Here’s how the morning is supposed to go. I wake up, eat breakfast, have my quiet time, and then get ready for lessons with the kiddos. On their end, they’re supposed to get up, tidy their rooms, eat breakfast, and show up for lessons at 8:15. Timing matters, because since I work a “real” job, things can’t go too late. But what happens when things don’t go as they’re supposed to?
Well, sometimes it isn’t too big a deal. Sometimes we school while the kids eat. Or they take turns eating so I can work with one at a time. Sometimes we shorten up a lesson here and there. But what to do when the kids are just plain having a bad day? Do we push through, anyway, knowing full well they probably won’t retain anything…or hope that talk of Julius Caesar will somehow snap them out of their funk? Or do we skip the schooling completely and come back at it fresh tomorrow? Is there really a perfect solution?
Today was one of those days. The kids were cranky, the room wasn’t getting tidied, breakfast wasn’t eaten, and Mama was getting pretty grumpy, too. We decided that this was a good time for a mental health day. Since the kiddos are still little (Kinder and 1st), missing a day here and there doesn’t matter too much. We’ve elected to school through the summer, anyway, so they’re getting plenty of school time. Sometimes, though, we decide to push on through. But not without help. I have some secret weapons. Let me introduce you to them.
Meet Soba and Udon. They are The Library Auntie’s cats. (And, yes, they and their brother Harusame are named after Japanese noodles. But that’s a story for another day.) My nieces, you see, don’t have cats, so getting to talk to mine makes school time special. And, really, who wouldn’t be happier after hearing a cat purr for a while? Never underestimate the ability of an animal to raise the spirit.
I know that the kids are still little, and the ability to distract them out of a bad mood will become more difficult as they age, but I don’t think it’s impossible. After all, I’m quite a bit older, and it’s still possible to pull me out of a funk with a good distraction. The trick is to find the right distraction. And to find it, you have to listen to, observe, and really get to understand the kids. And isn’t that really what homeschooling is all about?