When I was pregnant with Nolan, I used to daydream about sharing my love of reading and writing with my child. I envisioned myself lovingly teaching my child with unlimited amounts of patience. I would be the perfect teacher and mother. My child would enter kindergarten knowing everything there was to know. My child would have a strict night time regiment of homework, reading for fun, and bed. TV would be limited in our household. We would be a family of avid readers and imaginative play, frequently visiting art and historical museums, going to music concerts (think more James Butler Trio, less Justin Bieber, ok?). We would be worldly, my family and I.
It wasn’t until I had Nolan that I was faced with the startling realization that everything is harder than it seems. It’s hard to keep a child engaged on learning (in the let’s practice tracing letters and doing maths way). The pressure to get everything done, the pressure to have a perfectly clean house, the demanding schedule and meeting of everyone’s basic needs is totally exhausting and it doesn’t leave much left in my fuel tank.
Nolan is in school now, and when he comes home he is tired and just wants to rest. I haven’t been pushing homework as much as I should have, as much as pre-baby Jess claimed she would. He certainly didn’t go to school as prepared as I would have liked, because I was busy with a baby under 1 too.
I’m changing that now. We will do homework every night, I’ve started printing out worksheets for us to do together. Practicing reading was easy. It’s everything else that we have been neglecting.
But then I look at Archer, too. And I want to do more educational things with him, help teach him and prepare him for kindergarten in 2015. I have no more excuses. I just have a terrible sense of direction, and when I get overwhelmed I feel weighed down and unable to move forward. Like my feet are stuck in thick, heavy mud.
I tried Googling “teaching two year olds”, but the results overwhelmed me. All those fancy, detailed how-tos. All those perfectly colourful photos depicting what it should look like. I couldn’t help but feel outdone before I even began.
Wadding through this complicated battlefield of educating small children is completely confusing. I have no idea where to start. I feel like I have no footing in this.
With Nolan, we literally coloured and read books a lot. I would help him trace the letters in his name over and over again. We would look at alphabet charts and sign the ABC song until he could sing it by himself and identify them all.
But when I took to Google for some ideas on how I could teach and engage Archer, that wasn’t even listed as an option. I should be making colourful sensory kits! Buying foam letters by the truck load! Painting colour wheels! Creating DIY flash cards on recycled hemp paper!
I exhausted myself simply reading all the things that I should be doing (but am not). The guilt reared it’s ugly head, because I don’t do those things and the thought of doing those things overwhelms me and makes me not want to do those things. The whole “I am stuck in mud” feeling.
I feel like I need to take baby steps. Ease myself into this whole “educator” role. It’s going to be a learning curve for me, forcing myself through the overwhelmingly stuck feeling, finding my footing on solid ground.
It’s never too late to make changes, right? And if those changes terrify and overwhelm you, that’s good…right?
I just need to overcome the stuck feeling and start doing stuff.