A Day to Hang Your Hat On

A Day to Hang Your Hat On #homeschooldowntime

By Christine Bullock

I love school breaks.  Breaks release us to take a step back and see where we really are.  How good it is to set aside our pencils and books and just practice “being” together.  Our first day of Spring Break this year was wonderful.  Freed from the constraints of any schedule, my kids took the morning to plan and ponder their plan of attack for the next few days.  My littlest pulled out games that had been tucked away for months. Within an hour my oldest sons were cleaning out the workshop that they felt needed reorganizing for Dad.  No one asked them to do this; they came up with it on their own as a love gift for their dad, who as a tax accountant is in his busiest season.  How proud they were when it was all neat and tidy. 

While they were working another plan had formulated in their heads.  This one was pure fun.  “Mom,” they asked, “can we build a boat to float in the pond at the park?”  Working in the shop organizing tools had inspired them.  In no time they collected their younger siblings and began creating.  Taking an old purple dinosaur sandbox, PVC pipe, duct tape and liquid nails, they made a floating contraption with pop bottle pontoons.  In an hour they had a boat they were ready to try.  A spot of sun shone out the window, and despite the temp of 45 degrees we loaded the boat and oars into the back of our beat up van, and we headed out. 

What a sight we made trooping up to the pond. I noticed a few heads turn as joggers passed us.  Excitedly the kids put the boat in the pond, and it floated.  I have to admit I wondered if it could really hold up a 6’ 1” boy, and was mentally planning on bringing home sodden kids.  One by one, each of my four got into the boat and floated around the pond.  They were ecstatic.  The oldest two realized they had to balance their weight just so or the boat would fill with water, but it did not sink.  When all were sufficiently wet and cold enough we loaded the boat back into the van and headed home for hot chocolate.  Everyone chatted about improvements to make the boat more stable for the future.  The youngest son envisioned plans of adding motor.  My daughter was ready to get out the paint brushes and decorate the ship more appropriately.  I could see in that moment how the strengths of each child were allowed to flourish in this small endeavor.  Teamwork, ingenuity, spontaneity, genuine love and concern for each other were displayed.  School work shows me only a snapshot of all I really want to teach my children.  Break times show me another.

While I fight the constant temptation each break to fill it with schoolish things, I hold tight to the joy that comes from letting my kids “be.”  I’ll never be an unschooler, or one who could go too long without a schedule, but I see the value in putting aside the schedule for some homeschool down time.  In closing, the highlight of this break was my oldest son giving me a hug and saying, “I’m so glad I have a mother who understands that boys need to have adventures.”  Truth is, so do moms.

What adventures did you have this Spring Break? Post pictures on OCEANetwork's FB page with #homeschooldowntime.

Posted by Christine Bullock on Apr 7, 2015 at 10:52 PM | Categories: Family life - Homeschooling -

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