Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Be the Fun Mom Occasionally

When we decided to homeschool, way back before L was even born, I had lots of ideas about what I thought homeschooling would look like. I had visions of us working on fun projects, spending long hours snuggling and reading books, and having time, always enough time.

Real life looks quite a bit different, most days. L's limited attention span, and very small set of intense interests means that we read for short bursts here and there, and it's sometimes hard to draw him into projects that aren't related to Pokemon. Time is always at a premium. With a busy preschooler literally hanging on me all day, a husband that works lots of hours, on an irregular schedule, there never seems to be enough time.

We've found homeschool curriculum that we like. It covers all the bases, and  it's generally enjoyable, but it doesn't look much like those days I imagined.

Several weeks ago, we started off a typical school day on the wrong foot. L couldn't settle down, couldn't stop talking about Pokemon. Typically, I would have had two choices, press on anyway, and end up with everyone cross, and a sub par effort from L, or blow it off, and call a holiday.

I suddenly had a little mental breakthrough, though. We pulled out dozens of cans of play doh, and built Pokemon habitats.

Play Doh Pokemon habitats.

(For those of you who don't eat, sleep, and breathe Pokemon, I should explain that each Pokemon has a "type," which dictates the kind of attacks they're capable of, and oftentimes where they live. A fire type Pokemon will have fiery attacks, and might live near a volcano, etc.) 

Charmander, in his natural habitat.

After talking about what would happen if  Pokemon no longer had access to their appropriate habitats, we were able to branch out, and discuss real animal habitats, and the effects of pollution, deforestation, melting icebergs, and so on.

It was a stretch, and it certainly wasn't on the lesson plan, but it was learning. He had a blast, and he thoughtfully participated in the discussion. He's retained the information, too.

It's not possible or practical to try to relate every lesson to Pokemon, but I was reminded that part of the reason we homeschool is so that we can be flexible and have fun.

Whether we homeschool or not, it's awfully easy to get hung up on the "have tos," and miss out on the fun stuff. Don't forget to be the fun mom occasionally, whether it's on the schedule or not. (I may have to tattoo that on my forehead...)

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