be making supper, which truly will make this that much more fun for your children. Mom's willing to ditch being a nag and telling us to give her ten minutes to get the food in the oven? Sign me up!

Warning: make a crockpot meal on the day you try this, because if your kids are anything like mine, then you will NOT get anything on the table before your husband gets home. But you will have some silly, giddy kids who have cracked you up with their creative animals and convoluted plots.

If you don't have the benefit of NW shadows in the winter, try a lamp in a closet. :-)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

30 ways, #1


I don't dance in front of adults. Never. It's a hard and fast rule that I have, mostly because I look like an idiot when I dance, and really ... I try pretty hard not to look like an idiot in front of other people.

But pull up Pandora, clear the path of stray toys, and give me a kiddo or two and man, I can party like it's 1920. Or something.

Spring this one on your kid. Even if you're not a dancer. Even if they are going to look at you like you have six heads. Even if they are teenagers. Turn on something infectious (my kids loved hearing the songs I thought were cool in junior high) and just go for it. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

30 ways

This year, we're trying out a new schedule here at Casa Blandings. Adopting the Nepali schedule to which Bee is tied, we "did" school from the end of August until Mr. Blandings and Atticus left in November. Then we took a long break. A very long break. 

A break which I now see that I needed. Badly. 

This long break was a godsend in more ways than one. Not only did it allow us to throw ourselves fully into Advent and Christmas, it also gave me permission to do something that somehow, I hadn't been able to completely engross myself in for a little while:

Really enjoying my kids.

During the long, quiet nights while Mr. Blandings was away, I pondered the rut that I think all homeschoolers find themselves in from time to time. We teach. We train. We coach. We orchestrate. And if we're not careful, we forget to be embrace

This is my theme, always. Be there. Drink it in. Bask in it. 

And you know, for the most part, I do. But sometimes, no matter how hard I try, the joy leaks away. Without my noticing, the wonder drains away, the giggles become less frequent, and I'm left with the good ... but lacking the best.

I'm not o.k. with that. No parent should be--whether you homeschool or not. Life is not making sure dinner is on the table, making sure the baby doesn't fall head-first from the dining room chair, or sighing your way through another read-aloud session punctuated by the shushing of preschoolers. No matter how real those moments are, there's still more. Much more. 

With that in mind, I purposed to create a month's worth of joyful moments with my children. 30 individual things that were guaranteed to bring smiles to the faces of my children--and to my own. I wrote them down, even though it felt a bit like cheating. See, I've always thought that spontaneous fun is the best kind. I still do. But what if your normal routine chokes out the chance for sparks of brilliance more often than you'd like to admit? In that case, I reasoned, it was o.k. to create a target (fun!) and aim my arrow (planned activities) straight at them. 

Shortly after completing my list of 30 fun to-dos, I was sharing with a friend how refreshed I felt. How much more inclined I was to abandon "must" in favor of "can." How my children seemed more patient with one another. How I was loving homeschooling again.

"I need that!" she gasped. "This is January, after all. It's almost time for the Yellow Bus Blues!"

I was so caught up in my own happy that I'd actually forgotten, if you can believe it. And that was what told me that I really should share. 

So, readers, here's the deal. Over the next few weeks, I'll be posting some of the best of the best of the ideas that made our December a refreshing, energizing, filled-up oasis. They aren't holiday themed. Most of them don't require any extra stuff or even much planning. But they do accomplish an important task: Turning your hearts to your children. Shaking off the dust of the rut, and truly tuning in to the souls around you (both little and big) who are what this whole homeschool journey is all about. 

I invite you to check back tomorrow for the first idea. Then, leave a comment and share some of your own. I'd love to gather even more ideas to add to my repertoire. April is fast approaching, and I'm putting together another list of 30 ways--not because my kids wants it, but because I do!