So my friend and neighbor in passing while talking about kids and school, etc mentions to me, "that's why I am against the stay at home thing... kids need structure and they just can't get that at home." At first I was going to make a joke pretending to be offended, but didn't b/c I didn't want to make her feel bad b/c she knows I'm a stay at home mom. But it's been two days and I'm still thinking about that comment not pretending anymore to be offended. Maybe I really am....
I am not one who gets offended over much- especially comments made by people I don't truly love or value their opinion on, like family, but this has crept up in my mind a time or two for those two days so I thought I'd process...
Of course I want what's best for my children. I believe every parent does. So in the long run am I hurting them by keeping them home with me other than the 2 yrs of preschool with short hours (9-12pm)? Am I being selfish wanting them home with me?
This mom was talking about how her kindergartener is so advanced and they are only learning letters, etc at this point and wondering/considering having him skip kindergarten to the first grade.
I shared my opinion about how I think school is to teach children not only academically, but socially, foster independence, etc.
I was thinking more about this concept yesterday and Bryce's soccer practice. For the hour while Bryce plays, Logan and Aubryn like to collect "treasures" AKA small rocks and feathers and sticks they find at the field and specifically in the dirt of the baseball diamond right next to the field. I lovingly watch them and revel in the blessing and freedom of being young and living in a world full of wonder. I get excited as they do over the small shiny rock, or the gross feather that's been found.. grateful that in a world full of technology and social media and screens that they are still so innocent and protected finding the joys of earth and just being present.
I then notice other parents around me yelling at their children to "stay out of the dirt! You'll get dirty!" or "what's the matter with you.....? You've got all this area and you choose to play in the dirt?!" My heart breaks for these children just wanting to be children.
This brought me back to my point of structure vs supposed chaos of staying at home. How much structure is important? Morning time- we run errands, read and/or play, lunch, nap, play some more... both with me and independently or with siblings. I think play is important. I think that childhood is important. Why are we in such a rush to have our 2 year old learn their letters and be able to spell their name? Why are we in such a rush to even potty train them if they don't care? Is it our own ego as parents? That somehow we base our worth or get validation through our children?
Or can we just love them for where they are. For who they are? Not WHAT they do or what they KNOW.
More than structure, I can teach my children how much they are loved, and worthy or love. I can teach them how exciting life it by trying to catch a grasshopper or butterfly. The value of teamwork by emptying the dishwasher together. What about teaching them flexibility? That life isn't always structured? In fact, many times it's not. It's messy, just like the dirt they were relishing in yesterday. The dirt I was happy to wash off their feet, out of their hair and off (mostly) of their clothes. Logan wants to run on the dirt without shoes? Great... feel the earth. Be grounded. Live and enjoy life. Not providing my children with structure has given them so much more.... a childhood. Something they will never again have the opportunity to experience. Even at the early age of 5- children are gone all day and when they do come home in the afternoon exhausted, the have homework. So why "prepare" them now? Why can't we just let them be?
My children have not been the top of their class academically, but teachers have always commented on how compassionate, and kind and well behaved they are. (Not that I'm taking the credit and filling my worthy b/c my kids are so dang awesome;) But because they learn at home. They love at home. They are children at home. The rest can come later...