A Recovery Program for Homeschool Split Personality Disorder – Homefires.com

http://www.homefires.com/articles/paranoia.asp

Sometimes I think we all go through doubts. It’s nice to know we aren’t alone when we do.

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Some children just want life to be predictable…

Secondus is like that. In an attempt to make things easier for him, we are trying to be more clear about routines and rhythms, and what is coming up for our day. Today I discovered these cards offered graciously by Martianne Stanger. Thanks, Training Happy Hearts. In the interests of not reinventing the wheel, I thought I’d try them out! While you are there, have a look, too, at the neat Home Sensory Diet ABC cards for some great ideas for sensory activities.

Experimenting with paint

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We gave always enjoyed painting, but I actually know very little about how to get a good wet on wet result. I am starting to research how to get this working for us.

The first thing we have done is to create these painting boards. These are made of simple MDF board. They are cut about 2cm bigger all round than the A4 paper we use, then sanded lightly. I small still debating whether I will varnish the back.

Today we tried them for the first time. They are very simple, but I really like them. They keep each child’s workspace marked, something we always try to do for many reasons. They also encourage the children to paint right to the edges of the paper whilst still maintaining a mess control. And the best thing is that you simply leave the papers on them to dry, and then wipe them clean when they are dry!

I am continuing to learn so much more about painting and art in general. I do really love the fact that I get to keep learning and experimenting like this!

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Dealing with Meals

Having my children at home means that by necessity we eat at home more often too. And that means a different type of work from making school lunches. I wanted to share some of the things that have worked for us. As usual, Your mileage may vary.

What doesn’t work for us is leaving it free for all, all day long without specific meals for a plan in my head for what we are going to eat. I am sure some people work well with that, but when we do it, it results in a great deal of mess, dishes that could cause an avalanche and children who have eaten nothing all day but apples! So we gave that one up.

 LUNCHBOXES

Sometimes we do this even if we are going to be home. Sometimes it works. 😉 Lunchboxes allow us to have a variety of foods ready, so my boys eat protein and salad and complex carbs. I can include lots of things that they enjoy but might not necessarily think to eat on their own. Lunch boxes have saved us in the early babydaze, or when I am unwell,  since DH can do them in the morning and they are all sorted for the day.

The down side of lunch boxes is that sometimes my older two would eat the most interesting bits out of them and then spend a lot of time complaining about what was left.

COLOUR CO-ORDINATING

I’m not going to lie. This is one of those things I never thought I would do. Who wants to be stuck with the specific colour all the time? Then there is the colour battles when a certain colour isn’t available. BUT as the children and sleep deprivation have both increased, and the workload too, I have discovered why generations of mothers have done it. It makes life simpler. It’s much easier to omit disliked, or reactive food items from specific plates, dramatically reduces washing up, and makes clean up much easier. I am amazed at how much more happily my children respond when I can remind them specifically that they haven’t yet put their plate on the sink, instead of generally pronouncing that someone hasn’t put their plate away.  It even makes it easier to repackage uneaten food too! Morning tea fruit can be put in the fridge on the colour coded plate and then just put next to lunch’s sandwiches. And my children love it. Go figure!

LEFTOVERS

Leftovers from the night before do make great lunches, but think broader. Children can be somewhat wasteful sometimes, and while I am not going to be draconian about that, I do want to minimise it as much as possible. So I try to reuse leftovers. The colour coding makes this fairly easy. And if you are a little creative, it doesn’t feel like leftovers! Best tip from my mum: Uneaten fruit can often be chopped and quickly stewed for a breakfast topping, ‘desert’ or even snack.  Lots of other foods can be ‘repackaged’ by adding a sprinkle of cheese, or putting it in a sandwich, serving it over plain pasta, or on a cracker. Ta-da!

EAT OUTSIDE

Call it a picnic. Just take out the mess with you. Don’t forget to bring the plates back in (See colour coding).

SERVE YOURSELF

Self serve really draws children in. Primus will serve himself (and eat) more salad than I would ever get away with! Autonomy is SO important. Remember that dishing up what you will actually eat is a pretty complex skill and one even adults get wrong. And don’t forget all the fine motor skills and social learning that takes place!

RHYTHMIC MEAL TIMES

Everyone’s rhythm is different, but I found it was really important for me to notice and prepare for the ‘hungry times’. For example, I found that  my children would often be starving an hour before dinner, eat a pile of fruit (because I was distracted trying to cook), then not be hungry come mealtime. Then they were waking up starving during the night or in the early morning. The solution has been to offer a substantial snack about an hour before they were eating. Bingo! No energy crash!

GET LOTS OF IDEAS AND EXPERIMENT

I haven’t got it all figured out and even if I did, what works for us might not work for you. Just try it and see. And I am always open to good ideas, so share yours with me.

Circle

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Every so often we loose momentum and things get a bit hairy. We seem to be coming out of that. Finally. One if the keys that my children really like is routine, routine, routine. Its very strange!

Anyway, as Secondus is growing, and life is changing, I realised we were missing the songs poems and finger rhymes I had loved when Primus was a baby. Plus we were having trouble transitioning from morning tea to inside activities. Our change? Putting in time for Circle!

Circle begins with a marching song. Secondus finds it irresistible and even Tercio complains if I don’t pick him up to join in. We march into the loungeroom and sit on the blanket. (Well sort of. I usually have at least one knee taken) Then we follow with songs rhymes and finger plays, plus a seasonal story.

I found a basket in the shed and I am using it to store our supplies. We have the story we are using, as well as some appropriately coloured playsilks for swirling and twirling. Eventually I hope to tell rather than read stories, and the content of the basket will change with the seasons.

Free e-book about planning – suitable for natural learners too!

I found this fantastic free e-book today. I think this will really fill the gap for me between my dream ideas and my daily diary. I know this probably seems really obvious to some people and they do it automatically, but I need to work at being organised!

I will let you know how it works out.

Musings on Mother’s Day: From the cafe where I have run to escape from my children

Ok slight exaggeration. I am running from that generalised anxiety that we are all prone to come to every so often, made worse by the demands and interruptions of motherhood. Actually I came into the shop to return something I’d brought last week, but I got so hungry because I forgot to eat anything before I left, that I have ended up here.

Anyway, mother’s day is always a day of musing for me. Not self-reflection and evaluation of how I’m going – there are other days for that – but more questions of how I can better look after myself as a mother. This is not a selfish question, the cliche about not being able to give when your cup is empty is a cliche because it is true. Mother’s day has come at a very fortuitous time for me this year. The demands of the past week, let alone the past month, been high. I haven’t been able to easily hear my own voice. It hasn’t been easy to hear what I need.

Thus this trip to the shop with no food. Where the murmur of voices around me does not require my attention I can hear my own voice and I realise need food, a drink, but even more I need to get some ideas prowling around in my head OUT! So I buy a pencil, a book and find this table in a busy cafe.

A while ago, I posted about the article reminding me to make room for what I need in my day-to-day life, not to wait until I have time away to nurture me. Because on weeks like this, it may not happen. Hmmmm, I think I could do better in that respect. Actually I think that is one of the most difficult things for me to do. Drinking my coffee outside fell by the wayside when my boys started to get up WAY before sunrise.

So in this unexpected quiet space I am brainstorming my options.

My food arrives and realise anew how hungry I am. And the ideas are flowing more now. It’s not all about roses and chocolate and long baths – although add that to the list – its about the day-to-day things I can do to make my own life easier.

  • Planning meals: last minute rush eating stuff that’s quick instead of fun isn’t me
  • Those long baths, to find time to hear the voice
  • I need to find some more time doing my craft. Maybe I should join a craft group, because I don’t do it when I don’t have a schedule. I toy with the image of my children playing by themselves or (more likely) charming some grandmothers into talking to them. (You can see the LE doing that, can’t you?) Maybe even doing some craft as they get older.
  • Shopping lists: goes with planning meals
  • Stuff that I need to do, like my haircut. I’ve been trying to work on this, and actually got my haircut recently. For the first time in months. 🙂
  • Filling the sink with hot water and doing the dishes as I go. Hmmm goes with the menu planning and not doing meals in a stressed rush
  • Drink more water – almost everyone needs to drink more water. Or having a nice glass of something while I cook.
  • Eating when I’m hungry, drinking when I’m thirsty.
  • Taking care of my health – looking at all those things we as women tend to ignore and put off.
  • Washing my hair when it needs it.
  • Taking time to read and write. Consider it modeling. I mean why would my boys want to learn it if they never see it being done?
  • Listening to my own ‘small still voice’. Saying no. Saying yes. Asking for help. Letting go.

I finish the last of my juice. Push my plate away. Breathe.

I’m off to buy my birthday present, that I’ve been meaning to for months. And some shoes, because my old ones have holes. Then I’m going home to give my boys a big cuddle. Happy Mother’s Day.

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