Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Imaginative Play - A Real Blessing

My children have been playing A LOT, it is a beautiful thing!  They wake up nearly every morning and launch right into some make believe play that they have orchestrated.  Sometimes they even wait an hour or more before expressing interest in breakfast.  This has been a welcome reprieve for me.

My schedule is such that I have found it challenging to find quiet time in order to plan our our new school year which I have slated to begin in less than three weeks.  I know the benefits of imaginative play for my children, but what I didn't anticipate was benefits for me.  Slowly, I am letting go and allowing this play to progress on its own.  I feel burdened with many tasks fighting for the top slot on my list, so I am really trying to set my priorities.  Since we are set to start our more rigorous school routine in such a short time I am forcing myself to block out all the other tasks calling for my attention, and I am gearing my mind to focus solely on the task of preparing our lessons for the 2014-15 school year.  It is a bit of a daunting task, and it is challenging to focus when I have huge projects just begging for my attention.  However, I am committed to the task at hand.

We do school year round.  Learning just takes different forms depending on the season.  In the summer months we pare back the academics and take a more laid back approach.  However, in the fall and winter months we intensify our efforts taking on a heftier academic load.  This year we will be exploring human biology and History from the Industrial Revolution through present times, among all of our other subjects.  These two require the most effort on my part in regard to planning.  So, they are my first priority.  Getting the most difficult out of the way seems the best approach for me.

I am SO fortunate to have such a supportive group of homeschool friends.  A few of us have found a way to help each other out in the planning process.  We are making a deal with each other to keep each other's children so that we have QUIET time, in a large enough block to actually accomplish something, to prepare our lessons or whatever else may be required for us to be prepared to effectively educate our children.  I am SO excited about this plan!  What a blessing to have such a wonderful network of friends.  Community is something I have been longing to have for many, many years, and God has richly blessed me in this area since our move.

For me, at the moment, the double blessing is that my children are so eagerly educating themselves through imaginative play and occupying themselves without ANY prompting from me.  I am thankful that I am able to SEE the blessing and allow their explorations to continue with very little interruption from me.  It is well established that imaginative play is a wonderful learning medium for children, and their most important business is playing.  Given our unique circumstances, less and less so as years go by, I am fully aware of just how far these precious wee ones have come in their healing to actually be off playing on their own.  This is huge, and I am SO thankful that it is happening.

I am choosing to accept the gift given me.  We will enjoy the next couple of weeks at an even more relaxed rate so that my children can learn, explore, and grow all on their own, and I will take moments of time for myself to commune with my Creator, to listen to the chatter of my children and the birds outside, and I will grab the moments as they present themselves to prepare for the coming year.  Right now we are enjoying the serious business of play.

A Child's Garden of Verses: Selected Poems
by Robert Louis Stevenson


When at home alone I sit
And am very tired of it,
I have just to shut my eyes
To go sailing through the skies—
To go sailing far away
To the pleasant Land of Play;
To the fairy land afar
Where the Little People are;
Where the clover-tops are trees,
And the rain-pools are the seas,
And the leaves, like little ships,
Sail about on tiny trips;
And above the Daisy tree
      Through the grasses,
High o’erhead the Bumble Bee
      Hums and passes.

In that forest to and fro
I can wander, I can go;
See the spider and the fly,
And the ants go marching by,
Carrying parcels with their feet
Down the green and grassy street.
I can in the sorrel sit
Where the ladybird alit.
I can climb the jointed grass
      And on high
See the greater swallows pass
      In the sky,
And the round sun rolling by
Heeding no such things as I.
Through that forest I can pass
Till, as in a looking-glass,
Humming fly and daisy tree
And my tiny self I see,
Painted very clear and neat
On the rain-pool at my feet.
Should a leaflet come to land
Drifting near to where I stand,
Straight I’ll board that tiny boat
Round the rain-pool sea to float.

Little thoughtful creatures sit
On the grassy coasts of it;
Little things with lovely eyes
See me sailing with surprise.
Some are clad in armour green—
(These have sure to battle been!)—
Some are pied with ev’ry hue,
Black and crimson, gold and blue;
Some have wings and swift are gone;—
But they all look kindly on.

When my eyes I once again
Open, and see all things plain:
High bare walls, great bare floor;
Great big knobs on drawer and door;
Great big people perched on chairs,
Stitching tucks and mending tears,
Each a hill that I could climb,
And talking nonsense all the time—
      O dear me,
      That I could be
A sailor on a the rain-pool sea,
A climber in the clover tree,
And just come back a sleepy-head,
Late at night to go to bed.

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