Recently, my mother had to have hip surgery and I went to visit her in the hospital and to help her return home. She lives 2 hours from me. I was able to go with just the baby and my older two kids got to stay home with Dad and do most of the activities we had planned to do. Now I will be returning for two days this week and will have my 7-year-old as well as the baby. She was not so happy about this. She will miss ballet and Jazz class, Girl Scouts and park day. She is funny, she was more bothered that she was going to miss seeing one of her friends “5 days in a row” than missing out on dance class. And she loves her dance classes!
Kids can be so funny about how they handle things and what bothers them. She is also the middle child and despite having been the youngest for nearly 7 years, seams to “suffer” middle child issues. I too am the middle child of 3 in my family and so I understand. Yet, somehow, no matter what I say, it does not seem to comfort her. She is a Daddy’s Girl in many ways, loves her mommy but really loves time with dad. She loves and hates her baby brother which is very understandable. It is funny because when I was pregnant, she told me I needed to have two babies, a boy and a girl. I tried reminding her about this and bringing up how much busier I would be if I had two babies rather than one but she still thinks it would be better if I had a baby girl as well as a baby boy.
She is the type of child who spends an entire day with her friends and then when we return home, says “I miss….” or “I’m bored”. She seems to be an extrovert and gets her energy being with other people. This can be draining as the rest of us are more introverted and really value time alone. I think her baby brother is more like her, and extrovert which I always thought would be a good thing for her, but with the 7 year age spread, it challenges her. She complains he is boring- despite how busy and funny he is! He sure loves her and when she plays with him.

One reason I love homeschooling is that if we need to pick up and go in the middle of the week, we can. As the children have gotten older, doing this has been more complicated with all of the outside activities they have going on. I feel the lessons they learn with everyday situations are priceless and often more valuable than traditional academic learning. We have watched repairmen come for our heat pump, plumbing and other jobs like painting the house and redoing the roof. My oldest asked questions of a very patient technician who installed a new heat pump several years ago. They have observed how we have dealt with having a broken washing machine, leaking pipes as well as all the routine tasks of running a house like laundry, grocery shopping and paying bills. Many of those things they would likely miss out on if they were in school because I would get them done while they were at school.

And so now they are learning by first-hand observation as well as participating in how to juggle a busy schedule, a baby and taking care of grandma. Sometimes, I need to take several steps back to see all they are learning and remind myself to take the time, slow down so they can at least observe my process of how I figure these things out.

Our children learn from us all the time, even when we wish they were not learning from us! We can rush through those challenging moments in our life or we can slow down and involve them in the process. And so we had a conversation with each child about the different options for traveling to Grammy’s house. We heard their ideas and frustrations and shared our ideas. We let them know what we could and could not do and made a plan. It was not easy, took some time and I got frustrated and had to stop myself when I reacted to her drama. But looking back at it, I am glad I took the time to have the conversations (for us it meant separate conversations with each of my older children- that baby just gets to take it all in:) and to hear her frustration and give her time to be mad and upset.

It is a good reminder to me of my philosophy of homeschooling- we are learning through living- every day- while real life is happening.