Monday, May 06, 2013

Back in the homeschool classroom: Rainy days

The days of educating my children at home are behind now that both have graduated from college and one is married but it doesn't stop me from thinking about the years when they were growing up and I was 24/7 mom.

Today unexpectedly turned into a writing day for me, at home in front of my laptop with the window partially open listening to the pouring rain and looking out at the dreary, overcast, foggy day. In the middle of it all, sweet memories of those drizzly, overcast days from the past drifted into my mind and I had to smile.

While my kids were growing up, rainy days were special and fun on a number of levels. Since the kids couldn't go outside and play, we enjoyed indoor activities such as reading and art and sliding down the stairs. Kids can come up with the darndest things -- their imaginations are endless -- so one activity my son and daughter discovered was riding their sleeping bags down the steps of our two-story farm house in North Carolina. The slick material slid over the carpeted stairs like sled runners on ice -- and the howls of laughter and giggling could make your heart soar.

They were best friends as kids, and still are as adults. When they would have the inevitable sibling spats, I would look them both in the eye and say, "If you two cannot get along, how do you expect the rest of the world to get along?" I'm not sure if that made an impression on them but they always moved beyond their childhood differences and ended up giggling and playing again. Today, as young twenty-something adults, they continue to enjoy each other's company with a new brother-in-law included in their inner circle.

But back to the rainy days. I think one of our favorite activities was one I had enjoyed as a kid: indoor tents. Take a folding table and some chairs, add blankets or sheets to make walls, and voila! An indoor tent. Of course, at that point the pillows, blankets, books, flashlights, and anything else they could think of had to be moved into this new snuggy space. It's amazing how quickly time passed as they played, read, and napped in the temporary play area that added delight to an otherwise drippy day.

Reading out loud was always a favorite pastime for us especially when it rained. As I entertained with a variety of voices from whatever book we were caught up in, they would sit and listen, or lie on the floor and pull the carpet tears, or take out the box of crayons to work in a coloring book. I would read a chapter and, if interests were still high, on we would go into the next chapter and the next. Some days we read and read and read especially as the plot pulled us in and we were curious about what would happen to these newly-discovered characters.

When they were especially young, they would snuggle into my side on the sofa as Winnie the Pooh romped the 100-acre wood, or Laura Ingalls told of the travels to the Little House, or following
 the adventures of Smiling Hill Farm, or what Sam and Frightful had been up to in the Catskill Mountains. There were so many books we read over the years that I cannot even begin to remember them all. Suffice it to say that our weekly trips to the library involved the largest L.L. Bean canvas tote bag there was, and when we left it would be loaded to overflowing with books on every subject imaginable.

Such are the thoughts of a homeschool mom who has completed that part of her journey. Rainy days and Mondays? They don't get me down ... they stir up sweet, sweet memories.

Lynn Mitchell educated her children at home for 16 years and was part of leadership in North Carolina's Iredell County Home Educators (ICHE) and Virginia's Parent Educators of Augusta County Homes (PEACH). Her son graduated from Harrisonburg's James Madison University (JMU) in 2007 with a BS in Computer Science and a minor in Creative Writing. Her daughter graduated from Staunton's Mary Baldwin College in 2012 with a BS in Sustainable Business and Marketing. Lynn and her husband live in Augusta County located in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The story of how she began her homeschool journey can be found here.


Leslie said...

I loved reading this post, Lynn!

Lynn R. Mitchell said...

Thank you, Leslie. :)