I admit to being a bit of a control freak. I like things done a certain way – the easy way, normally, the most efficient way – so one of the biggest lessons for me in our home schooling journey has been letting go. Without room to breathe, and make mistakes, and find their own way, the kids can’t really learn what they need to know.
It isn’t something I have had to face with our eldest (Ivy, 8). She’d much rather I did everything for her, even if it’s something she could easily do for herself. The struggle there has been in encouraging her to give things a go, to make mistakes, to get messy. Teaching her that if you have an accident in the process it’s not a big deal because you can just clean it up, or have another go.
Our middle child (Lauren, 5) is a little different. Her early years were spent in my arms and she spent a lot of time surveying the world and the people who populated it, but she actually has more confidence to strike out and try things on her own, she is a determined soul and a fantastic problem solver – and her younger sister Natalie, at 3, is even bolder, and forever pushing herself to catch up to her big sister.
More and more, I am having to let things go. The most recent has been breakfast/lunch. It’s now a time of experiments, and taste testing. Lauren has been making sandwiches for herself and her sisters, and this morning she took the helm completely. There were some interesting combinations, that’s for sure, many of which were tested, but not eaten. I said yes, more than I normally would, because who am I to tell them what they want to eat? We all have different tastes and preferences, and so, they explore.
Lauren’s favourite is nutella with 100’s & 1000’s. Natalie just likes nutella or peanut butter. Or tomato sauce. Tomato sauce and 100’s & 1000’s was not so popular, nor was the marmite and 100’s & 1000’s. Actually, marmite isn’t popular at all.
And when all is said and done, it looks a little like this, and that’s okay, because it gives me a chance to guide them in learning how to clean up after themselves and take responsibility for the messes that they make.
And they look a little like this, and I love it. Lauren looks positively blissed out on having the freedom to make her own breakfast of choice, and Natalie, while pulling a funny face, was thrilled to experiment with Lauren and have tomato sauce for breakfast, and more than happy to clean up the sticky finger marks she left on the chair and bench.
I love my little monkeys, and I’m getting better at loosening the reins and giving them the freedom to explore the things they want to. I’m just grateful that I can be here to watch them grow, even if at times I have to take deep breaths to calm myself! lol