For months I have considered in bewilderment what to do with my very mischievous 2 year old while we embarked on our first "official" year of homeschooling. There is not a day that goes by that I don't find him into something. Whether it is pouring an entire new gallon bottle of laundry detergent (bought desperately in the first place because I had just run out of my homemade stuff) all over my tiny laundry room floor (even under the machines), emptying a bottle of shampoo into my bedroom carpet (took "shampooing the carpets" to a whole new level for me), taking apart a brand new toy, or covering his face in super glue (this one actually happened when I wasn't at home, so I can't take all the credit there), our dear Lion Cub just never takes a break from finding new (or old) things to get into.
Many days, it utterly exhausts me.
So, as you can imagine, the prospect of having him not be either into something or a constant distraction while I worked on school with Rhythm felt daunting. Whatever would I do with him?!
Well, our first day of school rolled around this week and I had a loose plan of what I would try with him- some montesorri-inspired Tot School activities from 1+1+1=1. Right after calendar time, which we included him in, and Bible, which he pretended to draw along with, I broke out some button and a painting tray from Michaels for him to sort colors into.
And he sat there.
And he did it.
For 10 whole minutes he sat happily sort colors, mostly correctly (also to my surprise). It was bizarre.
So, as he began to lose interest I quickly switched the buttons out for some colored craft puff balls, a different tray and a pair of kid chopsticks from PF Changs. Jackpot! He LOVED this! Another good 10-15 minutes of giggly fun as he transferred balls into the tray. To be honest, we all had a good laugh a few times because the balls just kept popping out of his grasp. A little distracting, but hey- he wasn't destroying anything so I could encourage Rhythm to ignore him.
After that, also to my amazement, he went in the living room and sat down in the recliner with Rhythm's Mobigo and played for the rest of school time. Now please realize how extraordinary this is- he doesn't even actually know how to use it. He has picked it up and messed with it many times before but never for more than five minutes! Craziness!
Day two we broke out my new iPad (actually, let me rephrase that- I don't think I ever want to use the words "broke" and "iPad" in the same sentence!) and he played some games and watched the free Toy Story interactive book with headphones on so as not to distract Rhythm with the sound. That kept him busy for a good bit of time, but once that was over he headed over to play with the duplos. Once again, these are not a typical toy for him. He has never really just sat down and started building with them. But, low and behold, he sat and built, and built and built- FOR OVER AN HOUR!!!
Excuse me while I pass out- I feel a bit like I have entered an alternate universe!
I just really cannot express to you the relief that has spilled over me in this area over the last few days! SO many people asked me whatever would I do with him in order to let Rhythm actually have a shot at learning this year, and although I could tell them what I planned and hoped, I was really thinking the same thing. But somehow, someway, God worked a miracle this week. I don't know if it is the sense of structure or maybe even the more active sense of my participation with them (even if my attention is mostly focused on Rhythm, I am there with them and not busied by housework or whatever else is going on in life, which I think he picks up on)- whatever it is, it's a miracle and I praise the Lord that He has made it so!
I know we will have rough days, but just knowing that he can stay busy in a nondestructive way and we can get through school without him being a total and complete distraction is an incredible encouragement!
How did your week go with your smallest learners?