TAKE A BREAK

WHY THIS BIT OF PARENTING ADVICE?  We all need breaks, but children in particular need breaks. Make one day each weekend a free  playday  for the kids. Moreover make it active play, turn off the electronic stuff.  Even the music. Do the same at least one hour every school day.

When looking for today’s picture, I found it on the unschool web page.  This blogger offers heaps of information about how children learn and why home-schooling or un-schooling should be somehing at least some parents should think about.   Will talk more about her ideas in a blog next week.  Today’s topic is about letting your children play.

Confession: Hubbie and I were almost referred to Child Welfare for what is called Educational Neglect.  Meaning I was rejecting the schools insistence I let my kid go to their after school math tutoring class. He was nine years old and struggling with learning math facts.

I threatened to get a lawyer when I was threatened; that  ended talk about educational neglect.  I was seen as a Cranky Parent thereafter.  Moving  through my life has meant being called A Cranky Baby, A Cranky Kid, A Cranky Young Woman, A Cranky Wife, A Cranky Mother and now,  a Cranky Old Lady.  Whatever. My crankiness usually means I am standing strong for myself, mine, and my beliefs. That was the case in the above incident.

Because son and I share math blindness; dyscalculia is the formal name, I knew tutoring would make no difference.  We both have two problems with math.  The numbers reverse and jump around.  So 59 looks like 95.  Or when adding a column of numbers, numbers can actually jump off the page.  I might see a 9 plus 95 when the problem was 59 plus 95. Moreover, I have never learned any math facts above the five times table.  Many years have been spent trying to learn my SS# and I still only get it right  half the time. My dyscalculia meant I spent  a number of recesses at my desk trying to get the right answers. eventually most teachers gave up, but because I tried hard I would be passed with the lowest possible passing grade.  Also meant, I felt stupid. Now I know I was math blind, but the shame does hang on.

All this to say I knew my kid would not benefit from tutoring.  But more importantly, he needed a break from school, not an hour more of trying the impossible each day and summer school come summer.  During school days, depression sat heavily on his being.  Think of us, if you kid hates math or doesn’t seem to get it.  Get tested for dyscalculia.

PARENT ADVICE

Even if your children love school, are A+ students, make at least one day a week, active play.  Turn off the electronics, turn them loose in the woods, let them do crafts, plant flowers, dig holes, or pursue a hobby.  Also, let them laze a bit,  Moreover, you must do the same.

The son who couldn’t do math worked in our garden on his play time.  He loved doing that.  He loved going to various botanical gardens.  There is a happy ending.  Success in school came in time. He was a high school dropout with our permission, providing he enrolled in a GED program, he did and when as his friends graduating and, after much struggling, he did get his GED.  He then was able to go to open admission college.  He headed west to Colorado at the same time his friends from high school were also heading off to college.

He hated college and six weeks dropped out, but said he was staying in Colorado. He did also sorts of grunt jobs to support himself.  He came home on school holidays.  In time he  got a grunt job for a landscaper.  Met his then girl friend now wife who was a college drop out.  In time, both decided to get a certificate course  in landscaping, that lead to enolled in community college, and finally both graduated with honors from Calpoly’s Aggie school.

Couldn’t help a bit of a brag there.  But the message remains the same. Breaks matter and often help passions develop and talents grow.

So if you have not already gotten into the take a break from work and school habit. for your family, start this week-end.

Parent tip one: If this is a new concept for you, start small and build up to a full day.

Parent tip two:  Many advise keeping up with studies during vacations and weekends.  Personally, I think there should be a no homework rule on Fridays in place in all schools. Would reduce many family conflicts.

I could not control what schools made my kids do on weekends, but I could and did  hold to keeping some time no learning time. I do not object to reading a book or doing puzzles if a kid elected to do so for fun.

Parent tip three: Quiet time should be part of every day, but age and stage need to determine how it is spent.  Our family rule: in your room, no electronic devises.  You can be your bed, quietly at a desk or chair or  playing quietly on the floor. Can read, write, do puzzles, crafts. No talking so best if no one is around you.  If your kids share a room, have designated other quiet spots.

We also made after eleven quiet time when we were foster parents. Some of our foster kids had trouble falling asleep so radios could be on and reading was allowed. I only need five or six hours of sleep and spent many days as a child reading in bed with a flash light when forced to bed earlier than the sandman was ready to visit me. I understood just lying in bed could be extremely difficult.

Parent tip four:  Your kids’ quiet time should not be your get busy time.  You need a break too.

PRACTICE KINDNESS IT IS AN EMOTIONAL FITNESS EXERCISE

Be kind to me,  like this post or share it.  You will be helping me stay strong and maybe some others as well.  You will also be practicing one of the 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Exercises.  Click here to view all Daily Emotional Fitness  Exercises.If  regular practice of the 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Exercises does not improve the quality of your life, more might be needed.  That is the time to think about therapy.

Good luck, life is a struggle, caring for children harder than you expect AND despite the struggle, life as a parent can be wonderful and the best part of life as a grown up.

Katherine 

TWO DISCLAIMERS

First:  All advice should be thought of as suggestion, particularly parent advice.  Take it all with a grain of salt, mine included.

Second: Sometimes my posts are a bit peppered with mis-spellings, oddly used words, weird puncutation.  These stem from a lesser known learning disablity called dysgraphia, but also from rushing.  My apologies. Don’t read or check back in a day or so, as I usually catch most of the errors when I re-read.  Also practice forgiveness is a useful Emotional Fitness Exercise.

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