When the Best Homeschooling Means Doing Nothing

The snow came in the night, covering us up, hemming us in.  We knew we’d be home for the day and we felt glad and sleepy.  We hadn’t made many plans, which was fortunate because the weather would have forced us to cancel them anyway.  The kids, still groggy from a long sleep, scuffled their way into the kitchen, tendrils of hair praising the sky.  The snow had kept Daddy home, too, and he was making biscuits.

The boys hurried to finish their math, first thing, so that they could pretend that no trace of “school” had taken place, only hour after hour of wintry possibility.  The weather had given us permission to hunker down, to do less, and we were grateful.

Instead of school work the kids

·      Shoveled snow

·      Talked with their grandparents

·      Played Farkle

·      Tinkered on the piano because they wanted to, not because I made them

·      Typed messages on an old typewriter

·      Listened to music

·      Read library books

·      Sat and thought

I have noticed that these can be the best kinds of days, ones where we don’t try to stuff every nook and cranny with something to do.  These are the times when the unexpected happens simply because, what is it they say?  Nature abhors a vacuum?  The empty space we create for our kids will be filled, perhaps with Lego building, journal writing, origami, or shoveling snow.  And yes, sometimes the moments are filled with whining, crying, and complaining.  Generally, though, those moments die down if we’ll just press through them, breathing through the contractions of boredom.  Eventually they give way to self-directed play and learning if this is what we teach our children to expect—that they are ultimately responsible for their own education and entertainment.  We help them along, of course, providing motivation, discipline, and the occasional course correction.

But sometimes, the most important thing we moms can do is to do nothing at all.

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