One comment I hear alot when people find out we homeschool is, “I couldn’t spend all day with my kids.” I don’t know how to take that. About some people’s kids I think, “well, I couldn’t spend all day with your kids either!” But that’s a post for another day.
I think it is like anything else, like a family that rises early, or a husband that works from home (I have that too) or kids that have super-busy schedules – it is part of a family dynamic that you get used to and it just becomes part of the ‘system’. You tweak things until they are working for the whole family (hopefully).
I spent all day with my infants, toddlers and then preschoolers, and it was not a huge leap to spend all day with my school aged children. But I know other homeschoolers for whom bringing their kids home was the first time they had spent all day together – they find their own rhythm and system too. As the boys matured (did that really happen!?!?) and could take on little bits of responsibility and gained more independance and could participate in a vast array of activities, it made the days that much more fun.
I am trying, more and more, to break things out of ‘boxes’ of what is ‘learning’ and what is not. Tons of learning happens by just being together, answering their questions (we look tons of stuff up on the internet) and being present to the moment we are in. I have been interuppted several times writing this to teach someone to tie a double knot, go over “lefty loosey, righty tighty”, talk about why big water balloons pop more easily than smaller ones, and to define the word “Gaul” (I couldn’t do it off the top of my head, Dennis did).
I am not a saint – I lose my patience sometimes. I am working on telling them when I have’ had it’ in a way that is constructive. “Hey, guys, give me ten more minutes to finish writing this, and then I will help you with that.” I prefer not to do my serious food shopping with all of them, I save that for evenings when Dennis can be with them all. I put in my iPod and do it in peace. I also like to go walking by myself and I arrange that as often as I can.