I am a Jewish mother. I worry. A lot.
I worry that I am not doing enough with my kids.
I worry that I am doing too much with them.
Today a friend of mine shared this with me on Facebook:
It hit home, hard.
When you homeschool, there are always so many well meaning friends and family who offer their advice and opinions.
"Kids NEED to be with lots of other kids, how else will they toughen up and learn about life?"
"Kids need to be stimulated, they can't just play all day. Look into tennis lessons, swim lessons, ballet lessons, piano lessons, science camp, reading camp blah blah blah..."
"It's not healthy for them or you to be together ALL day, everyday"
Honestly, it can get a little confusing.
When I look at my kids, I see they are happy. They are content. They have a really wonderful and safe little world right now.
In their world, they know that every morning they get to pick their breakfast.
They get to pour their own milk into the cereal of their choice.
They then get to decide what they want to do with their morning.
There are always lots of options ready for them to choose from.
They can go to our art section and pull out some construction paper, glue and scissors and create a master piece.
They can jump into a bean bag with a bunch of books and read whatever they want for however long they want to.
They can sit on the floor and create an entire village with blocks, Lego's, dolls and cars.
Kids need routine, don't get me wrong.
But part of their routine needs to include lots and lots of time for their minds to blossom.
Constantly giving kids things to do may validate YOU because you feel that they are getting X,Y and Z accomplished.
But giving them the ability and the confidence to make decisions based on things that THEY want to do do and what they enjoy is priceless.
In my experience, when a child is interested in something, feed it.
If they are not interested, either leave it alone or reintroduce it at another time.
Kids need love. Kids need discipline. Kids need to be treated with respect. Kids need options. Kids need parents who believe in them and give them and build up their confidence. Kids need direction. Kids need the opportunity to discover new things and explore their interests.
Kids do not need OUR agenda.
They have their own.
And if we tap into it, its quite remarkable what happens.
And you will see that when it comes time to learn certain things like reading, writing, math, Chumash, Gemara, etc. their brains will be SO ready for it because you have given them all these years, this gift, this freedom to exercise their brains and to figure things out by themselves and to make their own decisions.
I have seen it, and it's quite extraordinary.
Have a wonderful Shabbos,