Monday, February 7, 2011

Creatures of Habit

My children thrive on routine. We have a strict daily and weekly schedule, and we rarely stray from it. But this is supposed to be a week off. We've earned it - six weeks of diligent school work and we're supposed to get a short break. But.. ugh!

They don't know what to do with themselves. On school days they get about two hours of free time. The rest is structured - school work, games, puzzles, crafts, but always directed and purposeful. With only two hours of free time, they make great use of it. They don't fight (much) and they don't come up and say, "I'm bo-ored. I don't know what to do-o." When there are unlimited hours of free time in the day, it's like they're overwhelmed with the possibilities. They flit from one activity or toy to the next, leaving a disaster in their wake. They grumble at each other, they scream and run and cry and... sheesh, I just can't keep up with it!

What amazes me is the noise level. For heaven's sake, there are only two children in this house! But you wouldn't know it by the way it sounds - surely they're hiding a couple of extra kids somewhere. Surely they can't be that loud by themselves. I remember my sister in law telling me that her mother would every so often proclaim a "Whisper Day" where everyone speaks in a whisper all day. My mother-in-law homeschooled four children. I think she was on to something with that one.

By the end of today we were all at our wit's end. The mess in the house was overwhelming for all three of us, neither one has relaxed enough to fall asleep yet, and the day ended with scolding and threatening. (The threats involved duct tape, and I'm pretty sure I was serious.)

And that's a day off? Ha! Give me structure and routine any day!

I told them we'll try one more day off tomorrow, and if it ends as badly as today did then they can just plan on going back to schoolwork on Wednesday. I don't think that was much of a threat - I think they'd both find it comforting. Apparently all three of us are creatures of habit.

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