One of the reasons we have chosen to homeschool is for the time it affords us. Time to be together as a family, time to pursue interests on a deeper level, time for the kids to just be kids.
Tuesday felt like we had all the time in the world. We had no plans to leave the house until 4:00pm, which is not typical. It was Eliana’s lucky day because the night before she had made a (very common) request to not go anywhere the next day, and for once I obliged.
Good, because I need a project day. I want to have Rebecca’s birthday party tomorrow. (Rebecca is one of Eliana’s teddy bears.) Can we make a list? There’s a lot we need to do. I need to wrap presents, and invite all her friends, and make cupcakes, and we should have a craft and I need to make games to play. Oh, and we need decorations. And…and…and. I assured her she could do it all in the morning.
Rebecca’s birthday has been on Eliana’s calendar for months. I even wrote about it in this post. I’m not sure why May 20th was picked, but it was. In the morning Eliana got to work and she enlisted the help of her little brother. He was happy to oblige. Together they learned what theme meant, and decided the party was going to have a minion theme. All the guests were gathered and minions were drawn for each of the 8 guests. Stephen, I’m going to color 5, so you can do 3.
An extra party hat was found in the house, which became the template for making homemade party hats for all the other animals. Eliana and Stephen colored, cut and taped all morning while I kept their little sister out of their way. They didn’t even stop for lunch. I placed food in front of them, which they somehow gobbled up at the same time as they glued googly eyes onto their one eyed minions. This is hard work, Mommy! I’m tired of doing this! To which I replied they could take a break at any time. Oh no, there was no stopping them.
When Juliette went down for her afternoon nap they bombarded me with requests for help. We need to make the cupcakes! We need you to fold the hats for us! Can you help us color in the rest of the minions? This is when they learned the meaning of prioritize. What did they think was most important to finish with my help while their baby sister slept? Cupcakes. Hands down. So, we made cupcakes and sang Happy Birthday. By this time, it was decided that Stephen’s little fox was having a birthday party too, since his birthday was the next day. (What a happy coincidence!)
This project lasted 6 entire hours and I was only needed less than an hour of it. They planned and executed their entire day. They admitted to working hard and getting tired, but they chose not to quit. And while this “work” looks more like play, to a kid it’s all the same, isn’t it?
Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood. -Fred Rogers