A year and a half ago, when I was 20 plus weeks pregnant (it was my third-I didn’t keep track of weeks too well!), we moved across the country. While we were still in Texas and the boxes weren’t even all packed, I already knew when the story times were at the local library. And by local library, I mean the one in California. The one we had never been to. Thanks to Google, I knew what kind of kids classes were offered in the area, where all the museums, zoos and parks were, and what their ratings were on Yelp. Seriously. I’m not even joking a little bit. I like to be informed and know my options! My inbox is inundated with Things To Do This Weekend With Kids, Family Friendly Hikes, Best Places to Eat With Kids, and on and on.
Do we do all these things? No. Not at all. Not even close. I usually just skim through them and file them in my head for later. There are so many fun opportunities for us to explore as a family. We could easily fill up our days with different classes and field trips. We’re not going to school, so why not? It’s easy to get caught up in the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO). I used to have a bad case of it when everyone was signing up for preschools and we weren’t. I’ve since recovered. I’ve moved on to extra curricular activities. There are so many classes. Gymnastics, swimming, music, dance, art, soccer, t-ball, karate. Ack! What if we don’t sign up for the one that could unveil their super talent and passion? Is it going to be too late? I mean, they’re already 4 and 5!
I’ve also moved on to annual memberships. They all look so good! What a bargain. We would really like this zoo, and this museum and oh look at this other museum, and what a deal, and on and on. I’m usually able to pull the reins in. Last year we only had two memberships and used them a lot. This year we renewed one of those and traded one for another.
One of the reasons we chose to homeschool is for the time it gives us. Time to explore interests and dig into those topics we’re passionate about. Time for individualized learning and time to fully grasp and understand concepts, not just check them off a list. We are going to run out of all this time if I fill up our days with classes and field trips of all varieties. I’ve got to prioritize. I’ve got to get over my FOMO.
The thing about kids is they love repetition. They thrive on it. Same bedtime book for the last 37 days? Same movie seen over and over to the point of quoting it over dinner? Frozen soundtrack memorized? Check. Check. And Check. This is how they learn. Each time a topic is introduced in a different way, or at a different time, something new can be taken away. So, when I saw there was going to be a local performance of Willy Wonka Jr. I decided this would be an activity worth going to. It was perfect timing for us. We just finishing reading the Roald Dahl classic and then watched the original movie. We’ve been talking about Charlie, Veruca Salt and the others for months.
Before the show the kids were antsy and excited, so they drew what they remembered from the story. This got them talking about the plot and all of the characters. On the car ride we talked about what was different in the movie from the book and how we thought the play might turn out.
At the performance the woman next to me asked how old my kids were and said she was impressed with how well behaved they were. They loved watching the show. They knew what was happening and what to expect, so of course it was much easier to keep their attention. Another performance might have had an entirely different outcome. In the 3 days since we saw Willy Wonka Jr. they have continued to draw more characters and scenes. Over and over…and over. I’m glad they have this time to develop their interests and dig deeper into one topic. It’s amazing to see them learn.