04 October 2011
The summer days have left and autumn is upon us. The kids have settled into school and the days are no longer entirely new as a bit of a routine has been established. Here's a secret: I actually don't enjoy routine and find myself yawning at the thought of waking up, getting ready and doing the school run (again, again, again). Around October 5th every year, I think 'Ohhhhhh.... I have to do this for many more months on end' and then sigh and take a deep breath. Routine equals boring, to me.
But, I know that it's great for the kids to have a steady pace so that their school days are familiar and comforting to them. So, I get up, embrace the day (with a big cup of coffee) and load everyone up for school where we say our good-byes and get them into their days.
While their development may thrive on some established schedules, it's really important to me that my kids have an understanding of the freedom that comes from having some unscheduled time. I deeply love that they can think of lots of activities to fill their unscheduled time and want to foster that skill further. Enter my favorite time of the day-- after school. That's when I scoop the kids up, hug them tight and return home to dig into some time to discover, explore and enjoy each other. We've been digging out the sidewalk chalk and marking up the backyard with our masterpieces. We've enjoyed time to talk about our days-- what they each did at school, then what I did too while they were away. We flip through books collected from our bookshelves and from their school lending libraries. We cook, we order katchupuri, we walk to the corner store and buy some water or ice cream 'just because'. We hang out and talk about subjects new to us now-- the changing of the seasons, a word discovered in this foreign culture, our shared excitement over getting to wear boots! We crank up the music and dance.
So, gone are the 'lazy days of summer' but in our house we're welcoming autumn by claiming our afternoons as a time to explore a lack of routine. How are you spending the after school hours?