Thursday, 30 June 2011

More on Structure

So I was thinking, what prompted the suggestions for structure was actually a really bad day we had here. Actually, it wasn't all that special as far as parenting goes- every kid has a day like this. Lil'Bug went all sorts of nuts and drew on walls (so did Blueberry Girl), CUT my new curtains, painted on a chair, and generally threw lots of tantrums. It was the day after a really bad storm smashed up the new playhouse the girls had built with their grandpa and took several healthy limbs out of trees all over the farm.

Perhaps it was reaction to the storm? I made a point of engaging Lil'Bug a couple days later while playing chess and asking her.

She overheard some very adult conversations about 22q11 (the anomaly that Zap was born with) and was afraid that he is going to die. Then she overheard us wondering if one of us has it too, since it can be inherited and she was afraid that we might die too. What incredibly big fears to struggle with! No wonder she was working hard to redirect with art mediums! I do that too, but when I do art it is considered ok, because they are my curtains or my chairs and walls to paint on. She doesn't understand ownership and only knows by example. That makes sense. We talked through it. I doubt it will be the last conversation or the end of her fears.

The doctors appointments threw off our regular structure and that broke up our normal routine and caused me a lot of stress. She felt that. SHE was able to process it more than I was at the time.  Quite honestly, she wrote "1 love you" and "I <3 U" all over everything. Love letters to mama.

Every kid has bad days and bad behaviour. Finding the actual cause and addressing that is more effective than punishing with busy work and calling it structure. Just more of my thoughts.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Structure Verses Flow

Lately people keep telling me I need more structure to my day. That bothers me, not because it is true but because it is so beyond not true that it borders on ridiculous. Why?

Our days are very structured, just not by the clock or a bell.

We wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast. Usually around 7, sometimes earlier and sometimes later.

Then we turn on music and dance. After that we pick up the downstairs in a quick tidy and decide which big chore each will do. Then we do it.

Usually there is time after for play outside or upstairs or art project. Depends on the weather.

Then we all make lunch together, unless whatever game is being played is way too fun. If that's the case, I make lunch.

We eat it, then clean up.

Outside or upstairs and upstairs goes the downstairs laundry pile. Sometimes we have to run errands and this happens after lunch.

If at any point anyone gets so muddy they are uncomfortable, a bath is taken. While bath is run we tidy the bathroom and I start a load of laundry.

If at any point someone wants to be read to, we drop everything and read.

Eggs get collected in the afternoon, snack at some point, sometimes we have friends over.

Dad calls and lets us know he's leaving work. We start making dinner so it is ready when he gets home.

By then the girls want a movie so they tidy up the living room again so I can get to the TV (or that's my story to encourage clean up. I won't step on toys to put in a DVD and a "path" will not do.....).

Dinner, then more play and one girl helps with dinner dishes. Bedtime involves teeth brushing and feeding pets. Usually between 8 or 9, but often Holly goes to bed earlier. Each girl initiates bed time for herself on her own.

How is that not structured? Just because we let the day flow does not mean it lacks structure. I make time for structured activities like baking cookies or doing science experiments but most of those are opportunities as they arise. For example, we were making cheese and the girls remembered something they heard about salt and lemons fooling the taste buds into thinking it tasted sweet like sugar- so we tried it. It worked! When we walk the woods together we take paper and colours and draw or write. I may not buy or create detailed projects or lapbooks, but we do a LOT of structured activity just living on a farm and sometimes that means looking at a clock once in a while. But we also have some flexibility.

I guess what I am saying is that just because my school house isn't a big concrete box with a symmetrical floor plan and rooms you'd expect, doesn't mean our foundation is weak or that the building isn't strong. No, it just means that our structure is not like everyone else's and we live in that landscape. In architecture it would be more like a town, you have the suburbs, the schools, and the old district and that's where most people live and learn. We aren't like that either. We're a farm. We're a funky farm house with crazy curtains and roaming chickens. We have music playing and art always out and immerse ourselves in books and nature and anything else we get curious about. For you Harry Potter fans- I aspire to be like Molly Weasley to have a home full of love and laughter.

As I was writing this I realized....we were making cheese. Most people have to buy a kit or plan a day as do this as a structured science or home ec project. We HAVE to do it every other day or the milk gets wasted. It's fun and it's tasty and the girls know how to do it by learning right along side of me. They saw animals giving birth and helped with after care of the newborns, they help when animals are injured, they help with daily care. They help cook, shop, and meet with customers. They help clean, repair, and decorate our home. They do this every day because it is part of our life. It is structured because life is.

Anyway, just some thoughts. :)

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Ladies in Waiting Plus a Baby.....