Monday, September 26, 2011

It Doesn't Feel Like The Pictures Said It Would

in front of a screen again
Lately I've been feeling like I suck at being an unschool mum. Harriet has a great social life, there's no question of that. But when we're at home a lot of the time I feel like I'm failing her. There always seems to be a DVD on, when there's art the materials are a higledy-pigeldy mess of broken or dying textas, pens and crayons, if Harri's need for stimulation is being met then the housework is in chaos and if the house is clean then I'm clearly neglecting intellectual and emotional needs of little people. "Says who?" a saner person might ask and I know the answer is: the merciless critic inside my head.

What would I say to Sarah Jane if she were to let her merciless inner critic run wild? Well, much to her frustration I would call on her to reframe the lot of it: find the positive. Then I'd encourage her to find ways to change whatever she feels needs to be changed, so that she no longer felt like she were failing.

  • Everything is educational! 
  • The higeldy-pigeldy art supplies make for truly unique work
  • Harriet couldn't care less about the state of the supplies, so long as there's something to draw with and on (in truth she doesn't much care about the 'on' either, she'll use her body as a canvas!)
  • Harri is hardly lacking, she has: parents who give her their time and attention, a busy social life, many books, outlets for creativity, a baby sister who she delights in, outlets for movement, local resources including: playgrounds, the library, the beach, parks, friends homes, museums, art galleries, the aquarium, public transport, DVDs, other adults,  outlets for noise, etc.
  • She's not even school aged yet, so if I'm worrying about her missing out on something her school-going contemporaries are experiencing then I need not fear: they're all at home too!
  • A tidy house doesn't equal unhappy children, there's just a different between 'tidy' and 'immaculate' and you're adjusting to this new standard made necessary by the advent of reproduction.

So why am I being so hard on my self at the moment? I am coming to the realisation that unschooling doesn't look the way that I had hoped. I know that no matter which path we chose, it would look messier and be more demanding of me than I first expected. That's just life (for example, I thought having children would be predominantly fun O_o). So many beautiful blogs out there sporting glamorous snaps of their Montessori playrooms, Steiner toys and Unschool moments. And now friggin' Pinterest is shoving images of other people's perfection in my face constantly lol.  And this is where the ideas for change need to come...

There's only so many things we can work on improving at any one time. Lately I've been focusing on being more organised with household obligations and sneaking minerals and vitamins into my three year old. Now, I need to find a way to add: more proactive "strewing" into this mix. 

  • Finding activities and items of interest for Harri and setting them up before I go to bed so they're ready to go first thing in the morning.
  • In order to do dot point one I need to find mess-free (or limited) activities appropriate for a thee year old to do herself while I'm preparing breakfast.
  • Preparing meals and snacks ahead of time so we're not stranded at home until after eating or buying food out
  • Setting up a Harriet lunch box in the morning full of ready to go snacks so that by 2PM I'm not screaming "all you do is bloody eat! I haven't sat down all day!"
  • Get many washing baskets/plastic tubs to facilitate super swift tidying: chuck anything not in it's right place into the tubs to be put out of the way and sorted when time permits.
  • After moving house in the next month perhaps try washing dishes and folding laundry as items appear, rather than leaving it.
  • Find the yes with more commitment 
  • Organise the craft supplies and update them, set them up so H can get to them herself (don't pressure myself to do this before moving house!)
  • Blog here more often because it makes me reorder my thoughts and realise that we're actually doing a lot of great stuff regularly and I'm not a detached overlord of a couch potato. Goal: publish an "Our Classrooms" post once a month and "A day in the life" post once a week.
  • Read this often!

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