Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What should we do today?

Every day children should have something (meaningful and worthwhile) to do, something to think about, and something to love. Though this is not my idea (I read it in the book The Charlotte Mason Companion, by Karen Andreola last summer), I agree with it so completely that I have attempted to adopt it as the philosophy by which I am educating and raising my children.
This summer we are continuing our school work, so obviously my children do have something to do and something to think about each and everyday, but I have been very conscious lately of how we spend our time after our school work is completed for the day....As I ponder the way we fill our days I am pleasantly surprised and impressed by how easily my children find things to do, things to think about, and, of course, things/people to love. And I am most impressed that it takes such little effort on my part!
In fact, amazingly, these long summer afternoons have not resulted in unending boredom, at my house, but instead have inspired countless creative endeavors. For example, some of my children's “something to do’s” have included making their own mazes to exchange with each other, pretending to be factory workers with my exercise equipment, playing chess, creating scavenger hunts for each other, constructing forts under the table, and assembling a 1000 piece puzzle. As I type this, my 8 year old is creating "art work" out of dominoes and other household objects (see photo). Now, these activities may not seem very meaningful or worthwhile but the way I see it, they are using their imaginations and getting along with their siblings. What can be more worthwhile than that?
Their “something to think about’s” are evident in the books they read, the questions they ask and the games they play. I have caught my two older children discussing their nighttime dreams, the fun of making pointless loud noises, and the possibility of opening a nature museum in our garage. My younger two sit down together and share their thoughts on our various picture books or imagine they are all grown up with families of their own. We often hear about the antics of their stuffed animal children, who are constantly stirring up trouble around the house. All four children are curious about the world around them and I have fielded questions recently concerning everything from what changes the government is making, to the rules of baseball. They wonder about how their new baby sister will be born (they got a very vague answer to that question!) and whether or not we can make our own candy. It is amazing how, at certain moments, I can almost see their little minds at work in their heads.
Of course, the “something/someone to love” is the easiest of all three objectives to accomplish. They have God, each other, Tim and I, their friends, their pet turtles, and all their various stuffed animal “family members“. There is never a lack of people to love and be loved by.
I know my children are by no means unique in their ingenuity and resourcefulness. In fact, it is one of the reasons I have always enjoyed spending time with children. Every child I’ve ever known has a way of coming up with thought-provoking ideas and undertakings. All children are capable of unending imaginings and originality. That is why there is no reason for any child to have a day without something to love, something to think about, and something to do. Now if only I could come up with an innovative way to keep up with the messes all this creativity creates!

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