Sunday, October 20, 2013

What I Did on My Mandatory Furlough Vacation

Remember in elementary school when you'd return from summer vacation and your teacher wanted to see how much of your composition skills you'd lost over three months and assigned a "What I Did on My Summer Vacation" essay? Yeah, I feel like I just got back to real life after a surprise 16 day vacation and now want to reflect back on that time.

First off, I am not a teacher, nor a homeschooler. I always certainly respected those who chose to go down those particular paths, but never though it was for me. After attempting it for two weeks, I can most assuredly say it's not for me, but my respect and admiration for those who do has risen exponentially.

(The very decorated wall in our office. Art project time, both planned and spontaneous, was mandatory every day. Even though "regular life" has returned, the decorated wall has stayed up, and in fact, more projects are being taped up right now.)

I tried to have a plan for each day that would be both educational and entertaining for Lana. She's a fabulous kid and infinitely curious and I wanted to play to her curiosity. I also wanted her to be a kid and have fun. I wanted limit TV viewing. I wanted to tackle some home projects. And I wanted my house to be clean.  We also had to do some things out of the house or we'd both go crazy.

Guess what I learned and guess what items on the above list did not get done?

Yup, in those 16 days, my house was no cleaner that it would have been had I been leaving for work every day. In fact, I think sometimes Dan got home from work in the evenings and wondered if we'd been robbed or if a small, freak tornado came blowing through the dining room and office area. I also didn't make near as much progress on any of my house projects.

But guess what we were good at doing?

Spending time together. Lana and I snuggled together while reading books for hours and hours. We worked on big art projects together. I learned that for her, the dragon scene in Sleeping Beauty is not scary at all, but the mob scene in Beauty and the Beast is drive-you-to-weeping awful.

Pinterest became my friend not just for recipes and funny e-cards, but for preschool ideas. And then most of those ideas were promptly forgotten. No, our outdoor rec time did not consist of elaborate scavenger hunts or ginormous chalk-painted hopscotch boards, but instead we did yard work and went apple picking. (Hey, the result was a dirty, happy, and tired girl who ate a great lunch and then took an afternoon nap, so my lack of creativity should be forgiven.)
(Apple picking during one of our outdoor rec times. Lana took a great nap later and I made applesauce. Win-win!)

I also introduced Lana to some fun activities I enjoyed as a kid. Leaf rubbing was always cool to me and I liked seeing how different leaves would create different patterns on the paper. We went to a local park that had a variety of great leafy trees and Lana collected quite the assortment. Then she spent over an hour happily making her own leaf art.

And because I thought it really would be a waste to let all this together time go by without focusing some time on an academic challenge, we worked on sight words together. Many parents of kindergartners and first graders have told me how difficult it can be to teach kids their sight words, so I thought we'd get a head start.
I tried to make it a fun game, but as  it turn out, repetition is the key. We went over these twenty words several times a day. It wasn't necessarily fun, but we did it anyway. I guess in Mom's Homeschool, you learn that not everything is fun, but you sometimes have to do it anyway.

We went back to regular life last Thursday. Lana was happy to see her friends and teacher at preschool and complete the planned Halloween and fall-themed projects and activities. However, when I picked her up on Friday afternoon, she asked, "When can we have another Mommy and Lana day?"

It turns out she enjoyed our time together as much as I did.

No comments: