A Task, or a Privilege?

We had a really lazy morning, sleeping in, getting started late on breakfast, reading the paper. My mom called, and between all of us we were on the phone for over an hour. I didn't get my bath until right before lunch. We didn't really fix lunch: Papa cut into a big watermelon and we feasted on that. That's one of the great things about summer.

I spent the afternoon in the office. It is our school room, but I hate to call it that. I was trying to think of alternative names - "the learning center", "the imagination room", "the growing place" - nothing worked for me. I guess it doesn't really matter what we call, except my boys have the tendency to call any focused time "school", as in "are we doing school today"? I'd like to get away from that.

Anyway, I cleared the big desk (it is set up so I am on one side and the boys are on the other, facing me) and gave it a good scrubbing to remove stray crayon marks (even though we use boards when drawing we still get crayon on the desk). I picked up and put away everything that was on the floor - pattern blocks, puzzles, acorn caps, bendy people, and paper galore (of course). I sorted and filed all my paperwork from the last month. Papa finally took away the computer that has been sitting unused on the boys's table for close to 2 years. I didn't have time to declutter or deep clean, but we are set for the week.

Then I set to planning. I was planning a 3 week language block, focusing on summarization and sight reading. I wrote out a basic plan for each day of the week, going off the rhythm we are already living. I chose one main lesson story for each week. We are going to read classic folk tales from the Enki Kindergarten Folk and Fairy Tales book; I think that J-Baby will be stretched enough with the summarization and lengthier writing, and shouldn't have to stretch developmentally to accommodate the stories.

We're going to revisit word families now that they have had a chance to sleep. We'll use the town board, and also some flip cards, and perhaps a game or two if I have time to make them and/or if we find something appropriate to purchase locally.

One thing we haven't focused on is sight words, other than playing sight word bingo now and then. We're going to step this up, introducing 3-4 new words a week, and leaving Friday mornings to focus on sight word and sight word readers.

I found 3 summer nature stories that will work for us in the Enki Kindergarten Nature Stories book. We'll read those on Thursdays, and work with the content on Fridays. Reading the nature story will be the only "work" we will do on Thursdays, as the day is so full becasue of our park day group.

I gathered the stories I need and put them in a binder. It is so great that Enki offers the resources in 3-ring binders so we can pull out what we need. I haven't done this before because I've been flying by the seat of my pants, but I can see how useful it will be and how much more smoothly the block will go because of it.

After all that, the boys and Papa came to tell me that they were going for a bike ride. Papa had kept the boys out of my hair for nearly 3 hours, and I still pointed out that I would be left to make dinner alone. I couldn't believe the words came out of my mouth! Yes, I was working that whole time on household and educational tasks, but I couldn't have done it without Papa's help. I quickly reversed myself and told him that I would find a way to make it easy on myself, not to worry, and to have a nice bike ride.

I wrapped up what I was doing in the office and made my way to the kitchen to find my apron and start dinner preparation. It hit me - I've begun to think of cooking as a chore instead of as a gift. In general I love to coook, but I have been so busy that cooking has become something I have to do, and often I don't want to. I do it anyway, but with a chip on my shoulder.

The realization brought me back to center; I've been off the horse for awhile in this area. So tonight I am making dinner and I am reminded that it is a gift I give my family. It is a privilege to have them in my life, and to provide meals without worrying about not having enough food, or firewood, or clean water. It's simple - baked potatoes, corn on the cob, grilled portobello mushrooms, and a cabbage salad - but I think it will be the most nourishing meal we've had in a while, if you know what I mean.


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